by Ellen Hagan
First sentence: “‘Grab your board,’ Isa shouts, throwing open the screen door letting sunshine and cool breeze into our living room.”
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Review copy pilfered from the ARC shelves at work
Content: There is mention of teenage drinking and some intense moments with a natural disaster. It’s in the Teen section (grades 9+) of the bookstore.
Eliza’s life hasn’t been the same in the five years since the hurricane hit her island off the Jersey shore. Sure, her family’s still living there, still scraping by, but the island itself has changed. Developers have come in, and bought up houses, knocked them down, in the name of progress. The latest example? They want to build out the marshland. And Eliza – and her friends – don’t want to lose that much of their island.
It also doesn’t help that a new boy – Milo – is from New York City, is one of those rich summer-only island visitors and that Eliza seems to be falling for him.
This one had all the elements I like: it’s about the ocean and island living! It’s got a strong female character! It’s a novel in verse! There’s a strong environmental message! But it fell completely flat. Not so flat that I didn’t finish it, but flat enough that I found myself skimming the chapters, just enough to get the information. I wanted to like this one so much more than I actually did. Not sure where it went wrong: Eliza is a good character and Hagan does a good job of showing the trauma after a natural disaster (though she did amp up the stakes by almost killing Eliza’s brother in the storm), but I just didn’t connect with it.