Mazza’s debut novel rips through the near future with a story that's part bildungsroman and part sci-fi surf lit, powered by the megawatt voice of Mafuri Long, a spritely surfer babe from Generation Z whose epic wave crests through this tale.
Mafuri is an Olympic surf hopeful. Her claim to fame, gone viral on social media, is the 80-foot wave she shredded on a midocean break. Her current team, Team Google, featuring the brassy Gigi and the passive Ana, is girl-powering its way through a Bondi Beach training session that has the women's closest competitor—Aussie surfer Kimberly Masters—shaking in her pink Porsche. Mafuri should be on top of the world, or at least the wave, but her father, retired naval commander J. Xavier Long, is spiraling into a depression kicked off by the scheduled demolition of his old carrier, the USS Hillary Rodham Clinton; her love life is lovelorn at best; and a false doping allegation puts her Olympic hopes on a collision course with a big, bad, unpredictable act of God. As Mafuri navigates a plot rife with high-intensity verbs—the sun "punches," waves "snatch," cars "roar" and "bite" and "rip"—the abiding themes of her isolation, loneliness, and search for identity beyond her girl-surfer alter ego advance at a more sedate pace. At times repetitive and slow to develop, the novel is at its best when it chronicles the adrenaline thrill of fast waves and fast cars, the niche language of surfer culture, and the neon-bright beauty of the natural world.
A sensitive chronicle of a character who's part Gidget and part Soul Surfer redux, Mazza's novel relies on the vim, vigor, and total fun of its narrator's voice to pull the reader past rough spots that might otherwise harsh the novel’s buzz.