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
Girl out of Water took me a bit by surprise. I don’t normally enjoy contemporary (as much as other genres), but I found myself pleasantly surprised; especially considering the book focused around things I’ve never done (surfing and skateboarding… unless you count that week in second grade) and places I have never been (California and Nebraska).
Anise was the kind of character that I just love. Her world was shaken up, yet she stays strong in a not-to-heroine-but-completely-realistic way that felt very relatable. Her connections with her old friends back in California and her new friend(s) in Nebraska evolve the way they would in real life, which brought a whole new level of realism to the story. Anise’s feelings were genuine and both easy to understand and complex at the same time.
All of the characters, both major and minor, were very well developed. The emotions and plotlines for each of the characters were well thought out and well written. The romance in the book also seemed organic, and definitely swoon worthy!
The story was a little bit slow at times, but still interesting all the same. The ending was good, but I do wish it told a little bit more of what happens in the future… it is a bit open ended in that regard.
Over all I really enjoyed Girl out of Water, and would recommend it to anyone who loves contemporary, want to try contemporary, or someone looking for a feel-good weekend read. I am going to give Girl out of Water four out of five hearts.