Girl Out of Water – Laura Silverman – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 2 May 2017
Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.
Girl Out Of Water is an easy YA contemporary novel about an unexpected summer, family commitments, new relationships, and hanging onto old friendships.
For Anise, surfing is everything, so her summer plans consist of surfing, spending time with her friends surfing, attending the Surf Break festival, and more surfing. So, when her dad informs her that they will be spending the entire summer in Nebraska caring for her cousins as her aunt recuperates from a serious car accident, she is more than a little upset. But the summer ends up being not so bad as she reconnects with her cousins, meets a new guy, learns to skateboard, and finally has a chance to learn a little more about her long-absent mother.
Anise loves the ocean, and you can see why with the way in which the author describes it. The freedom of the sea, the thrill of riding waves, and the connection that it brings to her friends. For Anise, everything pretty much revolves around surfing. Although I did find a few inconsistent details – you actually have to paddle to catch the wave rather than just wait for it to pick you up – the author captures the scenes of Anise’s life well.
The focus of this story, aside from the romance and surfing, is really Anise’s relationship with her mother. It is through learning a little more about her mother’s childhood and examining her own relationships through the summer that Anise comes to somewhat of an acceptance about their relationship. I had hoped this would be explored further, but it works where the author left it – after all, sometimes life isn’t completely tied up in a pretty bow.
To be honest, the majority of this book dragged. Not a lot happens and I wasn’t all that interested in Anise’s endless worrying about her ruined summer plans and how she might be forgotten by her friends. There were also a lot of detour explanations and backstory woven into the story that distracted me from the flow of the book.
The thing that really shakes up Anise’s summer is Lincoln. They connect over dares (who is the best skateboarder), games (competitions in the grocery store), and mini adventures, along with a road trip and sharing stories about their families. One thing that I absolutely loved was the way in which Lincoln’s disability was discussed. It’s not a big deal, it’s just a part of him, and while Anise at first stumbles around the topic a little, otherwise it doesn’t play a huge role. It’s just one little thing that makes up who he is but doesn’t define him. I love that. And it’s sad that I even need to mention that in my review. We need more books and characters like that.
Girl Out Of water is a fun contemporary romance, perfectly suited for summer reading.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Family, absent parents, beach, surfing, summer, skateboarding, relationships, friendship, romance.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Very frequent coarse language, f*** (62), sh** (48), assh*** (16). Sexual references. Drug references.
Published: 2 May 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire.
Format: Paperback, ebook, audiobook. 320 pages.