I just finished Waves, by Sharon Dogar. This is a heartbreaking, sensuous novel. Set on a beach in England during the summer, we follow Hal, a 15 year old boy, as he slowly joins the group of youth who endlessly hang out on the beach, meets a beautiful charming girl named Jackie, gets annoyed by his little sister Sarz, and all the other things a teen at the beach for the summer might do. On the other hand, his home life is dark and lonely; his older sister Charley, who he used to be so close to, isn't here this year. Instead, she is left behind at the hospital, still in a coma from a mysterious accident that occurred while they were all at the beach last summer. Her presence is everywhere; he thinks he hears her voice, and he is starting to remember things about what happened last summer. He remembers a shadowy presence and wonders who it was. He finds he is driven to find out what happened to Charley.
This novel starts out strong, and ends with a grand finale, but somewhere in the middle it seems to circle around itself, almost relentlessly. This could be interpreted as another manifestation of the ocean metaphor that is used throughout the book, but it did get to be a little much for me. It was intense, and and found myself wanting to get on with the plot a bit faster. However, it was an effective device. I found the descriptions of first love to be accurate and touching. This book would be suitable for young adults of either gender aged 13 and up.
One other interesting tidbit: this book is "endorsed" by Philip Pullman, a successful author whose works I completely love. I'm not really sure what the "endorsed" term means in this context. He says it's good? The Pullman Seal of Approval? I mean, I'm glad Pullman liked the book, and I admit that seeing a quote from him on the cover made me more interested in the book, but I'm a little annoyed by the whole idea of endorsement. Does he read and endorse lots of books? Are they neighbors and somehow she got him to read her book? Are they secret lovers? Who knows!
Published by Chicken House, April 2007
Young Adult, Family relationships, sexuality, mystery