I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I’ve thought maybe my mother drowned in both.
Anna’s life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It’s bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.
While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna’s mother’s death- stays buried forever.
Wow, this book is gorgeous! Everything about it, the lush imagery, the pretty sentences that took my breath away and kept making me stop reading just to savor them, the emotions so palpable they swirled off the page. And of course, the rich characters I cared about dearly by the end of the book.
I felt Anna’s grief over the loss of her mother, even though it happened years before the story starts. Still, I kept turning pages, wanting answers to the same questions about the mystery of her mother’s death. I loved the way that information gets revealed throughout the book in clever ways I didn’t expect: tours through abandoned houses, characters from her mother’s past that hold information, books, past memories, even mermaid mythology. (And I seriously loved reading the mermaid folklore in this book!)
But it wasn’t just the unanswered questions that drove this story, it was the strong relationships that Anna builds throughout. Perhaps my favorite character was Ashley, a local rich girl who befriends Anna before school begins. Ashley’s a character that steals every scene she’s in. I loved how their friendship grew over the course of the book, starting out surface-level, a friendship of convenience, but strengthening as the story progressed. I also enjoyed the way Anna’s rivalry with a cross-country star changed throughout the book.
Of course, I can’t talk about the relationships without mentioning Tyler, the lifeguard–aka Anna’s dad’s employee–that Anna falls for. And oh, I fell for him too. Tyler was a refreshing love interest for me. He was cocky, yet still likable. Completely real. I loved all the scenes they shared together–specifically the ones that took place in the water.
Even Anna’s dad was a memorable character–and I usually don’t care about parents in YA, so that’s saying something!
I think my favorite thing about this book was that everything has a purpose, and it all comes together so beautifully. There are a few things mentioned in passing early in the story–characters or scenery Anna sees in the background–and those things turn out to have huge significance. Some of them brought me to tears.
I wanted to hug this book when I finished! I loved it!
Check out what the rest of the Bookanistas are reading this week:
Don’t forget to stop by Myra McEntire’s blog for more awesome info on our first Bookanistas Give Back project
And, as for the rest of the Bookanistas…
Elana Johnson thrills over The Third
Christine Fonseca takes a shine to Demonglass
Shelli Johannes-Wells scribes about The Story Board
Shana Silver is rapturous about Moonglass
Carrie Harris revels in Divergent
Rosemary Clement-Moore adores Enclave
Stasia Ward Kehoe has Perfect cover love
Veronica Rossi enthuses over Enclave
Megan Miranda travels the pages of Blood Red Road