by Ashley Farley
Genres: Mystery, Suspense
A boy, his sister, and her psychopathic roommate. A New Year’s Eve party, a missing person, and a single set of footprints in the snow. Life is sweet for Katherine Langley, a first-year student at the University of Virginia. She is finally free from the drama of her parents’ dysfunctional marriage and ready to focus on studying to become a nurse. Her brother, Ben, belongs to the hottest fraternity on campus, and her roommate, Emma, is beautiful and charming, a party girl whose answer for a hangover is happy hour. She is also a psychopath. When obsessive-compulsive Ben succumbs to Emma’s charms and falls dangerously off-track, Katherine must save her brother from himself. From the University of Virginia campus to a cozy cottage on Carter’s Creek, Saving Ben is a haunting tale of love and loyalty, anger management, substance abuse, and betrayal.
Saving Ben by Ashley Farley had me curious since we don’t often find mystery in the new adult genre. It offers a slow-building mystery that opens with a missing girl and shares the events leading up to and after her disappearance. While the ending felt a tad rushed and left me wanting I became caught up in the tale.
Five reasons to curl up with Saving Ben
- Katherine Langley wakes on New Year’s Day to find her brother’s girlfriend Emma missing and a single set of footprints leading to the dock on the lake. Farley then takes us back to when Katherine “Kitty” and her brother Ben met Emma. We spent most of our time learning about Emma and her impact on them as we move towards the footprints in the snow.
- The whole time you are reading you will be pondering the question, “Is Emma missing, dead or kidnapped?” It added suspense and every character becomes a possible suspect. Did they do something to Emma? Farley takes us from campus to the Langley’s summer home giving us a glimpse into their lives with delightful detail.
- Farley weaved in siblings, their friends and family. We witness the strains Emma puts on these relationships, the manipulation and the lies. All of it was realistic and kept me connected. From Kitty’s strained relationship with her mother to the protectiveness of her brother, Farley fleshed out each character without over the top drama. Emma is a vivid character who will evoke strong feelings from the reader and none of them pleasant. Motive isn’t hard to understand and we quickly assume foul play.
- We see relationships in many stages and not just of the romantic variety. We do see the siblings develop romances but these are side stories and weave in and out of the main mystery thread. Little side threads dealing with friends and loss had substance and Farley weaved them into the tale in a clever way. She touches on drug use, teenage alcoholism, bullying, parental issues and suicide adding some depth.
- Twists and turns made the tale exciting leading up to the footprints and disappearance. The second half of the book ended up being more telling than showing, which was disappointing. While Farley wraps things up, I would have liked to see things unfold a little more slowly. However, Saving Ben was a refreshing mystery and something we need more of in the new adult genre.
Saving Ben ended up being a solid read for me, and I was caught up in the mystery and characters. If you are looking for something different, I totally recommend it.
*Disclosure-I currently work as a virtual assistant for this author. This did not influence my opinion. If you are interested in reviewing Saving Ben or Her Sister’s Shoes by Ashley Farley see Bloggers Wanted in the menu bar.
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