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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
I’ve been trying to get back into contemporary YA and since my last book with this genre wasn’t impressive, I was really hoping Girl Out of Water would be the kind of book I was looking for. A few pages in and I knew this book and I would get along well. The fact that Anise actually cussed like most normal teenage girls was actually really refreshing and made me like the MC more. Sure, maybe Anise cusses more than the average teenager, but I loved that her dad cared more about what kind of person she was rather than if she uses words like fuck or shit. It really set the tone to what kind of relationship they have and what kind of person Anise was and I liked both.
Anise has the perfect life. She plans to spend her summer days in Santa Cruz surfing, hanging out with friends and hopefully having her crush with her friend develop into something more. When her aunt in Nebraska gets in a serious car accident, Anise and her dad move to help her aunt and her kids. Understandably, Anise is upset about the news and although it does make her come off as bratty, I understood from her perspective. Teenagers have different priorities than adults and instead of seeing this as a chance to help her aunt and maybe bond with her cousins, she can’t help but feel like this will ruin her summer and maybe her friendships.
To complicate things more, Anise is living in her absentee mother’s childhood home which makes Anise feel things she’s not ready. As much as Anise would like to think that having her mother randomly come in and out of her life she since was little hasn’t affected her, the truth is that it affects her more than she realizes. Luckily, soon Anise starts enjoying spending time with her cousin and maybe being in Nebraska isn’t so bad, Especially when Lincoln shows up in the picture and teaches her how to skateboard. The more time she spends with Lincoln, developing feelings for him, the more her friendships with her friends back home starts to suffer until Anise doesn’t know what she wants anymore and suddenly she starts questioning if she’s just like her mother, only caring about herself and abandoning everyone else.
I really liked Girl Out Of Water. It felt like the perfect mix of everything I look for in a YA Contemporary. There was a really cute romance, great family aspect, good friends and just the right mix of emotional drama to give it substance. I really loved how things weren’t watered down for YA and Anise was allowed to be herself, even if she did cuss like a sailor and drank and smoked and did other normal stupid things teenagers sometimes do. This is my first book by this author but I will definitely be keeping an eye out on more books by her in the future.
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