Teen romance ebbs and flows in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Like its predecessors, New Jersey novelist Doktorski (Famous Last Words, 2013, etc.) sets her third teen romance “down the shore,” this time in storm-ravaged Seaside Park. As locals and seasonal residents rebuild their homes and lives in the spring following the storm, 16-year-old local Lucy Giordano and her family look forward to returning to the comfort of a normal Jersey summer. But relationship challenges await Lucy: Andrew, her best friend since childhood, wants to turn their platonic friendship into something more; meanwhile, Lucy flashes back to the hours before Sandy struck, when she and Connor Malloy, the dreamboat part-time resident next door, got together. When Connor doesn’t call as promised in the storm’s aftermath, brokenhearted Lucy moves on, beginning to explore the depth of her feelings for Andrew and slowly getting back into the routine of school, volunteering, and her summer job. But then Connor and his family return, and Lucy finds herself awash with conflict: pursue the handsome, irresistible summer boy, who seems to be a player, or settle for the easy familiarity of being with Andrew, whom her family adores. Doktorski’s intricate plot and intriguing character development smartly weave together revealing post-Sandy communal dynamics alongside the intimate fireworks and trappings of first love for Lucy.
A thoughtful tale of forgiveness, growth, and the importance of learning to adapt to changes large and small. (Historical fiction. 14-18)