Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Diversity
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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
This book, which delves into the life of Anise during the summer between her junior and senior year of high school, was an amazingly refreshing read featuring a main character that goes through incredible character growth, all the while learning what home really means to her. Silverman writes Anise’s teen voice with a gripping tone as we navigate her life, finding out that she has to abandon her summer plans of surfing with her friends – including the ones that are leaving to college – to take care of her cousins after her aunt is injured. Totally not what she expected for the summer.
Spend the summer in Nebraska? I’ve never left California, much less spent weeks away. Why would I, when everything I love – my friends, Dad, the ocean – are all within a half mile of my bedroom? But of course I want to help.
However, she goes without much complaint, showing her responsible mentality. Instead, she sometimes acts out in certain actions, making readers really empathize with her situation because, seriously, I totally get the feeling of having to abandon fun plans for family situations. This causes her to have sometimes prickly reactions to some characters, making her a very straightforward main character who isn’t quite satisfied with how her life is going. And yet despite not spending her summer surfing the waves of California, she finds adventure still.
I loved seeing her interactions with her family, as well as the little nuances of their characters that just add to a realistic characterization, from her grieving yet quietly intelligent teen cousin Emery to her energetic preteen cousins, Nash and Parker, that practically leap off the pages. Anise’s California friends and plans fade away as she finds new friends in Nebraska, including a super adorkable black skateboarder who, despite only having one arm, lives life to the fullest. While Anise first struggles with the change, she starts getting back to her confident self.
This summer took away my surfboard. I’m not going to let it take away my confidence too.
One thing that distresses her, however, is the fact that she might end up like her runaway mother who can’t stay still in one place. Although Anise is super close with her dad, her mother comes to visit once in a while and ends up leaving them, as well as making their hope and expectations leave. Anise is worried that she’ll become like that, which is why it was so safe for her to stay in California all her life. But this trip is making her fears surface, especially as she finds herself distancing from her old friends. The question is – will her friends still accept her after coming back? And what happens when the summer ends, and this adventure finishes?
There’s so much to love about this book other than the realistic and bubbly characters. The setting stretches from the sunny, salty seaside of California to the suburban, gravelly streetsides of Nebraska. We get instances of absolutely delicious-sounding food, learning new sets of skills, an unplanned – but extremely fun – roadtrip, and the overall theme of home and family as we see Anise’s family coming together, and her realizing that home may not necessarily be a place, but the people we have in our hearts.
From a surfer ready to ride the waves with her friends and a possible budding romance to a family member thrust into responsibility for her younger cousins, Anise goes through tremendous growth in Girl Out Of Water. Somewhat prickly at times due to her situation, Anise has to learn to adjust to the suburban babysitting days of Nebraska, in contrast to her planned summer full of fun at the beach. Throughout it all, she finds a newfound appreciation of family, the surprising escape that skateboarding gives, and a growing attraction with Lincoln, a (super smart and swoony) black skateboarder with one arm that helps Anise adjust to the changes in her life. Anise also has to deal with the possibility that she will become like her mother, always prepared to run away for the next “adventure.” But maybe an adventure of her own will show Anise how the concept of home may not necessarily sit at one particular destination.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for the review copy!
I have an INTL giveaway going on at One Way Or An Author for a PB copy of this book, over here!
This book will be out in American book stores for $6.42 USD.