Title: Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen will fall in love this contemporary debut about finding yourself-and finding love-in unexpected places.
Ocean breeze in her hair and sand between her toes, Anise can’t wait to spend the summer before her senior year surfing and hanging out on the beach with friends. Santa Cruz is more than her home-it’s her heart. But when her aunt, a single mother, is in a serious car accident, Anise must say goodbye to California to help care for her three young cousins.
Landlocked Nebraska is the last place Anise wants to be. Sure, she loves her family, but it’s hard to put her past behind her when she’s living in the childhood house of the mother who abandoned her. And with every Instagram post, her friends back home feel further away.
Then she meets Lincoln, a charismatic, one-armed skater who challenges her to swap her surfboard for a skateboard. Because sometimes the only way to find your footing is to let go.
Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman is a fast-paced and engaging contemporary young adult novel.
Santa Cruz native Anise Sawyer is a carefree teen whose days are spent surfing and hanging out with her friends. With summer break just beginning, she, her best guypal;Eric, best gal pal Tess and the rest of their group are eagerly making plans for their last summer together. However, Anise’s life is immediately turned upside down when her Aunt Jackie is involved in a serious car accident leaving her kids in desperate need of someone to care for them as she recovers. Although she always has a good time with her cousins, twelve year old Emery and nine year old twins Parker and Nash, Anise is dismayed by her dad’s plan for the two of them to spend the summer in Nebraska. Feeling sorry for herself as she sees her friends having fun without her back home, Anise is rather overwhelmed taking care of her cousins when she meets Lincoln Puk, a charming, upbeat skateboarder who manages to pull her out of her doldrums and challenges her to try new things.
Anise has a great life with her dad and her friends but she has yet to come to terms with her mother’s abandonment. Her mom drops into Anise’s life on an irregular basis and she disappears just as unexpectedly as she arrives. Luckily for Anise, her dad is incredibly laidback and he not only puts a great deal of trust in her, he is pretty indulgent when it comes to her love of surfing. Although she knows going to Nebraska is the right thing to do, Anise is a little petulant at first about giving up her last summer with her friends before they go their separate ways. It is not until she meets Lincoln that she begins to fully emerge from her self-indulgent funk.
Lincoln’s life is the complete opposite of Anise’s. Due to his mother’s job, his family moves frequently and he is surprisingly adept at starting over and fitting in wherever they end up. Lincoln is one of those people who rolls with the punches and he has an uncanny ability to make the best of whatever situation he finds himself in. Lincoln appeals to Anise’s competitive nature by challenging her to learn how to skateboard and a delightful friendship and budding romance soon follows.
One of the things that makes Girl Out of Water stand out from other young adult novels is the diversity in the cast of characters. Anise’s best friend back home is Samoan and two of their closest friends are a lesbian couple. Lincoln is a person of color who is also an amputee. Each of these characters is well-developed and multi-faceted and refreshingly free from any stereotyping. The world is full of wide range of people from different backgrounds and ethnicity and it is wonderful to see this reflected in works of fiction.
Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman is an entertaining novel with a fantastic cast of characters and an interesting storyline. Anise is a bit of an adrenaline junkie whose fearlessness while in her normal surroundings is surprisingly absent when she is out of her element. Her fears of turning into her mother leave her clinging to familiarity and her summer in Nebraska leads to some very unexpected life lessons. A thought-provoking young adult novel that I recommend to readers of all ages.