Steph Bowe’s Girl Saves Boy is a story of two young people searching for happiness, against some pretty adverse circumstances. Alternating perspectives between Jewel (Girl) and Sacha (Boy) there is strength and fragility in both the characters. Bowe manages a very convincing portrayal of teenagers facing, just for starters, moving back to the suburb you grew up in (her), a terminal disease (him) and losing family members (both). These characters are almost unimaginably mean to their parents, adorably innocent about each others feelings and heavily reliant on their (very few) friends, just like many teens. The realistic portrayal of adolescence is probably the most obvious cue that the author herself is only 16.
“I was once Jewel Valentine, her whole future ahead of her, each eye a different-coloured diamond, each day starting with vigour for life, like every child. Then I became Jewel Valentine, disenchanted, lonely, victim of the Curse of The Beautiful but Strange.”
The feeling you get from these two of being wise beyond their years is realistic and, therefore, convincing.
These two social misfits manage to find something to hold onto amidst the chaos of their lives. It’s almost hard to believe anyone could go through everything these characters do but it definitely keeps things interesting. A nice read to remind a teen that no matter how much homework you have or how annoyed at your best friend there is probably someone who is much, much worse off. They could be a Beautiful but Strange girl, fabulous at art, or the sickly kid at your school, and you might not even know it. Set in Sydney this debut novel speaks of great things to come from Steph Bowe. Paperback, $19.95