My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Disability, Contemporary Romance, Family
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
What happens when you’re forced to leave home?
Anise loves California. She loves her friends. She loves surfing. Nothing could be better. But one day her aunt has a car accident. Consequently, Anise’s father wants them to spend the summer in Nebraska to take care of her cousins.
This is a very moral story, I dare say. Anise really isn’t enchanted by the idea of leaving her home—and especially surfing—behind, but her cousins lost their mom and you take care of family, right? Anise’s interactions with her cousins are either entertaining or moving. She can connect to them, because she too knows what it’s like to be without a mom.
Her aunt did not die, but she needs to recover from her injuries, so she must stay in the hospital for most of the summer. The family dynamics are wonderful. Anise is like a guardian to her cousins, watching them and making sure they don’t get hurt.
But this doesn’t change the fact that she misses home which, unlike her MIA mother, she never left before. Anise is a fully-developed character. She is authentically flawed and has dept. She isn’t your pretty little vapid Barbie girl. She questions and she ponders. This is why I find the story so moral: many subjects are brought up and discussed in length.
I did not like the continual cursing—in fact I’m annoyed at how many contemporary books, even YA, include cursing—but oh well, it’s part of Anise’s personality. Aside from that, it’s a little slow. Otherwise, it’s fairly well done.
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