Girl out of Water
by Laura Silverman
read in May 2018 (Buzzword Readathon)
rating: ★★★ ½
This is a spoiler-free review!
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?
I am so sad I didn’t love this as much as my friends did. I love reading Young Adult contemporaries, but not every single one is my cup of tea. Girl out of Water is one of those books that just didn’t do it for me.
It’s definitely a case of “it’s me, not you” though. I couldn’t connect with Anise: she love sports (surfing in particular), has a large friend group and loves to do adventurous things. That’s completely fine, but I personally can’t relate to that, AT ALL.
I actually don’t need to relate to a character to love a book, but because some situations were so unfamiliar, I became a bit uncomfortable. Call me a prude, but I for instance don’t like it when teenage characters drink and do drugs. I also couldn’t relate to how fast Lincoln and Anise became close. I guess some of their interactions were supposed to be cute, but I even found it creepy at times (e.g. when he told her she couldn’t run of without telling him because he was worried).
That said, Girl out of Water is certainly not a bad book and I will pick up Laura’s next book. I liked the family dynamics and Lincoln (who is a disabled POC) was an endearing love interest.
content and trigger warnings for underage drinking, recreational drug use, kissing (M/F), language that excludes Native Americans (‘natives’ is used when referring to ‘residents’)
I would recommend Girl out of Water to readers who are looking for the perfect YA contemporary to read on a warm summer’s day. Though I didn’t fall in love with this novel, I will read You Asked for Perfect, which is set to be released in 2019.
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