This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

Posted March 31, 2014 by Sara | Novel Novice 0 Comments


Faith, love, and loss all come to play in Jeri Smith-Ready’s touching and charming new novel, This Side of Salvation.

side of salvation, thisEveryone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined…

What could have so easily been a manifesto on religion and faith is, instead, a charming story about one boy’s mission to save his family after a tragedy tears them apart. Smith-Ready deftly tackles a controversial subject with ease and grace. It doesn’t matter what your views on religion and faith are; This Side of Salvation is not an argument for any one side. Instead, it’s about David and his family.

That’s it. A portrait of one boy and his family, undergoing some extreme circumstances.

I was instantly captivated by David’s story, and loved seeing his journey play out in alternating chapters that flip from before to after the Rush. I wanted to know what David felt about his faith. I wanted to know what really happened to his brother. I wanted to know what David was going to do when his parents started planning for the Rush. I wanted to spend time with David and his sister; with David and Bailey; with David and his best friend Kane.

This Side of Salvation is not about the Rush (or the Rapture). It’s not about Christianity or faith or religion. It’s about life and grief, and the different ways we cope with loss, and how we can mend a broken family. That Smith-Ready writes this story so beautifully is just a bonus.

This Side of Salvation is in stores April 1st.

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Sara | Novel Novice
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