This debut about a surfer girl delves into hidden child abuse and scores with strong characterizations.
Seventeen-year old Grace Parker loves to surf and hang out with her best friend, Ford, who coaches her in their favorite sport. Grace yearns to win a surfing scholarship to her local school, the University of California at San Diego, but feels trapped by her parents, who push her toward the Ivy League. Her father works as a high-powered immigration attorney, the field Ford, who’s half Mexican, hopes to enter. Ford lands an internship in Mr. Parker’s office, thereby placing his future in the man’s hands. Unbeknownst to Ford, though, Parker for many years has been bursting into sudden violence and hitting Grace, a fact denied even by Grace’s stylish mom. Meanwhile, Grace and Ford each battle a strong attraction to the other, knowing that the Parkers will never approve of a romantic relationship between the two. Readers know a clash will occur, but what choices will both Grace and Ford have to make? Scheibe alternates chapters between Grace and Ford, writing each in first person. The emotions of both teens come across as realistic, and the difficulties they encounter ring true as well. The author clearly knows the surfing culture, with its lingo (there’s a glossary for those who don’t) and its lingering chauvinism, and she balances the suspense in both her subplots well.
Solid. (Fiction. 12 & up)