April 18, 2011

Book Review: Starfish Sisters by J. C. Burke

At First Sight: Three weeks at surfing camp are about the change the lives of four very different girls. 

First there is Georgie, a natural surfer who's starting to feel the pressure of being great at something. Georgie's best friend Kia most of the time hears only the bad and lets it get to her. Micki is another natural talent who can't wait to see if she's good enough to break away from the things that are tying her down. And lastly, there is Ace, the girl who seems to have everything together but really doesn't.

They get stuck together in the Starfish Cabin and form an uneasy bond as they get to know each other and start to show the cracks in the lives, the ones that let you see what's really going on inside. 

As the days go by, they start to connect and let the preconceptions of each other fall away, they laugh and they bicker and are there for each other and fight like sisters do, because that's what the become, in the end.

Second Glance: I loved Starfish Sisters. There is some seriously real heart and soul to this story because for me Georgie, Ace, Micki and Kia felt so real from the moment I started to read their story. What's more, I felt like I had been each one of the girls at one point or another and it felt so powerful to me. 

The story is told by the four girls in alternating chapters - going from Georgie to Kia to Micki to Ace, over and over - and I think that was genius as I really got to know each of them and I could see how everything intertwined. I loved Georgie and Micki right off the bat, but Ace and Kia took a little more warming to. 

Also, I loved how the camp - those three weeks- became such a pivotal moment in these four girls' lives. The camp wasn't the catalyst, they didn't get there and everything changed, it was more of a meeting point where the four of them collided in such a way that made all the problems they were carrying around come to head at that particular time, both because of each other and because it just was time - J.C. Burke did a great job of summarizing what had taken the girls to where they were at the beginning of camp in just the first chapter (or two) that each of the girls narrated.

Another thing I love, is that I so got the story even though I know nothing about surfing - other than what I've picked up watching Blue Crush and Baywatch - because it was written in such a way that it could have been any sport or competitive situation, though I admit I loved the descriptions of the waves and the sea and surf, even if half the time I had no clue what the surf moves were.

Bottom Line: Starfish Sisters is a book that left me aching but happy, it's another of those books that linger and I can't wait to read the sequel, Ocean Pearl. Can't recommend it enough, and it's definitely going into my favorite reads of the year list.

Favorite Quote: "I loved the ocean. I loved how every day it was different. And in a strange way, I loved the fact you couldn't control it, that made it seem like real magic." - Georgie
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Alex

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