Thursday, August 25, 2011
Simon and Schuster's BFYR, 2011
I picked this up after reading several mixed/positive reviews, including mentioning that it was a great summer read and that there were similarities to Sarah Dessen's writing, an author I adore. And there was some validity to that.
Most of the book is set on a beach and while school technically starts, I didn't get a strong feeling of that setting. It's the beach and the ocean that dominates the world here. And certain sections did bring to mind Sarah Dessen; heck, she even blurbed the book! But it didn't feel as polished or as emotional as a Dessen. That makes sense because this is a debut. I bet as Kirby writes more, I will end up finding the emotion I get from Dessen. But as it was, I found this rather lackluster.
There's not much to the story. Anna and her father have just returned to the beach where her parents met. Her mother committed suicide when Anna was young and Anna and her father never discuss anything. But being back at that beach starts to bring up some feelings and memories. Additionally there's new school stuff and a cute boy.
I actually really loved the first person Anna meets: Ashley, a rich, slightly ditzy, and super sweet girl who soon becomes Anna's biggest cheerleader and supporter. The cute boy, Tyler, is all right; nothing especially swoony but he's not a big jerk so there's that.
I just felt overall that there wasn't much driving the plot; it meandered with no surprises because I was able to predict what was coming. I also didn't feel emotionally connected to Anna, which would have increased my enjoyment of the book. I can see why it makes a good summer read: first, all of the talk of beaches makes you want to go to the beach and second, it would be nice for a lazy afternoon where you feel very relaxed.
Overall: Nothing new in contemporary YA lit but a nice ride.
Read for YA Debut Author Challenge.