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The Savages
     

The Savages

4.6 3
by Matt Whyman
 

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They'd love to have you for dinner!They'd love to have you for dinner!
Sasha Savage is in love with Jack Greenway - a handsome, charming, clever...vegetarian. Which would be acceptable if it weren't for the fact that Sasha's family are very much 'carnivorous', with strong views to boot. Behind the respectable family facade all is not as it seems. Sasha's father

Overview

They'd love to have you for dinner!They'd love to have you for dinner!
Sasha Savage is in love with Jack Greenway - a handsome, charming, clever...vegetarian. Which would be acceptable if it weren't for the fact that Sasha's family are very much 'carnivorous', with strong views to boot. Behind the respectable family facade all is not as it seems. Sasha's father Titus rules his clan with an iron fist, and although her mother Angelica never has a hair out of place, her credit card bills are shocking and her culinary skills are getting more...'adventurous' by the day. As for Sasha's demonic brother Ivan? Well, after accidentally decapitating a supermodel in their family bathroom his golden boy image is looking wobbly. To the outsider the Savages might look like the perfect family, but there is more to them than meets the eye. When the too-curious private detective Vernon English starts to dig for darker truths, this tight knit family starts to unravel - as does their sinister and predatory taste in human beings...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/20/2014
Happy families are all alike—except, perhaps, the one in Whyman’s (the Carl Hobbes books) wickedly funny and mildly disturbing novel. Aside from their secret appetite for human flesh—a tradition dating back to Grandpa Oleg’s gobbling up a neighbor during the siege of Leningrad in WWII—the Savage family suffers from fairly normal stresses. Mrs. Savage struggles to get her spending under control while 15-year-old Sasha contemplates vegetarianism, to the shock of her parents and the delight of her new soon-to-be-vegan boyfriend. When a schlubby private investigator starts digging too closely into Mr. Savage’s business dealings and the apparent suicide of a model last seen alive at the Savage home, there’s no telling what, er, juicy truths might be revealed. Whyman’s taste for the bizarre is grislier than most, and a gruesome finale is particularly unsettling. But it’s his choice phrasing (the family’s victims are “free range”) and spot-on comedic delivery, seen especially in 12-year-old Ivan’s pointed practical jokes, that make the book so digestible. Ages 9–up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
06/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—The Savages—Titus, Angelica, 15-year-old Sasha, 12-year-old Ivan, toddler Kat, and grandpa Oleg—are a close-knit family, bound together by their secret penchant for eating human flesh. The plot is composed of several disparate elements, including a woman whom psychopath Ivan has accidentally killed, a private detective who is hoping to find proof of Titus's shady business dealings, and Sasha's new boyfriend, who has persuaded her to try vegetarianism for a month, to her family's disgust. Lest you think that this novel will pull its punches, a main character does indeed get killed, carved up and eaten, which might make for a savory black comedy if this novel were at all funny. Instead, it never finds the right tone, alternating creepy scenes of young Ivan playing sadistic practical jokes with banter between Sasha and her friends about her make-out session with her boyfriend—"Did you get to see his cucumber?" The diction is awkward as well, with an unappealing stiltedness. The characters never come fully alive, though quite a bit of effort is made to introduce each family member to readers. And finally, the jacket art, while quite effective, is more likely to attract younger readers than the discussion of cucumbers and jokes about a suspected pedophile "wanting" Ivan make advisable. Throw this half-cooked novel back in the pot.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-18
Dinner with the Savages can be murder. Sixteen-year-old Sasha Savage has a new boyfriend. Jack is a year ahead of her in school, but that's not what causes a family controversy: He's a vegetarian, and the Savages are…well, they're cannibals. Ever since Grandpa was in the siege of Leningrad, the family has ritualistically, on occasion, feasted on human flesh, but they are always respectful to the source and waste as little as possible. Sasha's father, Titus, was born and raised in England. He's a predatory businessman; he orchestrates hostile takeovers of companies. It's this practice that has private detective Vernon English tailing Titus. Then a model fatally falls prey to a prank directed at Sasha by her younger brother, Ivan. Vernon doesn't know the specifics behind her disappearance, but he's sure something more than illegal business deals is going on. Can Sasha introduce her controversial boyfriend to the family, and can they all keep Vernon from finding out the family's culinary peculiarity? Making fun of foodies and vegetarians alike, this is neither a laugh riot nor a page-turning thriller, but readers seeking a little grisly diversion may be entertained. Whyman's British Addams Family of man-eaters certainly won't be to everyone's taste, but for those who like their humor very, very dry, it may just hit the spot. (Fiction. 13 & up)
From the Publisher
"Wickedly funny and mildly disturbing…Whyman's taste for the bizarre is grislier than most, and a gruesome finale is particularly unsettling. But it's his choice phrasing (the family's victims are "free range") and spot-on comedic delivery, seen especially in 12-year-old Ivan's pointed practical jokes, that make the book so digestible." —Publishers Weekly

"I devoured (there's no other way to put it) The Savages. And they were delicious! Seriously. I absolutely loved the book. It was funny and fascinating, occasionally repulsive, and beautifully written. Also quite thought-provoking, since I have an uneasy relationship with meat-eating, yet can't quite commit to vegetarianism. What I especially loved is how caring and tender the Savage family was. I'll be on the lookout for more of Matt Whyman's writing from here on in. I'm a fan!" —Ellen Potter, author of The Kneebone Boy

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781468308563
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
03/06/2014
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"I devoured (there's no other way to put it) The Savages. And they were delicious! Seriously. I absolutely loved the book. It was funny and fascinating, occasionally repulsive, and beautifully written. Also quite thought-provoking, since I have an uneasy relationship with meat-eating, yet can't quite commit to vegetarianism. What I especially loved is how caring and tender the Savage family was. I'll be on the lookout for more of Matt Whyman's writing from here on in. I'm a fan!" —Ellen Potter, author of The Kneebone Boy

Meet the Author

Matt Whyman is a distinctive voice in cutting edge teen fiction. His books include the acclaimed Boy Kills Man and the Carl Hobbes thrillers, Icecore and Goldstrike. He also writes advice columns for numerous teenage magazines, and his books for adults include the comic memoir Oink! My Life with Minipigs.

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The Savages 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
DesPutaski More than 1 year ago
I’ve recently read a lot of discussions about book covers. Do they sell a reader on a book? Do readers buy a book simply based off the cover? Well, this is definitely one of those books that shouldn’t be judged by its cover. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cover; but what you find inside is amazingly creepy and sometimes scary. A word of warning…. if you don’t love British humor then a lot of this book won’t appeal to you. This book was completely unpredictable; dark humor at it’s best. The Savages are cannibals. There’s no secret about that… well, that’s not exactly true. No one outside of their family knows what they really are, but the reader knows just by reading the outside cover. We learn the origins of the family’s cannibalistic ways and we also learn in the very beginning of the book that something terrible happens and their closely guarded family secret is revealed. The journey to that revelation is darkly humorous. Of course, the idea of cannibalism is horrific, but the way it is presented just made me keep turning the pages! The Savages, as a family, are very well thought out and developed characters. Titus is a hard-working father who will do anything to keep his family together. Angelica is addicted to shopping and will do anything to hide her extravagant spending from her husband. Sasha is a typical teenager just trying to figure out who she is and where she fits into the world. Ivan… well, he’s a little sociopath. And little Katya… she’s just a baby so there’s really not much to indulge in as far as her character goes. And Grandpa Oleg… he rounds out the family nicely. The writing is terrific. The plot is executed perfectly. The characters, even minor characters, intermingle with one another flawlessly. Overall this book was a fantastic read. And there is a sequel – American Savage – that has made my summer must read list!
224perweek More than 1 year ago
What a fun read. Strange and a little scary with subtle humor. Coming of age story about a teen girl whose family are cannibals. Can't wait to see if they have anymore adventures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was too amazing for words! I ate it up in one bite and quickly wanted seconds. I can't wait to see what Matt Whyman does next