I received this book for free from Publisher at ALA Midwinter in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Publisher at ALA Midwinter
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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.
Girl Out of Water left me dreaming of summer days and reminiscing over fun times at the beach with my friends in high school (well, the lake not ocean). The book had a really strong beginning that left me excited every time I picked up the book. We meet Anise whose whole life revolves around the beach life. She has big plans for spending every moment she can this summer in the water and being with her group of friends before they are split up with a few ready to move on to college and the navy at the end of summer. Her big plans also include exploring her growing crush on her longtime friend, Eric. But when she is forced out of California to help her aunt and cousins in Nebraska for the summer, her whole world is turned upside down.
I really connected with Anise, even through her faults. I loved her passion for her home and surfing. And when she was thrust out of that life, and even though she had moments of selfishness and sadness typical for a teenager in this situation, for the most part she really pushed all those feelings aside and stepped up for her family when they needed her. I LOVED her relationship with her father. And I loved her interactions with her cousins and how integral she became in their lives. They really needed someone to look out for them with their mother’s absence during recovery and Anise was exactly what they all needed.
What originally started on a dare helped Anise discover that there was more to be passionate about than just surfing and she finds a love in skateboarding with the help of Lincoln. Okay, so Lincoln was pretty amazing. He knew just when Anise needed a little push and he was so attentive and extremely sweet. I was really worried how this romance would go since things were so unresolved with Eric before she left California. It wasn’t really a love triangle but Anise was struggling with her lack of communication big time. Nebraska brought up a lot of unresolved feelings she had been pushing aside about her flighty mother and sort of let those fester, ignoring her past life and everyone in it. And I think this is really where Anise needed the most growth. She shut out her friends because she didn’t know how to handle her hurt and jealously about their summer that she was no longer a part of and the longer she went without communication the more she felt like she was becoming her mother. She was a very complex character with so much confidence and strength yet with so much vulnerability and doubt. I truly enjoyed the personal journey she took as she discovered the person she wanted to be.
With such a strong beginning that immediately captured my attention, the middle felt a little slow at times with an end that came up on me fast. I think I wanted just a tad more at the end from Anise and the plot than what was given, more resolution. Nevertheless, this was a fantastic read that would be a perfect beach read in the summer!