Publisher : Sourcebooks Fire
Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary
Page Count: 320
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
*I received an Arc of this book from the author and publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
This book made me SO HAPPY? I can’t even form coherent thoughts right now because my brain is taken up by all the feels. Seriously, it is such a quiet beautiful book that I’m sure everyone would love. So I’d encourage you to run and pre-order it right now *waits for you to come back* Now that you have done that we can go one with the rest of the review. Oh, what made my reading experience all the more awesome is reading the book with my best friend Sara @ Freadom Library which made it our first -of many- buddy-read. And don’t ask, I don’t know what took us so long.
The writing is both exquisite and very simple. It also feels personal, very unique to Anise -the MC-‘s voice. It naturally is written from her POV, she has a very honest and spontaneous voice that reminded me of myself. I actually saw a lot of me in her, and that alone has made Anise a huge win for me.
This is the story of how Anise was taken away from what she expected to be the summer of her life, from everything she knew and loved to help her aunt take care of her home and kids after she was in a bad accident. And how she adjusted to all the changes in her life and how she dealt with them. Which made this a very character driven story with a lot of growth, family and friendship.
Anise’s mom is absent, she comes and goes like the wind, has never been and never will be a pilar in her life and I loved how that was kept that way until the end, there was no reunion, no closure, no understanding her mom’s behavior. She was just this presence -or rather absence- that affected Anise’s life more than she liked to admit. Because of her absence, Anise is very much afraid of being like her so she doesn’t like leaving home, not to go to her aunt’s, not to go to college, not ever. She’s so afraid of abandoning the people who matter to her that that’s exactly what she ends up doing to her friends back home.
As you may have gathered, Anise is a very flawed character, which made her all the more loveable. She’s a very well written, three-dimensional character with strengths and weaknesses. She’s very caring and sweet. What I particularly loved about her is how responsible and mature she was about the whole situation. She wasn’t resentful, she understood why she had to do what she had to do even though she was really disappointed which showed in the writing, but never in the way she behaved around her dad, her aunt, or any of her cousins, her conversations with them were warm and natural. One thing that’s hilarious about her (and that annoyed Sara while I was enjoying it immensely) is how big of a sore loser she was. THAT IS SO ME! I hate losing and I behave the exact same way she does when that happens.
The character development she went through was remarkable. Through her time away from home, she realized that change wasn’t such a bad thing and that home wouldn’t disappear just because she leaves for a few months because her people will always be there when she gets back and that rings so true. Slowly but surely, she frees herself from her mom’s hold and is able to see things differently.
This book has a big focus on family and I loved how close and genuine the family bonds were. I adored how open and honest her relationship with her father was, he was everything to her from a dad to a bestfriend and that’s amazing to read about. Her aunt -her mom’s sister- was as close to a real mother figure as she could ever have, she loves her like her own children and that love is reciprocated. Her little cousins are the definition of adorable, the twins so sweet and endearing but what I liked more is how she behaved with her cousin, Emery. She was like a big sister to her and did everything to make her comfortable and get her to trust her and see her as a friend.
Her group of friends back home, although only physically in the book in the beginning and the very end of the book played a big part in it, through Anise’s descriptions and thought process, I felt like I knew them as much as if they were there. Their little group is so tight-knitted that it felt really realistic. I loved Tessa -her bestfriend-‘s strong personality and how she called her out on her shitty behavior during her time away.
Last but not least, LINCOLN. That beautiful boy is one giant dimple (I’m not obsessed, what are you talking about?). He’s so charismatic and precious, he also does everything to make Anise comfortable while pulling her away from her comfort zone. I loved him, he has a very laidback, go with the flow type of personality and he’s also very teasy. Through their romance, the author was able to picture the bitter-sweetness of a summer fling perfectly, they were so good for each other and their chemistry was effortless.
Although the ending felt a bit rushed and like it didn’t have all the attention I thought it deserved, I really loved the open ending tying some loose ends while leaving room for questions, like what’s next for Lincoln and Anise? What is she going to decide for college? etc…. That also makes me secretly hope for a companion novella or book. Shhh. Let a girl dream.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Girl our of Water? If so, what did you think?
What did you think of Anise’s character? Did you love the romance as much as I did?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.