Imagine you're a junior in high school and you live in Santa Cruz, steps away from the beach. You and your friends surf all day and life is good. Some of your friends are going away to college or the service soon, so this is your last summer with some of them. And Surf Break, the big surfing festival, is coming up later in the summer. Oh, and your best friend who you have the hots for just kissed you. Good times? Well then you get home and your dad tells you guess what- you're going to Nebraska for the summer. Needless to say, Anise Sawyer is not pleased.
I love the premise- surfer girl goes to the heartland to care for her grandmother (who was in an accident) and her cousins, and falls in love with a guy while she's there- can you see the drama potential? But it's actually a heartfelt story and done well, in lots of ways. Anise is a good kid, yeah she drinks on the beach and hits a joint now and then, but her and her dad (a single father) have a super tight relationship, and she basically makes good choices. And part of her doesn't mind going to help her grandmother- she loves her family and seems pretty well grounded for her age. I liked Anise a lot- in fact I liked everyone a lot. The supporting cast, her family, everyone is fine. And it's a good story. It just fell a little flat for me and took me a while to finish it.
I just wasn't super motivated to read it at times. I liked the beginning and the end, it just seemed like not a lot happened in the middle. She learns to skateboard and falls for Lincoln and has some family issues. There's a subplot with her cousin Emery that had potential- Emery gets moody and quiet and Anise suspects something happened with her friends, but the reveal was pretty anti- climactic. And Lincoln is a good guy, at times almost too good. And while I mentioned above that Anise falls in love with him, I should correct that- I'm not sure they ever use the word love. It's kind of refreshing that even as they're really into each other, they're not all like soul mates forever. They both realize what they have now is important, but there's no lifelong promises.
A couple other things are going on. Anise struggles with her feelings for her mother, who shows up occasionally but for the most part is a drifter. Anise and her dad have adjusted to this but there's the real possibility that her mother may show up at some point. That's something that Anise struggles with throughout the story. Also, as she settles into life in Nebraska, she kind of loses touch with her friends. Especially when Lincoln comes into the picture. As the summer wears on she loses touch with Santa Cruz, and by the end of the book has to come to grips with that.
It seemed a bit much that Anise had to leave almost immediately for Nebraska, and had to spend the whole summer. And until Lincoln comes along all Anise wants is to go home, and I couldn't blame her. I got bored reading about her cousins and skateboarding. Lincoln I didn't really connect with because he seemed too perfect- can we have at least one flaw?- and I frankly wanted her to go home to Eric, the guy she kissed before leaving (and her best friend of seventeen years). But the author may have intended for the reader to have mixed feelings even as Anise does, so instead of a problem that may have been the point. Anise is also a pretty good role model for teens, other than the occasional f- bombs (actually she uses those quite a bit) she makes good choices about sex and relationships.
So as you can see I did have a hard time with this. I liked the beginning and end and the resolution of the Eric/ Lincoln conundrum seemed realistic. A little bittersweet but how could it not be? It also asks a lot of questions about life and what Anise wants to do with hers- I liked that aspect and I think it was handled well. This is a solid read that kind of drags in the middle but if the premise appeals to you it has a lot to offer.
I never tried something like that about a surfer girl. It's too bad that you had some complications as wellReplyDelete
It wasn't bad, it just didn't grab me- in the middle part. The beginning and end were great!Delete
It does seem to have issues that might bug me tooReplyDelete
Yeah I'd say three stars.Delete
I hate when a book drags and you don't really feel the need to pick it up. This is on my TBR though so maybe one day. Great review!ReplyDelete
I hope you like it if you get to it. Like I said it's not bad, but dragged for me in the middle...Delete
I almost grabbed this one but I've been taking a break from this genre so I didn't, kind of glad I didn't know. ;) Wonderful honest review!ReplyDelete
Thank you. It's not bad, but the middle kinda was slow...Delete
I really do like the premise, so I guess I'll give this a try sometime :) Great review, glad it was a solid read despite some flaws!ReplyDelete
Amy @ A Magical World Of Words
It's really not bad, just slow in the middle. But it's definitely worth a read if you like the premise!Delete
I don't read a lot of this type of book but I did enjoy your review.ReplyDelete
sherry @ fundinmental
I've seen this one around and I have to admit that I love the cover and felt like it had a lot of potential just because of that! However, you know me and contemporaries by now, right? Not really my thing and while the premise does sound good I'm kind of glad I haven't been drawn more to this one... Great review and I'm glad it mostly worked out for you!ReplyDelete
I like the cover, and the premise said read me. Ha ha I know how you feel. It's a pretty good feel good story it just didn't wow me.Delete
I keep seeing this cover everywhere, and I love it, but then I read the synopsis and I'm like, meh. From your review, it sounds like a cute story but nothing much seems to happen. I appreciate the non-insta-love between the MC and the new guy, though! More realistic!ReplyDelete
It's very cute and I'm glad I read it- I thought she captured the California lifestyle well and made me feel for the character.Delete
After reading your review, I really like that title for this story. I would've been pretty upset too at having been dragged off for that last summer. I can also see how a lot of the middle was boring since that's what she was going through at the time. I'm glad it had some teachable moments though. Great review!ReplyDelete
That title fits! And I agree- I could totally relate to her frustration and frankly I thought she handled it very well, maybe better than a lot of teens! The middle ws a slog but it ended well. :)Delete
I am glad I read yoru review for this one. I have been contemplating whether to read it or not. Your niggles told me to skip it for now. I appreciate your helpful review.ReplyDelete
Yeah it's good if you get to it later but I wouldn't pay full price.Delete
I like the sound of this and from the sounds of it it would be great for teenagers. I like that Anise makes good choices but isn't perfect. Your issues with it I think would annoy me as well so I probably won't go searching this one out but I'd definitely recommend this one!ReplyDelete
I think it's a good book for teens (other than the rather frequent f-bombs). Anise does make good choices and I thought the family elements handled REALLY well.Delete
This sounds interesting. I like the the MC was conflicted but still was smart enough to make the right choices. Great Review, Greg!ReplyDelete
Yeah she was a good kid!Delete
I've recently read a few books where I wasn't motivated to pick them back up too. The surfer girl aspect is different. Great review! ~AleenReplyDelete
I liked the surfer elements, but yeah I struggled a bit with this.Delete
Your review made me bought this in an instant. I have read reviews of Girl Out of Water but it hasn't move me to read it. I think I can manage to read the middle. Awesome rev!ReplyDelete
Thank you, yay! I hope you love it! It's good and the middle may not bother you, it just seemed a little slow to me. But I think the relationships are great!Delete
Nebraska sounds awful, not going to lie. I mean, especially coming from a beach town. Hard pass. And I bet grandma isn't a pile of giggles either, based on the description. But I really like that Anise was portrayed so well! I was on the fence with this one because of just that- I didn't want her to be whiny and bratty about being there. Like, be justifiably pissed at a normal level haha. Even though, if I am being honest, I would have been whiny and bratty about it especially at 16 or 17. I also really like that she has to make these decisions and learns such important life lessons. This isn't one I will immediately read probably, but I do want to pick it up at some point. Great review!!ReplyDelete
Exactly. I was like I'm not going lol. In fact I thought the protagonist handled it SO well I wasn't sure how realistic it was from a teen vantage lol. The grandma wasn't bad actually- the little cousins though bugged me, and I think they were supposed to be cute, but no. But Anise is awesome. The romance too- it felt like it was sUPPOSED to be about her meeting someone while gone, so everything served that, and I just wasn't convinced??Delete
To be honest, I haven't really been interested in this one. I'm glad you liked most of it, but I get just not really feeling it throughout.ReplyDelete
Yeah the middle was fine but I just wasn't into the skateboarding thing, and part of me thought it was odd the way ONLY she could do this and no one else was available to help?Delete
I can see why you'd have some mixed feelings about this one, Greg. I think I would, too. I may have been rooting of Eric over Lincoln as far as a love interest, but who knows. It's hardly a guarantee of an HEA when you fall in love as a teenager. Still, I'm all about the HEA, realistic or not. Lol! It's entertainment, I don't care if it's not always realistic. :)ReplyDelete
I actually was rooting for Eric, which I'm not sure I was supposed to, but I don't know. Lincoln was almost too perfect that it didn't seem convincing to me? Although the ending was handled well since she had to make a decision. And true- I like an HEA, who needs real life? I did like for once in YA it wasn't like they were fated to be together FOREVER...Delete
Hi, Greg! This is just to let you know that I'll be back to comment on your review, but I wanted to share this link with you. I LOVED "Northern Lights", by Sam Davies, which you included in your latest "Sunday Post". I ADORE EDM music, BTW!ReplyDelete
In the process of embedding "Northern Lights" into my blog's sidebar, I discovered another GREAT EDM piece. It's titled "Innerspace" (Dan & Sam Intro Mix), and it's by Gregory Esayan. These guys are all entirely new to me, but they now have a loyal fan!!
Anyway, here's the link. Maybe you'll like it so much you'll post this piece as your next "Song of the Week".
And BTW, I cannot stop listening to this one, either!!
I'll be back to comment on your review, promise!! <3 <3 :) :)
Hey Maria!! Glad you like the EDM- I've been finding a TON of it through Silk Music on Youtube and I have some teed up on my Sunday Posts coming up. Thanks for the link!!Delete
Yup! Thanks to you, I've discovered Silk Music myself! And I subscribed to it, of course!! LOTS of GREAT music there!! You're very welcome for the link! Enjoy!!Delete
Now, about this book...I can feel your frustration with it! I was interested at the beginning of your EXCELLENT review, but, by the end of it, I was no longer interested. Anise does sound like a GREAT character, but....I'm heartily sick and tired of YA love triangles. Besides, I don't like the fact that Anise uses "the F bomb" pretty often. I HATE coming across that word in fiction!! In fact, pretty recently I stopped reading a book I was otherwise devouring, because of this issue. I DNF'ed it around the middle. Too bad, because the characters were AWESOME, the plot TERRIFIC! BUT.THAT.WORD. This is a DEFINITE reading deal breaker for me!
Thanks for all of your wonderful insights on this novel!! Hope you're having a GREAT Saturday!! <3 <3 :) :)
She definitely uses the F word a lot and if you don't like that it could be an issue. And as heartfelt as the book is I really don't feel it's an essential read, you know? At the same time I did like the Santa Cruz portions quite a bit!Delete
Silk music has some great stuff. Have you heard Hover by Blue Symmetry? LOVE that one...
I like that, though there was potential for drama, this was heartfelt and that Anise and the rest of the characters were very likable. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, despite the few things you mentioned. Wonderful review, Greg!ReplyDelete
Thank you! It was a very heartfelt story. I liked Anise a lot.Delete
It seems something I should try. I'm exploring genres that I usually don't read because I haven't been able to read more and I like the summery feels of it and the issues with her parents. Great review! :)ReplyDelete
If it appeals to you then you should definitely give it a try! Just because I found it slow in the middle doesn't mean someone else would, it could just be a me thing.Delete
That cover always baffled me when I saw it so it's nice to finally read an actual review. Sounds interesting although a bit slow.ReplyDelete
For What It's Worth
It is a bit slow, and certainly not a bad read. A solid 3 star.Delete
A surfer girl as the MC sounds awesome. I don't live too far from the beach but over here there aren't that many waves (that I know of) that I would even think of getting on. Surfing is actually a terrifying sport. Anise seems great but the middle part sounds boring and so does her love interest. I hate "perfect" love interests. Well, except that one time in one of my favorite books... haha (: But it can be annoying in most books.ReplyDelete
I loved her POV and the whole surfer thing. Heck I was ready to get my board (not that I have one) and go catch a wave!Delete
It's not the kind of book I would usually pick up but I could do with some slow contemporaries after reading A TON of high fantasies!! I'm sorry it dragged around a bit but the story sounds cute <3ReplyDelete
The middle is the problem, but I liked the beginning and the end a lot!!Delete
To be honest, this sounds a bit like every contemporary book I read when I was younger (since I don't read contemp now). BUT I like what you said about how she doesn't really mind since she's close to her family and all that. That's what makes it sound unique since I feel like most teens in YA books would be petulant. (Not that I'd really blame them to be honest, I wouldn't have wanted to go to Nebraska all summer long either.) The relationship sounds great too with how they appreciated it but didn't fall madly head-over-heels. I don't like too perfect characters though, so that would bother me.ReplyDelete
That could be, I'm pretty new to contemps (last few years) and while I thought this was a heartfelt read, it doesn't strike me as essential, you know? I got bored in the middle... I was impressed though with how well she took the news. Petulant is a good word for how a lot of teens would react (heck, how I would have reacted) and I wanted her to get back to Santa Cruz myself! The relationship was done well though I have to say.Delete
I have to have a character that totally hooks in my emotions and I think Anise would do it Greg. Sometimes a slow burner is what you need isn't it! My fiction feels as if it's been a big heavy lately so I could see GOOW being on of those in-between books.ReplyDelete
Thanks for linking #ToTT
Great review, Greg. This is definitely on my wish list. It sounds so good!ReplyDelete
I've never heard of this book before now, but I really like how you describe this book and you make me curious about it. Anise sounds like a great main character and the plot line of a character going somewhere differently for the summer can be fun! It does sound like the middle part is a bit slow, it's too bad when that happens.ReplyDelete
I hate it when there's a book that I like but I can't quite ever connect to it the way I want to. Sounds like that sort of book.ReplyDelete
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
I've been kind of in the fence about reading this so your review was super helpful. It's a shame it dragged in the middle but it sounds like something I'll read if it comes into the library - not sure I'll make it a priority though!ReplyDelete
I was on the war front when the s#it hit the fan for this book with those tRump trolls from Twitter, helping to flag the fake accounts. I wanted to read it, but it doesn't sound like I would like it very much. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it. :)ReplyDelete