|Safe With Me by Amy Hatvany, pub. March 2014, 352 pg.|
This gripping and gut-wrenchingly emotional story follows the lives of three women who don’t know that they share an amazing connection. Hannah is the co-owner of a popular Seattle hair salon and the single mother of 12-year-old Emily. When Emily is hit by a car while riding her bike, Hannah has to make the difficult decision to donate her daughter’s organs to save the lives of other children.
Olivia was on the verge of leaving her abusive husband when their daughter, Maddie, was diagnosed with type 2 autoimmune hepatitis. Eight years later, Maddie has received a liver transplant and her health is greatly improving, but Olivia is struggling to figure out what the next step should be for their family.
Fifteen year old Maddie hasn’t had many opportunities to interact with other kids her age since she was diagnosed with her disease. Now that she is recovering, she must learn how to survive high school while also coming to terms with her transplant and her chronically tense family life.
Their stories are told in chapters alternating between the perspectives of the three different women. Because of this, readers get an inside look at the challenges each character is facing. As their lives intertwine, we get to see relationships develop from all sides and see the lasting impact each woman has on the others.
I could not put this book down. From page one, Hatvany grabs your attention and doesn’t let it go until the final sentence has ended. I was instantly swept up in the lives of Hannah, Olivia and Maddie. They are fantastically created characters, and the situations they face are so well written they felt real. It was hard to not imagine them as people I really know, because they all had qualities of women I’m close to.
No book has ever made me cry as hard as this one did. While reading the final few chapters, I could barely see the words because of the tears in my eyes (not to mention the fact that I was also sobbing and shaking – not an effect any other book has ever had on me). The sad and scary details of Olivia and Maddie’s life with an abusive and power-hungry man, not to mention the absolutely unthinkable struggle Hannah faces while coping with her daughter’s death, are enough to break even the stoniest of hearts.
Safe With Me is a definite must-read. Fans of Jodi Picoult and similar authors will love Hatvany’s style of alternating perspectives and the tension and suspense that last throughout the entire book. Hatvany is phenomenal at creating characters you care about, and once you pick this book up, you won’t want to set it back down.