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Saving Maddie Kindle Edition

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Length: 242 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Joshua and Maddie, both preacher's kids, were best friends when they were younger, until Maddie's father moved the family to Norfolk. Now Maddie's back in town. Her father, having refused to pay her tuition at Brown, has sent her to an aunt's house to straighten up after years of too much boys and booze. Joshua, PK that he is, is sure he can save Maddie, but angry and hostile, she has resolved to stay the way she is. Both the characters and situations are stock. Maddie's father, though unseen, is a one-dimensional bad guy, and Josh's parents could use a little nuance themselves. More interesting are the decisions Josh has to make as desire to become closer to Maddie—in every way—becomes more intense. Similar to Johnson's last offering, My Life as a Rhombus (2008), this also features a troubled young woman and a nice young man, but it's Joshua's confusion about how narrow his path must be that keeps readers turning pages. And the kissing doesn't hurt, either. Grades 10-12. --Ilene Cooper

About the Author

Varian Johnson is the author of the critically acclaimed My Life as a Rhombus. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Product Details

  • File Size: 439 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 2, 2010)
  • Publication Date: March 9, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4E96
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,352,772 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Varian Johnson is the author of four novels, including THE GREAT GREENE HEIST, a Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book of 2014. His novels for older readers include MY LIFE AS A RHOMBUS, named to the Texas Library Association Tayshas High School Reading List and the New York Public Library "Stuff for the Teen Age" list, and SAVING MADDIE, a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book.

Varian was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Varian now lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reading in Color on March 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Saving Maddie does not need to be saved. The book will do well and be enjoyed by many people because there is something in it for everyone.

You may start this novel off thinking it will justify how you feel about 'judgemental, preachy Christians' or you may go into thinking that it will show that 'no one is too bad to be saved and the Christian way is the right way.' You would be wrong on both counts. Once again Mr. Johnson has taken a controversial subject (in My Life As A Rhombus it was abortion) and broken it down. All too often people think issues are only black and white, but there are always gray areas. Mr. Johnson deftly describes those gray areas with absolutely no judgement. His characters make their own decisions, they fall down and they dust themselves off and get back up. Their preconceived notions about religion are challenged and in some cases, verified but not in a way that is expected. Also it asks the question that is it worth saving someone else but losing yourself in the process (and I am also of the opinion that not all people need to be saved, and this book also brought up that point as well which I found quite interesting).

The minor characters never completely disappear, they reappear and we learn enough about them to feel that none of them are one-dimensional (I loved reading about the mom's character development). Joshua is such a great guy, especially because he can be really awkward and you just want to go 'aww'. It's also amusing for me (as a girl) to read about the issues guys deal with, because they do illustrate how confusing we girls can be.
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Format: Hardcover
Joshua & Maddie are not star-crossed lovers. Rather, these two are the best & truest of friends. They share a different kind of love that goes beyond what anyone thinks about them. As children they spent all their time together in and out of church while their fathers were the ministers preaching the gospel. But when Maddie's father is transferred to another parish, Maddie & Joshua vow to write each other every day to keep in touch. For a while that works until Maddie stops writing back.

Eventually Joshua gives up writing her & begins to move on with his faith by being the pinnacle preacher's son. He leads the youth group, he volunteers at the nursing home & he even abstains from all morally compromising situations. While it makes him an outcast at parties (who really wants to drink alcohol & get frisky with their date with the preacher's kid?) Joshua has settled into a comfortable existence. And just like that Maddie shows up all dark & jaded.

Now Joshua has to decide who he's living his life for & why. There are so many questions & so little time. Events are escalating all over town with pressure from every imaginable direction baring down on Joshua. The only thing he can do is choose, but who & what?

I really enjoyed this book. It was exactly what I was expecting it to be in all the right ways. As a teen I spent a week each summer at a church camp in the mountains of North Carolina. While we were all feeling our way around our faith, there were several campers who were preacher's kids (pk's) that we all looked to for example & spiritual guidance. The second day of my sophomore year one of them said it wasn't easy to be a pk & that they were just as lost as we were.
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Format: Hardcover
Joshua Wynn has grown up being an example for other kids: The Wynn Boy. He doesn't seem to mind too much, except that he had to give up on his school's basketball team to lead the youth group and that everyone his age thinks he's some kind of prude. But even these things don't dampen his spirits, and he works very hard to keep his reputation. He has to; he's "Joshua Wynn, the preacher's son. ... a shining example of what [is] good and righteous and wholesome in the world" (28). More like some kind of super-hero than a real person, don't you think? It's not until Maddie comes back into his life that Joshua starts to object to the perceptions that other people have of him and the pressure that he is under, from his parents and the community, to do and be good. And no, he never liked that he gets left out of things because he's such a goodie-two-shoes, that he's the guy other kids hide their beer from at parties, but until Maddie comes along, it's as though he didn't know he could be any different. She opens up a world for him where he is not an extension of his father and his father's work.

Now, I've never been a PK, but I was raised by one, and I was definitely a goodie-two-shoes in high school who had more friends at youth group than at school. I think that Johnson has absolutely nailed that experience, or at least mirrored mine. The feelings and internal conflicts that Joshua goes through felt so authentic. His struggle to reconcile what he wants to do with what he's supposed to do with what everyone else is doing was ongoing. The lectures from his parents ("I'm not mad, I'm disappointed." -- the worst!) and the advice from his friends to just go for it (the BIG it, no less), were so familiar.
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