David's parents join a cult that claims to know the date of the rapture (which they call the rush) - the night of David's prom. When David sneaks out on rush night, and then comes home to find his parents gone and their clothes laid out on the bed, he and his sister begin a frantic search for them. Or did the rapture really happen?
There were so many aspects of this novel that I enjoyed. I loved the narrative tension that Smith-Ready creates with this premise. I needed to find out what happened to the parents and that kept me reading, even through the parts that dragged. Also, David's characterization is nicely handled. He's a Christian who has doubts and asks questions, but still keeps his faith, and I liked that. I thought his interactions with his sister Mara were great too. She's completely fed up with her parents and criticizes David frequently, and yet you can see that they genuinely love and support each other.
Oh and the father's dialogue? Hilariously clever. It amused me to no end that he only spoke in bible verses and it showed how single-mindedly dedicated he was to the cult.
I was less interested in David's romance with Bailey. Smith-Ready alternates between a "then" and "now" timeline and most of the "then" chapters deal with David falling in love with his math cave classmate. Bailey's family does make a fascinating contrast to David's, at least on paper. Whereas he is home schooled for conservative religious reasons, she is home schooled because her parents are liberal iconoclasts. This extreme difference carves out ripe possibilities for a forbidden romance, but I never felt the tension. I found myself becoming increasingly impatient during David and Bailey's scenes because I was so much more invested in the "now" timeline and the mystery surrounding David's parents and wanted to get back to it.
THIS SIDE OF SALVATION is available in hardcover now. Find out more about it at the author's website.
FTC disclosure: The publisher provided me with a free eGalley of this book via Edelweiss.