By EJ Hanagan
Jason Barnes is a free spirit. Underneath that fun-loving surface lurks a severe case of PTSD, his personal souvenir from the war on terror. After his young marriage breaks up, he bounces from girlfriend to girlfriend, never allowing himself to get too close, all while maintaining a friendship with his ex-wife, Samantha Colton.
Everything changes when he meets Abby Jacobsen, a smart and sassy artist – but with love comes jealousy, and Abby doesn’t stand for Jason’s cozy friendship with Samantha. Two hours after a heated argument causes Jason to storm out of their apartment, Abby receives a phone call from the intensive care unit of a New Hampshire hospital. The hospital walls close in on Abby and Samantha as they are forced to make tough decisions while trying hard not to kill each other. The two form a rare bond when Emma Jane, Jason’s mom, arrives on the scene. Three weeks after Jason’s accident, Abby is left alone and hovering over a handful of positive pregnancy tests. During her pregnancy, Abby works with Samantha to dig up clues of Jason’s past. As the truth is discovered, their worlds are irreversibly changed.
An emotionally-moving look at PTSD and the intersection of three lives, Saving Jason is a riveting glimpse into unexpected friendships and the ripples we leave without our knowledge.
Samantha is nice. I don’t know why I ever worried about the two of them. If they were the last two strangers on earth, I couldn’t picture them together. She is so conservative and softspoken, where Jason is loud and uninhibited. I suppose I could see them young together, before life got real. Maybe they fit together like two puzzle pieces—where she had spaces and indents, he extended himself to fit into them smoothly, if only for a few years before their shapes grew and formed into different configurations.
"Good morning." I look up as Samantha folds herself into the booth in the hospital café, our official meeting spot.
"I snuck in some good coffee from my dad’s house. Godiva, my favorite." She slides a plastic togo mug over to me, suspicious eyes darting around the cafeteria as if she’s committing a crime. "Cream and two Splenda, just the way you like it.”
"This is a tiny slice of heaven." I take a sip of the smoldering rich coffee, robust flavors of hazelnut dominating my taste buds. "You’ve spoiled me; I’ll never be able to drink this hospital mud again."
"Alex calls me a coffee snob. And I certainly cannot deny it."
For a moment the two of us are just friends exchanging trinkets of our lives and we forget why we are here. Jason is our common bond. She has his past, and I am hanging on to what he may or may not have of a future.Saving Jason by E.J. Hanagan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Saving Jason by E. J Hanagan is a 2014 Booktrope publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This novel is incredibly well written and so emotional. I confess I cried nearly all the way through it. At the center of our story is Jason, a young man who returned home from his stint in the military with PTSD. This issue tore apart his marriage to Samantha. However, Jason and Samantha still love one another deeply and remain very close friends, almost like siblings.
Samantha moved forward with her life, getting married to a wonderful guy named Alex. But, the bottom drops out of her world when Jason's current girlfriend text her in the middle of the night explaining that Jason was in an accident and may not pull through.
Abby was so jealous of Samantha, she and Jason had argued about her right before his accident. Now, Abby has to contend with Samantha's presence at the hospital too.
Factor in Jason's self absorbed, money and man hungry mom and the combination was almost lethal. While Jason lies in a coma, Abby and Samantha slowly begin to bond and soon become the best of friends.
While the situation the book is built upon is bleak, depressing, and sad, the story becomes something truly inspiring as people who were thrown a curve ball learn to cope and deal with a senseless tragedy. Not everyone in the story is nice, but most of the characters are so human and real it was like I was living through the experience right along with them. The author wisely chooses to put the story into alternate first person narratives and this works beautifully. Samantha's memories of her life with Jason when they were married were especially poignant.
“We Loved to hate each other and hated to love each other. It was as if we sat in the cart of a creaky, old roller coaster together from ages twenty to twenty-five- a roller coaster that dipped and twisted at such sharp angles that we had to grasp on to one another just to make it through the painful, gut-wrenching ride.”
Abby's character grows in leaps and bounds as she goes through some incredible life changes and suffers over Jason's long term outlook. She goes from being oversensitive, a bit immature, and suffering through personal insecurities, to being a strong, resilient young woman, with an determination to work hard to make the best of the cards she has been dealt.
There are many twist and turns in the story as those affected by Jason, his life, his choices, and by those who were on the fringes of his life, all cope in different ways, and cope together. Life long bonds were forged and so many lives were touched by this young man. The story left me feeling nearly weak with all those intense emotions swirling around but man, what a story! A really deep tale I can't even seem to classify within a set genre or explain it's affect on me, but I am glad I found this book and really enjoyed reading something so well written and with such depth and meaning. Overall 5 stars.
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
EJ Hanagan is a fitness fanatic, obsessive reader and animal lover. She currently lives in a sleepy little beach town just outside of Boston with her husband, their new aughter, and the family’s two giant Newfoundland dogs. After spending four years in the Air Force, she put her fire for fitness to good use and worked as a personal trainer while attending college. EJ credits the amazing, brave people she met in the military for giving her the passion and focus to raise awareness for veterans with PTSD. Her hope is to bring the invisible scars of war to the surface through her writing and community involvement.
You can learn more about EJ, her books, and her charity work at www.ejhanagan.com.
Connect with EJ online
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Jason-E-J-Hanagan-ebook/dp/B00N98RRXS/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1411364776&sr=8-1&keywords=Saving+Jason
Amazon Print: http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Jason-E-J-Hanagan/dp/1620155125/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411364776&sr=8-1&keywords=Saving+Jason
Barnes and Noble Print: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saving-jason-ej-hanagan/1120261539?ean=9781620155127&itm=1&usri=saving+jason
Barnes and Noble Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saving-jason-ej-hanagan/1120261539?ean=2940150340725&itm=1&usri=saving+Jason