A naïve girl hopes for a boyfriend and gets more than she bargained for on her family’s monthlong beach vacation.
Forrest’s popular brother, Brian, attracts girls with ease, and the 16-year-old doesn’t understand why she doesn’t have the same way with boys. She knows enough to hide the fact that she reads Faulkner for fun, but boys just don’t notice her. Alas, Brian has attracted Olivia, the bane of Forrest’s existence. When Forrest learns that Olivia will accompany them on their family vacation and worse, even sleep in the same room with her, she objects. However, she quickly learns that Olivia can be a rather cool person, and the two become friends. When Forrest meets good-looking Scott, he immediately turns Forrest’s head, even though the more experienced Olivia warns her that Scott sounds like a player. As the summer progresses, and secrets pour out, Forrest learns more about her family than she could have guessed, and she finds strength with them when Scott goes too far. Deriso has a knack for families, filling them with flawed people who maintain their bonds with love. Characterizations come across as realistic and nuanced, and the depiction of a sexual assault later in the story is both sensitive and informative.
It may not be the easiest vacation Forrest will ever go on, but readers will be glad they shared it with her. (Fiction. 12-18)