A charming coming-of-age tale set in the Florida Keys.
Sixteen-year-old Piper Wesley has one passion in life: fishing. Unlike most other girls in her small beach town of Islamorada, Piper isn’t interested in flirting, shopping or makeup. Perpetually clad in shorts and a tank top, she’d like nothing more than to spend every day on the water, searching for bonefish or helping her dad run sport-fishing trips for tourists (whose numbers have dwindled following a recent oil spill.) This summer, Piper’s one ambition is to enter—and win—the Scramble, a major fishing competition that comes with a $25,000 grand prize. The money, and the recognition, will help her family’s struggling business survive. To succeed, this young fisherwoman needs the help of her best friend, Benny. The two have been training for months, honing their technique and scoping out the best fishing spots. But now Benny is too smitten with his new girlfriend, Marina, to be of much help when it comes to preparing for the big contest. Fortunately, there’s a new guy on the scene, Logan, a recent arrival from Michigan. While Logan’s knowledge of fishing is nearly nonexistent, he manages to snag Piper with his good looks and nice-guy charm. When Benny bails on his commitment to help with the Scramble, Logan takes his place. The young couple suffers a few predictable teenage misunderstandings as they prepare for the tournament, where they’ll go head-to-head with last year’s winner, Wyatt Jacoby, a world-famous fisherman with his own show on the Expedition Channel. Bardenwerper understands her teenage characters, infusing them with a characteristic combination of moodiness, recklessness and stubbornness. The novel’s romantic plot intertwines nicely with the story of a young woman struggling to grow up and define herself, and by book’s end, Piper has emerged as a smart, self-aware teen with a bright future ahead of her. Many readers will be eager to see where her next adventure leads.
A sweet, engaging story that neatly sidesteps YA clichés.