A diamond in the rough that, pared down, could be a glittering gem.
Amy Fields is a privileged 17-year-old who has had a dose of tragedy—her mother’s suicide—to which she reacts with blame and shame. The blame is for her remaining parent, her father; the shame is for her inability to see her mother’s suicide coming. Forced by her father and stepmother to accompany them on a round-the-world cruise in her father’s posh yacht, she is at first withdrawn and surly. Then, in the Gulf of Aden, Somali pirates capture the yacht, and Amy begins to experience a bit of life outside the bubble as she and her family are held hostage. As the tale unfolds, assumptions about right and wrong, First World and Third World crumble under Amy’s (and readers’) growing awareness. Things are complicated further when Amy falls in love with one of the pirates and he with her. Printz winner (In Darkness, 2012) Lake’s writing is often breathtakingly illuminating, but there is too much of it. Three metaphors are used when one will do, as the rambling first-person narration seemingly disgorges Amy’s every thought and forces readers to do their own filtering.
Readers will most likely forgive the lack of narrative control, however, as they become caught up in the layered nuances of this original story. (Fiction. 14 & up)