Jonathan LaPoma

Author / Screenwriter

The Soul City Salvation

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.

*The Soul City Salvation will be published by Almendro Arts in March 2020

Download the First Two Chapters of THE SOUL CITY SALVATION



“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!))”

—Audrey, Warped Shelves

“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