One teenager’s summer idyll: beer, partying, pot, food, and flirtation with girls.
Shipped off from Eugene, Oregon, to stay with small-beach-town relatives while his alcoholic mom recovers from her latest stint in rehab, 17-year-old Nick soon finds himself hanging out with the locals, including his cousin Emily’s circle. Among the latter is Jace, who turns out, despite a botched kiss and a few other amusing (to readers, anyway) fumbles, to be easy to talk to and be with: a comfy, obvious soul mate. But it’s mysterious, intoxicating Phoebe, glamorously taciturn and distant, who comes to fill Nick’s field of vision, spark weeks of obsession, and, finally, casually, take him to bed (“creating,” as he rapturously puts it, “this vortex of incredible bliss”). There are few explicit details, but along with detailing snacks and fistfights, Nick frankly describes both his previous (limited) love life and some steamy snogging as he carries his account to summer’s end. Both Jace and Phoebe and, come to that, Nick’s toxic mom and the rest of the apparently all-white cast, are cardboard standees, but Nick carries the tale, being such a clearheaded, fundamentally decent sort that he’s never in any danger of taking or inflicting any serious harm.
A frothy bit of envelope pushing. (Fiction. 14-17)