Our Souls to Keep by Gary Caruso is a amazingly brought together story about love and the mysteries of death. The slow build of the story was intriguing I fought between annoyance and enjoyment. The slow burn was like slow cooked chilli. It took forever but in the end it was needed, necessary for the beautiful conclusion.
Wake is a human who sold his soul to save someone he loves. This led him into a life as a soul collector, the demons responsible for the misery of the world. After feeling his human emotions start to return, he starts to question his current life. This happens about the same time he receives an important assignment. He is supposed to collect the soul of a pregnant teenage girl. Not necessarily for her soul, but so the suicide taints to soul of the child.
Wake shifts between his own conscience and his duty as a collector.
Annamarie is kind, hopeful, and very brave. She finds herself taken with Wake and when he offers her a safe place for her baby she goes with him. After battles, car crashes, some pregnancy issues, and a few angels and demons they reach the end of their road. Does Wake find a way to release his soul from Satan’s grasp? Can he and Annamarie find out if the feelings they have together are lasting? Pick it up to find out.
This has an intriguing cover and powerful storyline meant for older teens. As an adult I certainly enjoyed it! As I already said the beginning was a slow build until it found the fever pitch that controlled the rest of the book. There is no cliffhanger and the twist at the end leaves you with a story that sticks with you. There are very few editorial issues and the pacing was perfect for the story. This book is something I would recommend for teens over 16 as long as they are mature enough to handle a few tough subjects. There is no sex but with teen pregnancy there obviously was at one point. There is talk of murder, abuse, and a very graphic suicide scene.
Overall we are looking at a 4.5 star read!
Just a Tease
The crowd thins, eventually leaving Annemarie and me alone in the hallway. She gathers her books and turns, quicker than I expect. I can’t maneuver out of her way. Our collision is mild, but jarring enough to dislodge the books from her hands.
“I’m so sorry,” she says as she kneels to pick up her scattered books.
I should be helping her, but my eyes are fixed on her graceful movements. Her long brown hair has fallen to the side, exposing the back of her softly curved neck, and every reach for a stray book lengthens her back and shoulders, inviting my touch. From the lowest point, just above the waist of her jeans, the tip of my finger would snake upward, navigating the gentle ridge of her spine until my hand laces through the richness of her flowing hair.
She tilts her head upward and grins at me. “Are you okay?”
Her voice snaps me from my fantasy. “Me? Yeah, I’m…fine. Oh, god. I’m so sorry. I should be picking up your books. You’re…you know.” I point feeble-mindedly at her extended stomach.
“Pregnant,” she says as she stands and straightens her blouse. “It’s all right to say it. I already know.”
The tip of her tongue unknowingly caresses her lower lip and the gentle arc of her full upper lip stretches, the smallest amount, as a smile slowly radiates across her flushed cheeks. These emotions, human, raw and…hormonal, forgotten for so long, now my only hope for clear thought is to suppress them. This has to be one of Satan’s sadistic jokes.
I laugh from embarrassment, but it’s the first time, in too long, that the sound of untempered, unrestrained joy bubbles from my heart. How can she have this warming effect on me? I want to say something cute and funny, but my mind is a hornet’s nest of scrambled thoughts.
“You look familiar,” she says. “Do we have a class together?”
I gaze into her hazel eyes. I must appear flustered because she tilts her head and grins.
“No. I mean, I don’t know. Today is my first day at this school.”
“Great. Welcome to Roosevelt High School. My name is Annemarie.”
“Wake? That’s an interesting name.”
“Yeah, I know. It sounds like a funeral.”
“I like it. But I have to go. My little guy keeps pushing on my bladder. Lately, I have to use the restroom between every class.” She covers her mouth as if she gave too much information to someone she just met, but her joyful eyes can’t hide the smile hidden behind her hand.
“I can’t believe I just told you that.” She starts to hurry away, but looks over her shoulder. “See you later, Wake.”
I wave like an embarrassed adolescent. What a lousy first impression. I sounded like a bumbling, immature little boy.
I watch as she continues down the hall. I’ve seen other pregnant women before. They were clumsy, out of balance from carrying extra weight in front. But not Annemarie. Her steps are graceful and refined, like she’s gliding on a frozen pond. The gentle curves of her hips have remained slender, and sway hypnotically side-to-side in a rhythm that matches the drumming of my heart.
What am I thinking? Mooning about like a lovesick teenager. I can’t let my physical attraction for Annemarie erode the resolve I’ll need to complete this assignment. Yet, she’s the most beautiful… Does she even know how she makes me feel…how human? I’m stuck in a moment reserved for young love. There’s nothing merciful about denying the uninhibited excitement coursing through every inch of my body, but my plan is already in motion. The fate of my mother’s soul is in my hands. As much as I hate myself for thinking it, Annemarie’s beauty has to be extinguished. I have to collect her. I know Satan is convinced these human emotions will help, but right now, I wish I was a stone-cold demon. It would make it a lot easier to incinerate her goodness from the earth.
Goodreads Author Page
Crys and Manda