Ten months—that’s how long twenty-six-year-old writer and aspiring actor Jay Sakovsky decides to stay and teach in the bohemian beach town of Soul City, California, to save up cash and overcome his anxiety before moving on to Hollywood.
But after several “friendly chats” with the vice principal about hangover sweats and black eyes from barroom brawls, Jay sees a therapist who helps him connect his self-destructive tendencies and artistic blocks to his undiagnosed OCD, setting him on a ten-year healing journey that drives him to near madness as he explores the limits of his heart, creativity, and psyche.
A surreal, darkly comic, and psychologically epic novel, The Soul City Salvation explores mental illness, friendship, aging, masculinity, modern love, the creative process, spiritual awakening, and fighting for respect in an uncaring world.
The Soul City Salvation is the fifth book in a loosely-linked series, with Hammond, The Summer of Crud, Understanding the Alacrán, and Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story as books one-four. Each novel can be read independently of the others.
-#1 Hot New Release in Psychological Fiction on Amazon CA
-da Vinci Eye Finalist in the 2020 Eric Hoffer Award for “outstanding cover art”
-Winner of The Cover Designer’s e-book Cover Design Award, May 2020 (Fiction)
“Jay is revealed to be an intriguing soul to follow, and LaPoma seamlessly depicts aspects of Jay’s mental illness as well as his attempts to get successfully published. Along the way, the author effectively plays with the theme of control—specifically, Jay’s lack of it, in both his classrooms and in his personal life . . . Readers who are looking for . . . a good character study of an educator yearning for more will be satisfied . . . A . . . highly readable tale of a struggling but well-meaning schoolteacher.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Recommended Review
“A philosophical story of growth, insight, and discovery . . . that moves beyond the usual focus on young adults to consider an adult’s evolutionary process . . . Readers looking for an introspective journey will relish The Soul City Salvation for its ever-changing evolutionary realizations which offer rich food for thought long after Jay’s story concludes.”
—Diane Donovan, California Bookwatch
“So honest that it hurts . . . I absolutely devoured this story! It’s one of those ‘Just one more chapter!’ books . . . that just emphasizes the realism of dealing with mental disorders. Healing isn’t a linear path. And sometimes the things we do to try and better ourselves do more harm than good . . . The Soul City Salvation had me in tears as it hit me over and over again that other people think the way I do, and that, if it can be okay for them, I can survive too . . . This novel preaches hope and understanding in these blasé fast times . . . if you are looking for one of those books that deals with real issues, mental health, or slightly psychedelic self healing, The Soul City Salvation is definitely worth a read . . . Jonathan LaPoma has insane talent . . . (I’ll stop gushing now—sorry!))”
“This book reminded me of two things; one—we are all on different journeys and two—we don’t get there at the same time worse off the same way. I love how easy it was to relate to Jay, because he was human—he was imperfect, difficult, weary, sweet, hopeful, creative, loving, scared—everything in one . . . what he saw on the surface as anxiety turned out to be much more. There’s a part in the book where he asks “How long will it take to fix me?” and it tore at my heartstrings . . . this is not one of those books you can say will make you feel a certain type of way, and that’s refreshing. It will however make you feel different things at different times . . .”
—Dora Okeyo, Author of The Crown of the Sea
“Such an emotional read, as Jay was an extremely relatable character. So many of us are not where we want to be in life when we want to be. The author conveyed this struggle with Jay and his journey, along with how people come into your life just when you need them to. Jay’s journey was an interesting read and I found it to be realistic.”
—Cristie Underwood, Netgalley
“I loved this book! I loved the internal struggle with OCD and anxiety. I loved his perseverance with his writing and his desire to move from Soul City to Hollywood. That said, this book was a little sad; reading about Jay and seeing his childhood trauma present itself in the forms of anger, poor judgement in search of love, and lack of self-confidence was dark and beautiful. Praise to LaPoma! I will be reading more of his work in the future!”
“Soul City Salvation read kinda like a Homerian epic to me . . . It’s a great lesson in “growing into becoming a writer”, how ever one personally needs to become comfortable with arriving at peace with their vocation so that they can now “go for it” and reap some sort of financial success. It hit home a lot for me, particularly as a writer myself, who, unlike the main character, chose to jump off the cliff and build in mid flight. . . . Perfect pacing for a story that speaks to perfect divine timing in real life.”
—Sistah Gurl, Author of The Incredibly True Confessions of a Black Female Union Steward: A Workplace Memoir