Kennedy’s (Double Take, 2014, etc.) latest novel expands on the Double Take universe with the return of Brooke and the Surf Shop Sisters for a tumultuous teenaged tale of deceit, growth, and love.
The story opens with a dilemma for the Surf Shop girls. Homecoming is fast approaching, and to help Maria, who desperately wants to attend with her parentally disapproved older boyfriend before he ships off to Army training, Brooke hatches a plan that involves the Sisters pretending they’ll go to the dance together. When informed of the change in homecoming plans, Brooke’s boyfriend, Tyler, is pissed and immediately breaks up with her over the inconvenience. In fact, Tyler’s surly, drama-king demeanor makes it difficult to root for a potential reunion between the two. The narrative moves along at a quick clip, and suddenly, it’s homecoming. While such rapid pacing keeps the narrative from dragging, many characters are left underdeveloped, and interactions and dialogue between them sometimes come across as rushed. When Brooke’s plan ultimately fails, Brooke and Maria are grounded for thwarting the wishes of Maria’s parents. However, despite the previous trouble, Maria asks the Sisters for one more favor: help Maria meet her boyfriend in a hotel before he leaves for training. This second favor turns into Brooke’s nightmare. While helping Maria, a robbery happens at the surf shop where the Sisters work, and some of the stolen merchandise turns up in Brooke’s car. To protect Maria, Brooke is unable to provide herself with an alibi and thus becomes the theft’s primary suspect. It leaves Brooke reeling, uncertain of her next move, but determined to clear her name. As a narrator, Brooke is chatty and relatable, and while a bit self-centered, she generally has good intentions. The Sisters’ vibrant conversations are the highlights of the book; their realistic teenaged girl talk easily draws the reader into their friendship as the fast-paced story unfolds.
Dizzying YA that would benefit from more character development.