A movie-obsessed teen moves to her dad’s beach town and unexpectedly falls for an edgy surfer rather than the “film-buff soul mate” she was expecting to meet.
The summer before senior year, 17-year-old Bailey Rydell moves from D.C. to her father’s small beach town on the Central California coast. The one perk of moving is that “Alex,” her favorite chat-mate on a classic-film fan forum, lives there too, and she plans to surprise him—not that they know one another’s real names (she goes by “Mink” online). Her first day working at a mansion-cum-museum, introverted Bailey, a white girl who sports platinum-blonde Lana Turner pin curls, meets Porter Roth, a “ridiculously good-looking” but cocky 18-year-old security guard from a legendary local surfing family. Porter, who’s Hapa (half Polynesian/Chinese, half white), has a unique way of exasperating Bailey. As she futilely attempts to find Alex via chat-transcript clues, readers will figure out his identity long before she does. There’s definitely a The Shop Around the Corner buildup to the romantic chemistry, but in addition to their charming banter and online-quiz exchanges, Bailey and Porter also tackle substantive issues such as anxiety, PTSD, drug abuse, cheating, and sexual experience. Bennett creates an authentically multicultural ensemble, from Bailey’s Nigerian-by-way-of-London new bestie, Grace, to her dad’s Mexican-American girlfriend and Porter’s references to Hawaiian cultural beliefs.
An irresistible tribute to classic screwball-comedy romances that captures the “delicious whirling, twirling, buzzing” of falling in love. (Fiction. 14-18)