This story really touched me. I couldn't put this book down, and I was carried along by the emotional power and the psychological insight into a young woman's life.
This book is worthwhile reading for any teenage girl who can relate to Melissa's story. If you've experienced something similar, the honesty and beauty in this story may even sow seeds of healing. And grown up women should read this book too, because as women we have all shared Melissa's concerns and asked her questions.
Melissa is growing up on the tourist haven Anna Maria Island in Florida... a place where the loveliness seems almost ironic at times to Melissa. How could there be so much trouble in her family, so much sadness, when they live in near-paradise? And how is a high school girl supposed to carry her mother's burdens, encourage her older brother, and nurture her younger sister all by herself... and still navigate the deep waters of romantic relationships, bullies, and friends?
It actually startled me how attached I was to the characters by the end, and how the specifics of the tragedy were completely unexpected by me.
This may be a book about a teen girl and it may include her boyfriend problems, but this is not a fluffy book. It's a book about what happens when someone breaks your heart, when someone dies and leaves you, when your life isn't carefree.
Thank you Booksneeze for my review copy. I will be looking for more books by Nicole Quigley.
When high school junior Melissa Keiser returns to her hometown of Anna Maria Island, Florida, she has one goal: hide from the bullies who had convinced her she was the ugliest girl in school. But when she is caught sneaking into a neighbor's pool at night, everything changes. Something is different now that Melissa is sixteen, and the guys and popular girls who once made her life miserable have taken notice. When Melissa gets the chance to escape life in a house ruled by her mom's latest boyfriend, she must choose where her loyalties lie between a long-time crush, a new friend, and her surfer brother who makes it impossible to forget her roots. Just as Melissa seems to achieve everything she ever wanted, she loses a loved one to suicide. Melissa must not only grieve for her loss, she must find the truth about the three boys who loved her and discover that joy sometimes comes from the most unexpected place of all.
This was a really depressing story. That said, I found it to be very interesting as well. Maybe I'm too old for stories like this, but I found it to be rather profound and deep for YA fiction. This is just how high school is for some teenagers, how bullying affects the victims, and all I can say about Quigley's writing is WOW.
You can feel the pain in the writing. You can feel how every mistake that is made affects Melissa's life, and how she responds to that hurt. I got sucked into Josh and Melissa's stories right away, and I loved the characterization of Melissa's family and friends. I felt as if I knew the characters from somewhere, and they all felt like family. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, despite the dark feel of it. Not everything needs to be "happily ever after," and for this, I thank the author from the bottom of my heart. A dose of reality that every young person needs to read.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 3 for Like Moonlight at Low Tide
Carol Award winner!
Date:September 23, 2013
The writing is awesome and the characters grow on you. I keep wondering what she is doing today . . . Even though I'm way past that age. (I bought it for my granddaughter and read it first.) This book just won the Carol Award for best young adult book published in 2012, so that says it all. For any teen dealing with the mess we call high school this is a must-read.
When Melissa moves back to her hometown on Anna Maria Island, Florida, her only hope is that the bullies who teased her for being ugly will have forgotten her. And while a few people remember, most don’t care. Melissa isn’t the same little girl and people notice, including the most popular guy in the school, the guy she used to have a huge crush on. Just when Melissa thinks she’s getting everything she always wanted, things start to go way wrong.
Here’s a book that sucked me in. I liked Melissa right away. She was authentic and engaging. The story begins with the foreshadowing of a suicide, then moves along at a quick pace, leaving the reader wondering which boy died. The characters were amazing. The story deals with topics such as a dysfunctional mother, alcohol, drug abuse, bullying, and suicide. This is a story filled with heartache, passion, and hope. I’m looking forward to more books by this author.
"How could any one person make a decision that is so permanent, that could never be undone?" In Nicole Quigley's debut novel, "Like Moonlight at Low Tide", main character Melissa Keiser asks herself this question. Missy returns to her birthplace after a two-year absence. Two years marked by remembering the humiliation and horror of constant bullying she endured from her classmates. But two years makes a difference, especially when you are in high school, and she returns to a new-found popularity tha she learns comes with a price of its own.
Writing in a raw, honest, sometimes brooding voice, Quigley doesn't gloss over the reality of growing up in a dysfunctional family, of the scars of bullying, or of the pain left by suicide. Deep, and sometimes heavy, "Like Moonlight at Low Tide" is a dramatic story with romatic elements.
Quigley expertly portrays the difficulties in growing up in a broken home and with a parent who has as many hang-ups as the children she is trying to raise. The baggage left behind by an absent father, the struggle for acceptance, the battle to fit in while standin out as an individual, all come to life in the pages of this book. Setting elements become active characters in the story. For example, the water provides both peace and freedom for Missy while simultaneously holding her captive on the island. The island is a metaphor for how alone she feels, cut off, and separated from the life she desperately wants to live.
The book is not a light, feel-good teenage read. It deals with hard-hitting theological questions such as providence, forgiveness, and not being good enough for God. It also tackles tough teenage issues which might be better suited for older teens readers. Female readers are more likely to identify with the viewpoint character of Missy, but the issues in the story are universal to teenagers, regardless of gender.
This young adult fiction shows the heartache of trying to fit in, and trying to feel normal. It demonstrates the lengths teens often will go to in order to feel love and acceptance and the devastation of when they face rejection. It vividly portrays the cruelty often exhibited to those “invisible” teenagers who are not in the popular group. The book was well-written, the scenery helped you feel the island and the characters were realistic. Well done as a debut novel.
This book is a wonderful read that tapped into my imagination. I could see events play out in my mind's eye. I could feel everything the main character, Melissa, was going through. This book begged for my attention in such a way, that I couldn't put it down!
Ms. Quigley's characters were realistic, relatable, and well rounded. I enjoyed watching Missy and Josh's friendship grow and develop. There were also some moments I could relate with Missy, which made me appreciate the book more.
Another reason I'm so attached to this book is because it's set in Florida, which is where I grew up. Though, I didn't grow up on Anna Maria Island I did grow up near Tampa Bay. I moved away recently from my hometown, and this book gave me a happy at-home feeling that I've missed.
I'd like to note that to make this realistic, Ms. Quigley discussed some teens drinking, including the main character. There was also talk of drugs and overdosing. Nothing is explicit, but some things are implied. I don't disagree with Ms. Quigley's decision to include these things in her novel, because without them the story would seem too fake.
Right now, this book stands as one of my favorites. I highly recommend it to any teen girl.
I received this book from DJC Communications in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done.
I wasn't sure what to expect in this book, but as a sucker for all teen drama/coming of age books, I knew this was one I had to read! It did not disappoint. I absolutely loved every minute of it; I could not put it down!