To be published by Quercus on 5th June 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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Surfing is sixteen-year-old Iris's world, and when the ultra-talented Zeke walks into her life, it soon becomes her passion.**I won this book through Goodreads First Reads.**
Over one amazing summer, as she is drawn into his sphere, she experiences love, new friendships, but also loss, with an intensity she never dreamed of.
But is Zeke all he seems? What hides beneath his glamorous and mysterious past? When Iris decides to try for her own surfing success, just as her ex-boyfriend comes back into her life, she will test her talent, and her feelings for Zeke, to the limit...
I'm sad to say that this book and I just lacked book chemistry.
I'm sad because as I was reading, I kept thinking, "I should be really enjoying this! Why do I just feel kind of meh about it?" I still can't really understand why, but I think sometimes it's really just down to the simple thing of book chemistry.
I entered the giveaway for this book because I like trying new things. I thought, "Oh look, surfing! I know nothing about that! I'm sure this will be interesting." And I think I've now concluded that surfing just isn't my thing. The main characters in this book all love surfing, and everything in this book pretty much revolves around surfing, and while it was nice to learn about something that I literally knew nothing about before, I found that in the end I just couldn't get myself to care about this supposedly thrilling sport that Iris and Zeke are both so passionate about. And that meant I found it hard to connect to them as characters too, and I couldn't summon much enthusiasm for the storyline either, in which we follow Iris as she tries to become a pro-surfer.
And Zeke! I know I'm meant to be swooning over Zeke. He's a pro-surfer, he's super fit, he's practically naked in the latest issue of Cosmo Girl, and all the girls swoon over him. But he's just not my type! I think what Blue made me realise is that I should really just stick to YA novels about awkward, nerdy guys. Due to the fact that Zeke did not have the swoony factor for me, I just couldn't get into the romance between Zeke and Iris.
But really, there are so many likeable things about this book! First of all, it's funny. I laughed out loud quite a few times. I love how strong the voices in contemporary UKYA tend to be, and this was no exception. I loved Iris' voice! I loved the strong sense of place the book had, anchored in Newquay and its beautiful beaches.
I liked Iris. I know I said I just don't get surfing, and I never will, but I still managed to like Iris as a character. I liked how the book explored the sexism in surf culture and the surf industry through Iris' eyes; this made me really happy, and I honestly think it's great that we got a book about a girl who wants to become a pro-surfer. Oh, and I adored the strong friendship Iris shared with her best friend, Kelly! They were so supportive of each other and comfortable with each other, and I just loved Kelly's personality.
Iris is shown in this novel to be still trying to figure out how she feels about her ex, Daniel, and at first it seems like she's not completely over him yet. Daniel was given a sympathetic backstory, but I just wasn't very sure about his portrayal overall in this book. It just felt really weird; he kept fading in and out of the story abruptly and I never felt like his storyline was fully resolved. I felt like I really cared about him despite some of his terrible actions in this book; in fact I think I cared about him more than I did any of the other characters, which I really don't think is what the author intended, but it's what happened nevertheless. I don't think his actions are forgivable, but it seems to me implied that he's suffering from some kind of mental illness, and I really feel like he needs more help than he got in this book.
I think that was definitely my least favourite aspect of this novel. Just how unfinished everything that happened with Daniel seems to be. On the other hand, there was another side plot that I really enjoyed, with one of Zeke's brothers, who is gay but closeted. I really appreciated the inclusion of such a character and I felt like that side plot was realistically and sympathetically explored.
Then there's Saskia, a posh girl who seems really close to Zeke, and Iris immediately doesn't like her. Her first impressions do change though, eventually. I really liked what the book did with Saskia, but I really wish there was even more of that! I think that was one of the best parts of the book, how the way Iris felt about Saskia changed over time. I honestly do think they would make great friends, even if Iris doesn't seem to think so now.
There will be a sequel to this book, but I'm not entirely sure whether I will check it out. One surfing book, in the end, is probably quite enough for me.