My Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.6 / 5 stars
Despite this being a debut novel, some of you may feel like you’ve been hearing this title for months before it was actually released. This is because during last year’s election, this book found itself getting a lot of media attention, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. Silverman made anti-Trump remarks on Twitter and then was attacked by Neo-Nazis in retaliation, both on Twitter and Goodreads. They took to the book’s Goodreads page, before the book had sent out any review copies, and flooded the page with fake 1 star reviews. Some simply rated the book 1 star. Others took it a step further and wrote reviews claiming the book was full of bigotry. Before the book even had a chance at success, internet trolls were going to tank it. Fortunately, the book loving community is pretty kick-ass and countered the negative reviews with just as many, if not more, five star reviews. What Silverman went through, simply for stating her political beliefs, is atrocious and I was so happy to see people work together to try and save her book. With all that being said, this does mean the average rating on Goodreads is pretty skewed. What I would suggest doing is reading the most recent reviews to get a better idea of the book from people who have actually read it.
Girl Out of Water follows Anise, Californian surfer girl, during a summer she is forced to spend land-locked. Anise has never left California and never wants to. Why would she when the beach is literally her backyard? However, her aunt gets in a car accident and Anise and her father must travel to Nebraska to help take care of her three children for the summer. She spends the summer in the childhood home of the mother who abandoned her, learning what family really means to her.
I love the family dynamic. I loved how quickly Anise bonded with her cousins and took on a maternal and nurturing role, rather than resenting them for the situation. I enjoyed watching her come to terms with the kind of person her mother is and growing because of it. But my favorite family dynamic was Anise and her father. Often in YA parents are totally absent. In this book, Anise and her father are extremely close. She respects and appreciates him and he does the same for her. It was a very healthy representation of an ideal teen-parent relationship.
The romance story line felt believable, and the love interest was probably my favorite character. They meet at the skate park because he knows her cousins. They start out as acquaintances, grow into friends, and eventually fall for each other. The progression felt natural and never forced. It was easy to see why she would fall for him. He challenges her, pushes her outside her comfort zone at times, but is also incredibly kind, both to her and her younger cousins. Once their relationship becomes less platonic, and more romantic, they didn’t immediately fall into the throes of passion. It felt like a new relationship – awkward, unsure, but fun. There’s also no assumption made that he is her soulmate and they will be together forever. I hate that almost all YA books try to treat the first boyfriend as the one and only. It’s unrealistic. Instead, this book leaves you with the sense that it will probably just be a summer romance and that’s just fine.
The story and writing are pretty generic. There’s nothing AMAZING about this book that will make me think about it months from now. The writing was fine. The plot ok. The characters nice. There just isn’t anything that special, and therefore that memorable, about this book. I know that sounds harsh. I enjoyed this book and I think lots of people will. I personally think I may have just been too old for this book. Even though the protagonist is 17, it reads a bit young at times. In high school I probably would have enjoyed this ten times more.
This is a cute, summery book. It’s a quick read you could probably fly through on one beach day.