Girl Out of Water

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Anise is a surfer girl in her heart and soul. She  has lived by the ocean for as long as she can remember, and her favorite activity with her friends is surfing and swimming all day long. She ends her junior year of high school and plans to spend the rest of her summer out on the beach with her friends, some of whom are seniors and will be leaving after the summer ends. Anise even wants to start a real relationship with her best friend Eric. Everything should be perfect.

Her aunt from Nebraska gets into a car accident, and her husband has died from unnamed causes several years before, so Anise and her dad need to go to Nebraska to help take care of the Aunt’s three kids. Anise worries about leaving, not only because she will be missing most of her last summer with her friends that are leaving for college, but also because her mom sent a postcard saying that she would be coming home sometime during the summer. Her mom has been absent, traveling from place to place for no reason throughout most of Anise’s life, and so it would be strange for her to come home willingly and possibly for a time longer than a couple of weeks. But she knows that her cousins need caring for and her aunt needs all the help she can get, so she just leaves a message for her mom the night before she leaves. Her friends try to spend one last night of surfing and hanging out by the campfire, but when she kisses Eric it sinks in that she will really be leaving them for the rest of the summer.

Anise arrives in Nebraska the next day and goes to see her cousins. Her younger 13 year old cousin Emery who has been taking care of her twin brothers mostly for the few days that her mother has been in the hospital is relieved but still emotionally unstable because she is afraid she will lose another parent. The boys aren’t in the same state, but they still need someone to look after them. Anise is glad that she is able to come and help them through this, and even learn more about her mom in the house that she grew up in. When she takes Emery and the boys to a skate park, she meets a one armed boy named Lincoln who asks her to trade her surfboard for a skateboard while she is in landlocked Nebraska.

I honestly loved this book. I loved Anise. Her father only had to remind her once even before she got to their cousin’s house to not complain in front of her aunts and cousins about her missed summer. She never made them feel like a burden, she never complained and whined about them ruining her summer, she handled the situation like a mature almost-adult would and just took everything in stride. In her mind she may have been wondering about what her friends were doing at the time, and if they would eventually just go on with their summer without her, but to her cousins she was perfectly happy to be there. Rather refreshing for a book about a teen girl who moves or has her plans literally disrupted in any way.

I didn’t enjoy the ending as much as I thought I would. I felt that after the book had taken me on quite an interesting and unique ride that it was strange for it to stop as it had. However, it didn’t make me regret reading the book, I would still do it again if I owned it. The competitive surfing vs. skateboarding relationship between Lincoln and Anise never seemed to be bitter or hurtful throughout any of the book, and I liked how quickly he talked to her and accepted her even when she had literally just arrived in the town. This book was just a complete breath of fresh air for me and I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it yet!

Overall Rating: 4/5

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