Saved By The Music

Young Adult

By Selene Castrovilla

Publisher : WestSide Books

Saved By The Music

ABOUT Selene Castrovilla

Selene Castrovilla
Selene Castrovilla is the award-winning author of two historical non-fiction books for children.  By the Sword was named a 2008 IRA Notable Book, and a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award gold medalist for 2009. amd won a Kansas Reading Circle 2007 award.  Her second historical non-fiction More...



The last place fifteen-year-old Willow wants to spend her summer is on a run-down former coffee barge in a boatyard in Rockaway, New York. But that’s where her aunt is converting the broken down hulk into a floating concert hall and Willow has no choice but to help; her unstable mom has kicked her out for the summer. Willow’s miserable when she sees that there isn’t even a shower on the barge, and she has to deal with Craig, the leering hunk of a construction worker working with her aunt. The only bright spot is Axel, an older teenage boy living alone on a neighboring sailboat. Introverted and mysterious, he has the soul of a poet, a deep, philosophical mind, and loves Shakespeare. He’s also scarred by a painful, disturbing past, and the two bond through their shared pain and laughter. But when devastating events threaten to destroy them, Willow and Axel struggle to save each other – and themselves – before it’s too late.
"Castrovilla's first young adult novel tackles a number of serious issues including depression, sexual assault, eating disorders, mental illness, cutting, and abandonment. Willow, 15, is sent by her unstable mother to spend the summer on her Aunt Agatha's barge in Rockaway, NY. As Willow and Agatha work on what appears to be a hopeless project, converting the barge into a floating concert hall, Willow finds herself both attracted to and repulsed by the hired hand, Craig. At the same time, she is intrigued by her emerging relationship with mysterious and reclusive Axel, who lives on a sailboat docked close to the barge. Frustrated by Axel's lack of romantic interest, Willow finally accepts Craig's advances but finds herself a victim of sexual assault. Axel intervenes before Willow can be seriously hurt and then assists her through the process of the investigation. Unable to face her aunt, Willow goes back to live with Axel and learns that he cuts himself to deal with the pain caused by his own abandonment and abuse. The sexual scenes with Craig and Willow are descriptive and raw, and the mood is always bleak, at times bordering on melodrama. The plot is predictable and somewhat implausible. However, many readers will quickly forgive all of these flaws as they race to the tidy, yet satisfying fairy-tale ending." —School Library Journal

"Castrovilla's heroine springs to life with a sharp, distinctive voice. Teens will love this book!" --Erika Tamar, author of Fair Game, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and The Things I Did Last Summer, a New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age

"This is a writer to watch out for." --Daniel Ehrenhaft, author of The Afterlife and Tell It to Naomi

"In Willow, Selene Castrovilla has created a plucky, sharp-tongued heroine who's braver than she knows. Teens will laugh and cry for Willow as the plunges into a summer of nightmares, barge music, and unlikely partnerships--with her kooky Aunt Agatha and with Axel--her new friend--a troubled 18-year-old boy and true kindred spirit." --Catherine Stine, author of Refugees, a NYPL Best Book for teens