A group of middle-aged friends and one rebellious teenager set sail in the Caribbean on a trip to rekindle high-school friendships, but find their lives at stake when things go horribly wrong.
Mitchard (Cage of Stars, 2006, etc.) crams plenty of melodrama and angst into this tale of four old friends who plan an adventure on a plush sailboat at the suggestion of Olivia, the widow of a wealthy Italian. When one of the friends can't make it, Tracy brings her gorgeous 19-year-old daughter, Cammie, in her place. Cammie, who fights constantly with her mother, is foul-mouthed, yet beautiful, as she tries to overcome a recent failed love affair. Tracy's friend Holly, a cheerful nurse and former cheerleader, rounds out the foursome. They soon set sail under star-brilliant Caribbean skies in a luxurious sailboat piloted by down-to-earth Lenny, whose much-younger wife has given him a small child and is expecting their second. His handsome right-hand man, Michel, rounds out the crew. But it doesn’t take long before Cammie and Michel find themselves attracted (she is beautiful, as Mitchard relentlessly says), much to Olivia's displeasure. Soon follow a series of mishaps that leave the four women stranded alone on the large ship with no idea of their location, nor any means to call for help. They weather illness, food and water shortages, the hot, unrelenting sun and man-made terror in their struggle to survive. Mitchard's characters communicate in long, tedious backstory written in clunky prose, and she dubs one major character “the young man” without giving him a name, although every other character in the book, no matter how minor, has one. The women also ignore obvious opportunities to escape their fate in favor of stacking the plot with twists readers will see coming from oceans away.
A good beach read if the reader can overlook ponderous plotting and the desire to slap a couple of the characters silly.