Girl Out of Water made some noise, back in late 2016, around the bookish community. First for stupid reasons I’m not going to mention here, because this has nothing to do with the book (if you want to know more, head over to Goodreads and you’ll understand). Second, for a couple of raving reviews by bookish friends starting to pile up in my feed, making me want to add it to my TBR. Boy. I’m glad I did. It took me some time, but Girl Out of Water was a book I did not see coming. It was gorgeous with both its characters, its life-lessons and overall warmed my heart in every way.
FROM CALIFORNIA TO NEBRASKA – FROM HOME TO NEW PLACES…
“‘That first day I met you at the park, it was so obvious that you were out of place.’ He shoots me a goofy grin. “A literal fish out of water.’”
Life really begins outside of your comfort zone and sometimes, you do need to step out of everything that’s familiar, to really know who you are and who you could be. This book screams that out on every page and it’s a beautiful lesson. Anise, used to spending all her days and summer in sunny California, finds herself off to Nebraska to help taking care of her aunt after a car accident, as well as her young cousins. From not knowing where she ended up with, from the nostalgia of missing out on her friends, her whole life, back in California, Anise changes and grows to discover, enjoy a whole new life, surrounded by new people and everything else.
A VERY CHARACTER-DRIVEN STORY YOU SHOULD LOVE
“This summer took away my surfboard. I’m not going to let it take away my confidence too.”
The shining stars in this book are without a doubt the characters. Girl Out of Water is a very character-driven book and, boy, Laura Silverman manages to make her characters grow and shape them so well, I’m impressed this is her first novel. I can only hope to do as great as her someday. Anise, the main character and narrator of the story, was very three-dimensional and overall, so, human. Passionate about surfing, caring, kind, determined and very competitive, we follow her as she goes through a spectrum of emotions, trying to cope with her sudden change of life for a summer. Anger, disappointment, the feeling of being left out and forgotten – so many feelings you can get when you’re away from home. Everything about Anise screamed real. From the beginning, from her conflicted feelings about leaving, to her change of heart and her love for her family, her growth overall during the story is both so real and accurate, I loved it. Also, I’m sorry but I have to mention, that girl can eat and LOVES TO EAT and I love food?? SO this book = 100% me. Except I can’t surf nor skate.
In addition to the multiple issues with Anise, away from home, dealing with reminders of her forever-gone mom; we are getting in Girl Out of Water an amazing cast of side-characters. Anise’s group of friends back home in California are pretty awesome, even if we don’t spend too much time with them – in so little pages, the author manages to draw us the ties between them and how important their friendship is to Anise.
AMAZING FAMILY VIBES & ROMANCE
“Home isn’t a place. It’s people. And I’ve always been with my people.”
When it comes to family, though…well, we get even more. I’m a huge lover of families in contemporaries, present and accounted for. Even if Girl Out of Water suffered from the “one parent” syndrome, something that happens tons in contemporaries, I couldn’t really be mad here, because the relationship between Anise and her father was everything I expected it to be, and more. It was an open, supportive relationship, a teensy bit awkward at times, as it should be. Overall, it was fabulous. Since Anise is taking care of her nine-years old twin cousins and her thirteen-years-old cousin, we also can see some great growth in their relationship, as it’s obvious that Anise cares and loves them more and more as their relationship tightens over the summer. I just LOVED the family vibes here.
In a contemporary like that, there was a little romance. From friends to more than that, the relationship between Lincoln and Anise grows just at the right pace. Laura Silverman shaped here the perfect love interest (for me): caring, challenging, overall just letting Anise be herself and shining a light on what she really thinks and really wants. Also, Lincoln has one amputated arm, but that story wasn’t about his disability. The focus wasn’t on that at all. It just showed that Lincoln was an amazing guy overall and that his disability did not define him in any way.
Home isn’t always where you think it is. In fact, home isn’t a place. Home are people, the ones you meet, the one you fall in love with, the ones you come back to no matter what. This, and so many other sentences and parts of the book, from leaving your comfort zone to trying out new things…Girl Out Of Water is definitely more than just a sweet contemporary. Strong family vibes, thoughts about growing up and finding your right place, amazing relationships and more. I can hardly believe this is a debut and consider me a fan of the author already. Also, read this book now.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Laura Silverman, Girl Out of Water, Published by Sourcebook Fire, May 2nd, 2017.
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?
Did you read Girl Out of Water, or do you want to read it?
What are some books you read about characters traveling, moving out of their comfort zone? I’d love some recommendations if you have some. Or just adorable contemporaries…you know me. I LOVE THESE.