A Very Special Coming-Of-Age Story: Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

A Very Special Coming-Of-Age Story: Girl Out of Water by Laura SilvermanGirl Out of Water
by Laura Silverman
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 350
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four-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes

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

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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Girl Out of Water was one of those books that I went into without knowing much about it, but the minute I opened it, I was inexplicably drawn to every part of the story. It’s one of those YA books that may seem light and summery (not a bad thing), but also possesses a depth to it that made it memorable. I’m already crowning Girl Out of Water as one of the top debut novels of 2017.

I hate author comparisons, but as I was reading Silverman’s novel, I kept thinking about how much this book would appeal to Morgan Matson, Jenn Bennett and Sarah Dessen fans. And I really think it would. Laura Silverman pays just as much attention to her characters and their character development as these author wonderful authors do. I seriously loved all the characters here. Anise and I didn’t have a lot in common in terms of interests, but I bonded with her because of how multi-layered her character was. Her deep love for surfing, her kind soul and her shades of vulnerability truly made her an exceptional protagonist. When her dad decides to uproot her to the middle of nowhere, Nebraska, for her last summer break to take care of her recovering aunt, she is undeniably frustrated. This is a girl with a bond with the ocean as deep as Moana’s, and a girl who lives to be around her friends, so she is completely thrown off balance at this turn of events. We see Anise’s frustrations with the situation come out quite a bit through her actions and thoughts in the book, but I also love how she never let her family feel like they were a burden to her. She takes care of her cousins, and she grows up a lot throughout Girl Out of Water – she especially learns to deal with her mom leaving her dad and her.

Girl Out of Water also has a strong focus on the family dynamics. Firstly, there was Anise’s relationship with her father. It’s so beautifully written, and I fell head over heels in love with this father-daughter duo. They don’t always see eye-to-eye, but there was an openness to their relationship and it was one that was built on trust. They were each other’s moral support, and damn if that didn’t make me want to tear up a time or two. Then, there was Anise’s relationship with her cousins. Her mischievous twin cousins, were specially a highlight of the story. They were raucous little trouble-makers, but they pushed Anise to try new things. The pureness of their love for Anise was just too cute for words. Anise has a different relationship with her other cousin, Emery, mostly because Emery is dealing with teenage angst, but you see Anise stand as a role-model to her and helping her become better.

Friendship was another element explored in Girl Out of Water. I very much related to the conversations about long-distance friendships and how hard they can be to maintain. I saw a lot of my own mistakes in Anise’s ones, so it hit very close to home, because I’ve lost many friendships because of my inability to maintain them long-distance. Unlike me though, Anise realized her faults, and by the end makes amends in repairing her relationships. There was also a pretty fantastic romance in Girl Out of Water. Though Anise had a potential beau back in California, I wasn’t completely sold on him. The minute Lincoln entered the scene though, I was entirely too obsessed with this charming dimpled one-armed boy. He was a smooth-talking, teasing and kind-hearted boy with a bright personality, who truly pushed Anise to be a better version of herself. Their relationship was very much slow-burn, but with plenty of swoony kisses along the way. I need an age-appropriate Lincoln for myself.

I know that there are plenty of YA contemporary novels about family, love and growing up out there, but please, please, please give Girl Out of Water a chance. This book was just special in many ways, and it’s only Laura Silverman’s debut. Read it and join me in my fangirling over this story!

Have you read Girl Out of Water yet? What are some of your favorite coming-of-age stories?
Let me know in the comments below!

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Nick
  • Angel @Angel Reads

    I need this one in my hands right now! I don’t think it’s got a Aus pub, but It’s been around our shops. Might have to do some looking. Thanks for the review.

    • Ooh that’s awesome that you can find it there!

  • This was already on my radar but it sounds really lovely. Love a book with focus on family and friendships and of course romance πŸ™‚ Great review!

    • I can’t wait for you to read it.

  • I need to read this book asap! I’ve been trying to find YA books that focus more on family and this sounds perfect. And the romance doesn’t hurt either xD Great review, Nick!

    • Yes this is the perfect book for you, Tiffany!

  • Love the setting..tehehe. This is a great summer read and I the focus on families and friendship is delightful.

    • It took me a minute there to understand why lol!

  • kindlemom1

    I do love Sarah Dessen so I’ll have to keep this in mind. For some reason this genre isn’t working for me right now but I know I’ll get back to it after a break. πŸ˜‰

    • If you get back to it, I definitely recommend it.

  • I have heard so much about this book. It looks like a great summer read! Thanks for sharing your great review.

    • It is the perfect summer read!

  • YA contemporary novels about family, love and growing up are always a welcome on my tbr shelf! This sounds so sweet and heartfelt Nick. Glad you enjoyed this one. πŸ™‚

    • Mine too! πŸ™‚

  • I have a bunch of favorite coming of age stories but for the life of me I can’t think of the titles right now. I love coming of age stories and you’ve completely sold me on this one. Thanks for the review (as always) Nick. I love discovering new authors and books through you. This is going on my wish list.

    • Yay! So happy to hear that Rowena. Hope you enjoy it.

  • You know I’m a huge fan of Jenn Bennett. So while I’m really tempted. I also dislike comparing authors but sometimes, that’s the only and best way to describe what you’ve just read. Sold. Sold, Sold. πŸ˜€

    • Yeah I hate comparing too, but this is one I actually didn’t feel too guilty about sharing.

  • Another glowing review for this one. Everyone keeps reading and loving this one. I really need to get a copy. The cover totally speaks to me, plus I love the focus on friends and family.

    • It’s really good, Heidi.

  • You had me at Sarah Dessen πŸ™‚ We were a military family for any years and long distance relationships/friendships are indeed hard to maintain. I have a copy of this one and I hope to read it soon Nick.

    • I hope you love it, Liza!

  • A Novel Glimpse

    I’m happy to see you liked this one! I’ve been hearing great things about it, except that someone told me Anise was really annoying. Did you find that or did you like her?

  • OMG! I’m so happy you loved it! It’s one of my favorite contempt of the year. I know some think that the main character is annoying a bit. Not that I think she was annoying. However, I think, that that is part of a coming of age storyline, no? I love coming to the end of a story and just love how all the characters have grown and become amazing.
    Great review, Nick. xoxo

    • Honestly, people are way too hard on YA girls. Yeah so what if she had her annoying moments. We ALL were annoying at that age. And yes this is a story of growth after all.

  • SO GREAT TO HEAR YOU ENJOYED THIS! I loved this so so much too because the idea was so unique and it was well written and super addictive (i read it in a day – oops!) and I am so excited for others to read it soon too! Thanks for the lovely review Nick!

    xx Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

    • Thanks, Anisha. So glad you loved it too!

  • Ari

    Glad to hear you enjoyed this debut as well, Nick! I originally had no intention of reading this book and then I saw it being pitched to Dessen fans and I requested it so fast. I flew through this book and loved it. And YES to finding an age-appropriate Lincoln because he is absolute perfection! Lovely review, Nick!

    • I didn’t know you were a Dessen fan Ari, but yes I can see her fans enjoying this one. πŸ™‚

  • Greg Hill

    I just read this one and I agree w/ your thoughts. Anise was an awesome character and I also liked how she never made her grandmother/ cousins feel bad even though she REALLY didn’t want to be there. And her relationship with her dad was awesome. I had a few problems with the pacing but otherwise this was good. Also, I didn’t realize this was Silverman’s debut! For some reason I thought she had written other things.

    • I’m glad to hear that Greg. Yeah, that’s one thing I liked about it. She could have been bitchy, but she wasn’t. Nope this is her debut. Impressive right?

  • You already sold me on this book when you mentioned Lincoln’s swoony book boyfriend qualities. The fact that this book also has a strong focus on family dynamics and friendships is making this a priority read for me in the near future. I don’t know what it is but I always love it when I come across a character that surfs. I can’t surf for the life of me but there’s something about the sport and the connection with the ocean that always grabs me.

    • I can’t wait for you to read this one, Lois. And I agree. I love surfers in books.

  • I was sold as soon as you mentioned it in your Sunday post but this review just convinces me that it’s one I need to get around to buying. It sounds like a totally fabulous book and i love that it’s about family with a good romance to go with. It’s like that is my perfect mix for YA books. I am now making grabby hands and trying to figure out if I can justify buying it.

    • I can see you enjoying this one, Becky. I highly recommend it.