Thursday, March 13, 2014

Young Adult Review: The Savages (ARC)

The Savages (The Savages, 1) by Matt Whyman, March 6, 2014. 288 pages. Published by Overlook Juvenile. Source: publisher.
The Savage family is close-knit, but everyone has something to hide—from father Titus’s shady business dealings, to mother Angelica’s dangerously compulsive shopping habits, to 12-year-old Ivan’s increasingly lethal pranks. But teenager Sasha’s secret trumps them all: she is dating a vegetarian. This trait will never fly with the rest of the Savages, who are…uniquely carnivorous.
Problems start to pile up. Sasha’s boyfriend convinces her to try going vegetarian for a month, but then leaves her for a vegan vigilante. Angelica attempts to pay her mounting credit card bill by allowing commercials to film in the family home, until one of Ivan’s pranks leaves a model dead in their bathroom. A detective hired to investigate Titus’s predatory business affairs notices the model’s disappearance, and starts to think that there may be something more sinister to the perfect-seeming Savages.
He’s right, of course—they’re cannibals.  
First Sentence:
At the table, Titus Savage spotted his son picking his teeth with one finger.

This book should probably come with a warning for the squeamish, because there are some things that would probably be quite shocking to them. While you know going in that the Savages are cannibals, just don't say that around them, you don't really get the feel of that until right near the end (even though it is talked about throughout the book).

You know there are those books were you just cannot stand certain a character(s), well, that would have to be the case for me with Sasha's love interest. Pretty much from the time he was introduced I was thinking, "Sasha, you can do way better than him." While I won't go into details on why I disliked him so, just know that the crux of the plot rests partly on his addition to the story-line.
   Okay, so, while I was not too keen on the love interest, I enjoyed seeing how it changed the dymanics of the relationship between Sasha and her family; as well, as how mature she acted when presenting her case to her father. It was nice to see the female character act rational...mostly...when dealing with matters of the heart.

Even though the Savages' family relationship was one of the things I liked best about The Savages, the thing that pulls it together is Matt Whyman's writing. While the first three chapters were slow, I thought he did a great job creating likable characters and telling the story of their differences from the rest of humanity. Also, the back-story on how/why they started their tradition makes for an interesting addition to the story (although still pretty creeped out).

So, what was the one things that made The Savages such a good read, well, that would have to be how close the Savages were. I really enjoyed reading a book with a family, the while they annoyed each other sometimes, was able to lean on and work together. Take away their fetish for human meat, and the story of how they used the "feasts" to stay together was quite interesting.
   While I loved the closeness of the family, what really makes their relationship interesting was seeing how they changed throughout the book to accommodate the changing dynamics due to some life choices that Sasha made. It was nice reading about a fairly (all things considered) happy family unit.

The only drawback to The Savages would have to be the extremely slow start. It took some time for the story to pick up after the initial opening when Sasha's vegetarian boyfriend is mentioned and the shake up that brings into the family. While it took some time for the story to move past this point and get into what makes it an interesting read, the pace does pick up as the Savages try to maintain their secret and keep their close bonds intact.
   While slow out the gate, this is definitely one interesting read once you read between the lines. It definitely kept me reading even though I was aghast at certain things.

Final Verdict: The Savages- A weirdly creepy read that has a deep undertone of the value of family.

The Savages earns 4 out of 5 griffins.

this book was received in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I've had my eye on this book for a while now, so I'm glad to read a positive review! I love books that deal with family relationships so I'm pretty excited to see how this turns out! :) Great review!

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas

    1. Thanks! I was surprised that I enjoyed this one so much, and happy that it had such a strong family relationship aspect to the plot line.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. =)

  2. This sounds…interesting. I'm not quite sure I could handle the cannibal part. Did you find that difficult at all?

    1. It was a little weird at first, but the book, while they kind of talk about their cannibalism, focused more on their relationships without each other and how it was changing.

      The final chapter or two were the hardest in regards to their dining habit (very creepy). But overall, I think the rest of the book/plot make it worth checking out.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. =)


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