“I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both.”
Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.
While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.
This book felt reminiscent of waves crashing on the shore. On some level, it’s quiet and relaxing, but on others it’s harsh and unpredictable. Anna’s life has the same kind of ups and downs that the beach can have, and it made the story quite compelling.
The tone was that of a quiet book, and it had some pretty deep concepts in it: loss, guilt, avoidance, mental illness, etc. I thought the characters dealt with these emotions in realistic and believable ways, and, as a result, I liked them. I especially liked the relationship between Anna and her dad. This felt more real than anything else in the story. Anna’s dad is a good father, and his character as a grown up fits well with who he was as a kid.
I wasn't so fond of Tyler, though. He kind of treated her like a high school girl after a college boy in the beginning. It gave me the impression that he thinks he's ‘all that,’ even though later on he shows us he’s not that way. But I never grew to like him, even when he got nicer in the end.
I really liked Ash and Jillian. They’re good friends to Anna. I would have liked to see a bit more bonding with Jillian since they have experienced similar loss. I also would have preferred that Anna treated Ash a little better, seeing as Ash went out of her way to make Anna feel at home in several ways. Ash is kind of more than Anna deserves.
Still, this is a good story that deals with some difficult issues in a very good way. The beach descriptions were vivid and interesting, and I was wishing I was actually on the beach while reading this book. :) There is one scene with drinking and a couple kissing scenes, but even those are quite PG. So, the content is good for younger teens as well as older ones.