How To Save a Life – Eva Carter

Published by: Mantle/pan Macmillan
Pages: 480
Date published: 01/04/2021
Date read: 24/06/2021

Kerry Smith is going to save lives–and so is her best friend, Tim Palmer. After years of working towards medical school, they are about to sit for their entrance exams. But on the eve of the new millennium, a classmate goes into cardiac arrest, changing everything.

For nearly eighteen minutes, rising soccer star Joel Greenaway is dead. For nearly eighteen minutes, Kerry performs CPR on her long-time crush. And for nearly eighteen minutes, Tim is too shocked to help. And though they don’t yet know it, those eighteen minutes will change the next eighteen years of their lives.

Because as it turns out, saving a life doesn’t always guarantee a happy ending.

With his soccer career cut short, Joel lashes out and breaks Kerry’s heart by ending their burgeoning relationship with a cruelty that derails her future, while Tim struggles to reconcile his dream of becoming a doctor with the reality of failing to act. As each struggles to move on from the events of that fateful New Year’s Eve, their lives can’t seem to stop colliding year after year. Pulled by their shared histories and her big heart, Kerry soon finds herself picking up the pieces after both broken men. But when Kerry is the one who needs saving, will anyone be there for her?

As Kerry, Tim, and Joel discover what it means to love, to forgive, and to find your calling, this sweeping novel shows us that there is more than one way to save a life–and more than one path to finding meaning in your own.


I’ve had an influx of advanced reader copies recently, but I decided to take a pause from them and get stuck into a book I already owned.

There’s always a risk with a book that’s pushing 500 pages that it will drag and be slow, because most books that long don’t really need to be that long. But this one flowed perfectly and didn’t lag at all.

We follow prospective footballer Joel, and doctors-in-training Kerry and Tim from the ages of 17-35. It starts as the year 1999 turns into 2000 and a Joel has a cardiac arrest. Kerry saves his life whilst Tim freezes in fear. The next 18 years of their lives are spent dealing with the consequences of that one night.

Each of the 3 main characters get their own time so we get to know them equally. They are all very human. They have their troubles and hardships, but their joys and triumphs. You hate them, you care for them, you feel sorry for them, and you love them.

This could have been a very sappy and depressing book, as well as a very pushy book but it wasn’t. It was enjoyable and fun and sad and happy and interesting, but above all it was useful. A fiction book may not be your first port of call for medical advice, but if anyone is under any misunderstanding as to how important it is for all of us to know CPR, this book will prove you wrong. It’s the most vital thing you could possibly learn and you may just be the thing standing in the way of death

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