Two friends grapple with parental pressures and neglect as they struggle to take control of their lives the summer following graduation.
Maddie and Ivan have lived their whole lives in their coastal Canadian town of Bear Harbour. Though Maddie lives in a warm and loving home with her two dads, Ivan has been stuck with Des, his barely functioning, alcoholic father, since his mother left 10 years before. The two white friends spend their days surfing while Maddie contemplates her future—to attend university to satisfy the expectations of her supportive yet overbearing parents or to find her own way as an artist. Meanwhile, Ivan seems to be stuck in the precarious present; as Des starts to act ever more irresponsibly, Ivan feels obligated to clean up his messes while hiding Des' problems from the community. When Maddie begins to catch on that all is not well in Ivan's home, she is desperate to help him without betraying his trust, and she struggles to understand why Ivan cannot leave Des behind and move on with his life. As related in alternating first-person chapters, the friendship depicted between the two is tender and authentic. A strong, palpable sense of place anchors the story as Maddie and Ivan teeter on the precipice of independence.
Readers will be moved by Maddie and Ivan's deep, enduring friendship. (Fiction. 12-18)