Like Moonlight at Low Tide, by Nicole Quigley.
Here's some information about the book:
In LIKE MOONLIGHT AT LOW TIDE, Missy returns to her hometown of Anna Maria Island, Florida, where she was once referred to as the ugliest girl in school. After spending three years in Pennsylvania, unbeknownst to herself, Missy has blossomed. It takes the romantic attention of her childhood crush for her to realize that she’s not the “Messy” Keiser who used to be greeted by barks in her middle school hallway.
Finally catching a glimpse into the alluring world of high school popularity and parties she never dreamed of attending, Missy becomes entangled with three boys who will change her life: handsome and confident jock Sam King; her elusive neighbor, Josh, who has a quiet confidence and unwavering faith; and her rebellious brother, Robby, who struggles between obtaining the life he wants and settling for the life others expect him to have.
With everyone noticing the new Missy, her skewed self-perception slowly begins to heal in a raw and honest story about what happens after the bullying stops.
Quigley reflects, “You can’t read the papers these days without seeing stories about school-age bullying, but not many people talk about what happens afterward. How do you ever feel right after being told you’re all wrong for so long?”
Set in her hometown, Quigley captures the ethereal essence of Anna Maria Island, a barrier island off the Gulf coast of Florida, where skim boarding and pool hopping are the activities of choice and the temperature hovers mostly around eighty degrees.
With magnetic prose that reads like poetry, LIKE MOONLIGHT AT LOW TIDE is an emotional page-turner that will be sure to hook lovers of YA fiction from page one through to the climactic close.
“I think this book will resonate with a wide range of readers,”Quigley adds, “because everyone has experienced some form of bullying and reacted to it for better or worse, whether they realized it or not.”
Overall consensus - it was a book with a powerful message, one I think needs to be heard by today's average teen. I was impressed with how the book brought everything around to the point where the main character, Missy, finally decided to trust her life to God and make the right choice. :) It was very real and believable.
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this book to any of my blog readers younger than 16 because of some of the characters and situations portrayed in the book, and references to drugs and alcohol. :( I thought it was handled with great tact, and although I didn't enjoy reading those parts of the book, I think the rest of the story and writing voice made up for it.
What I loved:
I loved the setting, first off. I used to live in southern Florida, although it wasn't on an island like Anna Maria. The scenery and details and 'feel' of the book are SPOT ON... Which must come from the author having grown up there. (Write what you know, people, it works!) :D The way the author wrote this book was masterful, and something I appreciated as a fellow writer. The scents and sounds and expressions and colors all feel like you're watching a movie play in your head. I was completely immersed in the book while reading this story, which I do not often feel. Well done, Ms. Quigley!
I loved the characters. While some of the people in the book were not very 'savory' people, everyone in the book just jumped off the page and came to life. I felt like I knew them. I could picture the kid's faces and stances.
*slight spoiler alert* - I loved Josh Durham, the boy-next-door. He was so great. I loved the way he acted Christlike without being preachy or pushy in the least, and the way he cared for Missy in a selfless manner after a tragedy struck her life, and showed her a better way, and what faith means. Really, what's not to love about a guy who leaves a flower on your windowsill every day? ;)
Also... I could really relate to Missy in the area of the kids around her. I was looked down on and left out a lot when I was a young teen, although the kids I was 'friends' with were Christians, so it wasn't as mean and outright name-calling as the secular public-school kids in this book were. It was interesting to see what happened to Missy when she came back to her school after being gone for a few years and was suddenly treated better because she was 'cute' now and had grown up.
What I didn't like:
I did not like some of the scenes in this book involving the school kids - a third of the way through the book I was thinking "okay, if this gets any worse, I'm putting it down" - but it never quite got to that point, and while Missy was in some potentially 'dangerous' situations, it turned out all right.
I think this book would be a great outreach tool for the average secular teen, and help kids who have been struggling with rejection. I don't think it would be as good of a read for the average sheltered young homeschooler.
I am looking forward to Nicole Quigley's future books, because her writing was amazing. Though I didn't like some of her story's setting, I would be very interested in reading another book by her and savoring the crisp, immersing voice of her writing. :)
I hope you enjoyed this review!
I was provided a free review copy of this book by Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my own thoughts on the story.