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Saving Maddie [Kindle Edition]

Varian Johnson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $19.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $12.00 (60%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Joshua Wynn is a preacher’s son and a “good boy” who always does the right thing. Until Maddie comes back to town. Maddie is the daughter of the former associate pastor of Joshua’s church, and his childhood crush. Now Maddie is all grown up, gorgeous—and troubled. She wears provocative clothes to church, cusses, drinks, and fools around with older men. Joshua’s ears burn just listening to the things she did to get kicked out of boarding school, and her own home.

As time goes on, Josh goes against his parents and his own better instincts to keep Maddie from completely capsizing. Along the way, he begins to question his own rigid understanding of God and whether, as his mother says, a girl like Maddie is beyond redemption. Maddie leads Josh further astray than any girl ever has . . . but is there a way to reconcile his love for her and his love for his life in the church?

From the Hardcover edition.

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: 278 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385738048
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 9, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4E96
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,093,855 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saving Maddie needs no Saving March 9, 2010
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book about what it means to be good. July 1, 2010
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too April 15, 2010
Maddie and Joshua are best friends. Both kids of preachers, they have a lot in common. But then, one day Maddie and her family move away. The two vow to keep in touch, but as the years go by....the letters and communication stop.

Now, it's five years later and Joshua is the perfect son. He does everything expected of him. He's involved in all the right activities. He's gone so far as to give up basketball because it doesn't fit in with all his church obligations.

It's at church, as one could expect, that Joshua lays eyes on Maddie again. Though she's nothing like the awkward girl he recalls. She's definitely grown up (in all the right places) and goes by Madeline now. Coming to church dressed inappropriately immediately labels Madeline as a bad girl. Everyone has already written her off as trouble. But Joshua can't forget his friend and, with the blessing of his father, he sets out to save Madeline.

Madeline has been sent to live with her aunt for the summer. She got in trouble back home, and her father has shipped her off to the small town. But Madeline doesn't need saving. She's happy with who she is and resists any attempts at any interference. As the summer unfolds, Joshua and Madeline become reacquainted, and surprisingly, it's Joshua who might just be saved.

As with MY LIFE AS A RHOMBUS, I absolutely loved SAVING MADDIE. Joshua is pulled by what is expected of him, what he perceives as right and wrong, and ultimately, what he really wants for himself. Madeline makes him question everything he grew up accepting to be true. Madeline may not be a saint, far from it, but she is comfortable with who she has become and that causes Joshua much inner turmoil.

There is some discussion of sex and partying, but in the context of the story, it's far from offensive and gives a complete picture of the struggle going on inside Joshua.

Reviewed by: Jaglvr
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "LOVED IT"
Joshua Wynn is a preacher's son who tries to live his life by the bible and finds himself caught between the desires of a normal teenage boy and the Christian values he has been... Read more
Published 22 months ago by L.Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars Preacher's kids just want to be kids
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. Read more
Published on May 7, 2012 by Laura R.
4.0 out of 5 stars Saving Maddie
Maddie and Joshua were best friends. They understood each other, they were both PK - Preacher's Kids. But then one day Maddie's family moves and they grow apart. Read more
Published on April 10, 2011 by Jasmyn9
4.0 out of 5 stars review taken from One Book At A Time
I have a feeling people may shy away from this book just because of the religious aspect. Which is really unfortunate because I thought it was really awesome! Read more
Published on November 2, 2010 by P. Eberhardt
5.0 out of 5 stars Tells of Joshua, a preacher's son who chooses abstinence and religious...
Varian Johnson's SAVING MADDIE tells of Joshua, a preacher's son who chooses abstinence and religious retreats over wild partying. Read more
Published on April 22, 2010 by Midwest Book Review
4.0 out of 5 stars There's Nothing Wrong With Being A Good Guy
Joshua Wynn - son of Reverend Isaiah P. Wynn and First Lady Lily Wynn of Mount Calvary church - is a seventeen year old Christian who lets his light shine. Read more
Published on March 22, 2010 by Katrina L. Burchett
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic story!
This was not only a wonderful book for young adults that deals truthfully with the hard-learned lessons of maturing in a world of rules and regulations, but it's also a great book... Read more
Published on March 9, 2010 by A Very Merry Shakespeare
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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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