Aussie young adult debut supercharged with raw Down Under slang but feelingful and witty.
Seventeen-year-old surfer Matt “Owl” Owen has overdone it and come down with arthritic foot bones that are fusing together. To Owl’s relief, he can be helped—this doc’s a legend. Meanwhile, Owl’s best buddy and guru Drewe Churchill, absolute magic as a surfer, has been banging Layla too much and got her preggers. Drewe is, well—“I don’t even feel like a surf—how’s that for tragic—and it looks pretty sweet out there.” Then his legendary sister Hayley, 15, thinks she can get around the olds and go to Stink Ryan’s eighteenth—want to take me, asks she? That luscious tart the Hayl has come onto virgin Owl! He stands there hammered but affecting Joe Cool: after all, Owl has hair, clothes, mates, attitude, although he’s self-described as a social spastic. “To outward appearances you could almost mistake me for normal.” But Drewe warns him what a major bitch and monstrous maneater Hayl is: she tosses young men’s bones aside after she’s sucked them dry and they bore her. “The water’s warm. The air sweet. The babes are beautiful . . . And now this.” Even in the mad bright rolling blissful landscape of the surf, he can’t shake it. Then walking on the beach, gorgeous Emy Greene, a quiet babe, not full of mad babble, comes onto him, wants him to kiss her, is cool about him taking Hayley to Stink’s blast. Meanwhile, art student Drewe laments, “I’ve got some sort of wonder dick that can shoot holes in the pill.” The party that night turns really tragic. First Hayl dumps Owl for leader of the pack Lew Castor, who captains the water polo team and drives a throbbing Porsche, and then comes a druggy auto accident and Owl faces the meaninglessness of life.
Life is a wave, mate, a brief blur of beauty.