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Saved by the Music    by Selene Castrovilla order for
Saved by the Music
by Selene Castrovilla
Order:  USA  Can
WestSide Books, 2009 (2009)
*   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

Based on the author's own experience, Saved by the Music is the story of a teenage girl who helps her eccentric aunt transform a barge into a concert hall. Fifteen-year-old Willow Moon has issues with her self-absorbed mother, but even more with herself. Worse, she's on a mission to unload her virginity. In time, she meets Axel. Eighteen-year-old Axel, the rich kid who lives alone on a sailboat in the same marina, has a sackful of issues himself. On the other hand, he plays the cello and quotes Shakespeare. After Willow suffers a sexual assault by the handyman, Axel and she become close, and Willow now comprehends what friendship is supposed to be. Life is looking up, but tragedy strikes again.

Saved by the Music is Selene Castrovilla's first YA novel. Music is what links the characters together. Willow loves the Doors' Jim Morrison, Axel is a gifted cellist, and Aunt Agatha is a Broadway orchestra violinist. By summer's end, Willow, Axel, and Aunt Agatha are different people. Even Willow's mom is trying. This could have been a great read.

The plot is interesting. That is, once you slog through gobs of exposition from the whiny, weepy, and unlikeable protagonist. There's nothing deep about Willow. Then there's the vulgar language and graphic descriptions of oral sex, sexual assault, and even meticulous details of a doctor's post-rape exam. Tacky, teen titillation isn't good storytelling, but I suppose it does sell books. By the way, Amazon erroneously categorizes this book for the 9 to 12 year old group; Saved by the Music is so not that.

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