Tuesday, November 12, 2013

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: The Preservationist by Justin Kramon


To Sam Blount, meeting Julia is the best thing that has ever happened to him.

Working at the local college and unsuccessful in his previous relationships, he'd been feeling troubled about his approaching fortieth birthday, "a great beast of a birthday," as he sees it, but being with Julia makes him feel young and hopeful. Julia Stilwell, a freshman trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy that has stripped her of her greatest talent, is flattered by Sam's attention. But their relationship is tested by a shy young man with a secret, Marcus Broley, who is also infatuated with Julia.

Told in alternating points of view, The Preservationist is the riveting tale of Julia and Sam's relationship, which begins to unravel as the threat of violence approaches and Julia becomes less and less sure whom she can trust.

Hardcover, 284 pages
Published October 10th 2013 by Pegasus Books
ISBN 1605984809 (ISBN13: 9781605984803)

About the Author

Justin Kramon is the author of the novel Finny, published by Random House in July, 2010.

A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has published stories in Glimmer Train, Story Quarterly, Boulevard, Fence, TriQuarterly, and others. He has received honors from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America, Best American Short Stories, the Hawthornden International Writers’ Fellowship, and the Bogliasco Foundation. He teaches at Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City and at the Iowa Young Writers’ Workshop.

Check out the author's website
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My Thoughts
Of all the places Julia Stilwell thought she might be on a September afternoon, less than a year after the accident, this was the last she would have imagined. 
Julia is a freshman in college. She is coming out of an unimaginable year in which she lost her brother, and her life is finally beginning to feel normal once again. Then she meets two men. One man, Marcus, is a young man she met in class. He's cute and seems sweet, and she is comfortable talking with him, bantering lightheartedly.

The second man is an older man she met at a cafe on campus, and she feels a shared sympathy with him, as he seems to understand her pain over losing her brother. Sam is intense and almost ingratiatingly easy to get along with. He does appear to be a bit of a hoarder though.
He was a preservationist. That was how he put it to himself, the word he used for the particular way he got by. He’d never been able to let go of things easily. (p.59)
Julia makes her choice between these two men, but then begins to wonder whether she made the right choice. Both men accuse the other of dishonesty and dangerous behavior. At the same time, there are rapes occurring on campus, and both men appear as possible suspects. Could either of them be guilty of such a thing? And then there is a third man thrown into the mix, just to confuse things further.

Before you know it, Julia is being consumed with paranoia, trusting no one. She no longer can trust her own judgements, and doubts her own decisions. And then she finds herself in real danger, and doesn't know which way to turn.

I think this story was really character-driven. It flits through alternating perspectives, and you are always inside of the head of one of the characters, seeing things through their eyes. You are fed little bits of the story, and it builds slowly. And even though you are in the heads of the characters, you still aren't sure what the truth really is.

This is one of those stories that I feel seems to have a moral or lesson to be learned from it, but I'm not really sure what it is. What is to be learned from all of this? I don't know. How NOT to be? Where poor judgement will get you? How foolish the young can be? Perhaps it isn't intended to have a moral to the story, but it has that feeling.

The story felt a little choppy at times. There were some things that sort of left off unfinished or vague or simply alluded to. But overall it had a good flow.

My final word: This book was very easy to read, and the characters were pretty well developed. I found myself on the edge of my seat for much of it, not sure where it was going to go. There were so many suspicious characters introduced that you just weren’t sure “whodunit”. It was enjoyable, yet left me with a frustratingly disappointed feeling that I can't quite put a finger on. Although I was left with the feeling that the story was somewhat...insubstantial, I found it overall to be a worthwhile read, and I would give the author another go-around.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour! Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, October 15th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, October 16th: Book-a-licious Mama
Thursday, October 17th: The Lost Entwife
Tuesday, October 22nd: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, October 23rd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, October 24th: Books in the Burbs
Monday, October 28th: Book Addict Katie
Wednesday, October 30th: A Novel Review
Thursday, October 31st: Lectus
Monday, November 4th: Under My Apple Tree
Wednesday, November 6th: The Well-Read Redhead
Thursday, November 7th: nomadreader
Friday, November 8th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, November 12th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, November 14th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Date TBD: Seaside Book Corner

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

Cover: A
Writing Style: B+
Characters: B+
Storyline/Plot: A-
Interest/Uniqueness: B+

My Rating:


I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and any quotes used could differ from the official release.


Justin Kramon said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review my book. I really appreciate it. Your attention means a lot to me. Wishing you all best....Justin

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm glad that you'll be picking up more from Kramon in the future. Thanks for being on the tour!