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Estelle: Riptide by Lindsey Scheibe

Riptide by Lindsey ScheibeRiptide by Lindsey Scheibe ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: May 1, 2013
Publisher: Flux
Pages: 288
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: surfing, college, best friends, family secrets, immigration
Format read: ARC on NetGalley via Publisher. (Thanks!)

Summary: Ford and Grace are best friends, but best friends who aren’t so secretly in love with each other. While Ford makes moves, Grace pushes him away. She can only focus on one thing this summer: winning the surfing competition to hopefully ensure her admittance to the college of her choice. In the meantime, Ford trades his wet suit for a suit suit at his law internship at Grace’s dad’s firm. His focus? Make a difference with immigration reform.

This is the second time in a row that a vibrant book cover oozing with the feel of summer ended up taking on a much more serious tone than I imagined.

Riptide is told from the alternating perspectives of Ford and Grace, two best friends/surfing buddies, who are so in love with each other but for various reasons cannot get it together. Ford is all for being upfront with his feelings, but Grace’s avoidance makes him question if she likes him like that at all. Of course, we know that she does and the foundation for some mega-tension between the two is set.

But this is more than a romance. Grace has many secrets at home, and her trust for people is pretty non-existant. Her parents pile on the pressure for her to go to an Ivy League school and her mom is constantly worried about appearances. (There’s a certain irony in that detail.) Since forever, Grace’s main escape and passion has been hitting the waves. She’s pretty damn good at it too, and would rather pass up her Ivy League chances to stay close by and be part of an awesome college surf team.

When Ford signs her up for a big-time competition, Grace hones in all her energy (or as much as she can) into succeeding and hopefully finding the courage to stand up to her parents about what she really wants. In the meantime, Ford is embracing his own future by interning at Grace’s dad’s law firm and hoping to learn more about immigration return, after an unfortunate incident that hit close to home.

Scheibe does a great job of injecting diversity into this cast of characters from Ford’s new friends at work to the Spanish frequently spoken at his home. I never see this enough in the young adult genre, and it’s always refreshing when it pops up in my reading.

Unfortunately, at some point, Riptide becomes more of Grace’s story (for good reason) and we lose a lot of Ford’s perspective, weakening the second half of the book considerably. His story was worth fleshing out too, and I wish more balance had been achieved. His friends were intriguing and so were his ambitions. As the book went on, I continued to question whether the book as a whole would have been stronger if Grace had been the only voice we had been introduced to.

Even as the book winds down, despite real change coming to all the characters, everything was sewn up a bit too perfectly for me. Too much emphasis was placed on how surfing related to real life, and, while yeah, that makes a ton of sense… I don’t think the reader needed it spelt out quite the way that it was.

While Scheibe did bring a rare family dynamic to the forefront and forced Grace to make necessary but tough choices, a fair amount of tweaking and buffing up the thinner plotlines would have made Riptide a more impactful, well-rounded story. Rather Be Reading Skip It Icon

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May 3, 2013 - 11:24 am

May 2013 Young Adult Book Releases - […] | Amazon | Estelle’s Review […]

April 18, 2013 - 10:15 pm

elena - this DOES seem like a bright & happy book but from your review, it is not that. misleading!! i like that there’s diversity in this book but i’m sorry it fell flat from your expectations. i hope your next read is better xo

April 18, 2013 - 12:26 pm

Alexa Y. - I read this one shortly after you did, and I too found it to be a bit lacking. While there were certain interesting elements (the surfing! the immigration thing!), the other stuff fell flat for me. Plus, it felt like too much was going on. (But I would still read a book from Ford’s perspective, lol!)

April 18, 2013 - 11:20 am

Rachel - I was wondering about this one. I’m sad you didn’t like it because it sounds like something I’d like, but I know our contemporary tastes are nearly identical so I trust you on this one. That’s so strange how the one storyline just…disappears. I mean, that doesn’t make much sense to me at all.

April 18, 2013 - 8:54 am

Christina (A Reader of Fictions) - It’s really weird that this starts out with two strong perspectives and drops one. Especially if that one was more interesting. Unless one of the people died, there’s no reason to cut off their narrative. That makes no sense at all!

April 17, 2013 - 5:07 pm

Tara - Based on the cover alone, I would think this was a light and fun summer read. Obviously it’s much heavier than that, and I appreciate your honesty with the second half of the book. If you say skip it, consider it skipped in my book 🙂

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