Monday, February 16, 2015

Like Moonlight At Low Tide by Nicole Quigley

like moonlight at low tide Like Moonlight At Low Tide by Nicole Quigley
Released: September 23rd 2012
Read: summer 2012
Publisher: Zondervan
Source: e-ARC from NetGalley (though now I own a hardcover)

Goodreads | Amazon

For Missy Keiser, returning to Anna Maria Island, Florida, means two things: her mother made another poor decision with men, and Missy will have to reenter a world where she’s known as “Messy,” a social pariah who dared to have a crush on Sam King, the most popular boy in school.

But much has changed in the three years she’s been away. Missy’s next-door neighbor is no longer an elderly woman but Josh, an intriguing boy who seems genuinely interested in her. At school, she’s surprised to find few people remember who she once was. And any remaining taunts of Messy are silenced when Sam King gives her his nod of approval.

Just as things seem to be perfect, Josh’s sudden distance, her mother’s latest relationship implosion, and her brother’s strange behavior threaten to ruin it all. Missy is forced to decide between the boy she’s always wanted, a boy who is intent on trying to save her, and the brother she’s known all her life. And her decision could have consequences she can never undo. (from Goodreads)

I suppose the title is as good a place as any to start. Like Moonlight at Low Tide. Personally, I love this title, it's what drew me in initially. Perhaps that's because of my unabashed love for the sea. I'd probably read any book if the title mentioned the sea, heh.

But it was the first couple of pages that really hooked me. I love it when a story is told with the end first. One of my favorite examples is Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Opening with the end, I think, makes the reader ask "how will this happen?" rather than "what will happen?" which brings to life what a reading experience is supposed to be about! If we only care about what happens in the end, then we risk missing out on the journey. I know I've fallen prey to that - skimming madly through a book because I'm made to feel too anxious about what happens in the end. That's not what a book is about, especially not this one. This book is a journey, and we are meant to experience every step. It was brilliant of Nicole Quigley to write those first two pages the way she did. After that, I was hooked onto every word she wrote.

I'm not sure if I would classify this as a coming of age story, though Missy's age would put it into that category by default. First and foremost, I think this is a coming of hope and faith story, an awareness story. To anyone who hasn't been in Missy's position, she would seem like a very weak protagonist. She is insecure, broken in so many ways, not sure of anything, and constantly assuming that everything is her fault. Personally, I got her, because I've been in the same position. That only made me want to root for her even more because she's a real character. No, she's not the strong female lead that everyone seems obsessed with these days (not to say that some of those characters aren't just as real), but Missy is a character who reaches through the pages to those of us who aren't as gifted in the kick-ass department, who aren't able to find that courage that people so admire. She is a character that brings hope through her story, in some ways far more so than those characters who find that courage more easily and have a bow-and-arrow or sword or ninja skills to protect them.

Bullying is a prevalent issue in our society. The mass media has made sure to make everyone aware of how detrimental it is. What they fail to cover in the news stories and billboard slogans is what lies at the root of the issue and, more importantly, how to overcome it. This book covers it all - brilliantly, I will add. It would be easy to tell a story about how bullying caused a young person to take his own life, but this story goes beyond that. To redemption and discovery of a truth that is so important in every single human life.

Enough philosophizing on that. I'll talk about characters now. I've already discussed Missy, so I'll move onto the three important guys in her life - Josh, the neighbor boy who seems to understand her best; Robby, her brother; and Sam, the boy she has crushed on since middle school, at first to humiliating ends. Each of them served a monumental purpose in Missy's life. Each of them was fleshed out very well by the author and had a distinct voice that guided Missy on her journey. However, my only critique for the entire book is that I wish more had been shown about who Robby was. I've already said that he was fleshed out, so that isn't the problem. And I get that since the story is from Missy's 1st person POV that we couldn't see everything about Robby given he and Missy did not hang out much. But I wish his character hadn't been told to me - I would have liked to be shown more. For instance Missy told us in her thoughts that he was a trouble maker and had already been threatened with expulsion a couple of time... but I only saw one instance of him actually being the wild, rebellious child that we're told he is, and that scene felt kind of strange as a result.

Other than that, this was an incredibly well written book. The language - oh the descriptions Nicole Quigley brought to life! - was beautiful and meshed very well with the beauty of the title. My inner sea-lover was not disappointed one bit.

I love how organic Missy's relationships with Josh, Robby, and Sam were. They grew at their own individual paces. They didn't feel rushed or too slow because they were the driving forces of the novel, which is how it should be. I loved going up and down with Missy, feeling the emotions with her. The confusion and heart break and self-doubt were all so beautifully portrayed in her.

I'm so glad I read this, and I would recommend this book to everyone who isn't offended by the presence of God. Personally, as a person of faith, this story reaffirmed what I believe, and I'm thankful for that.

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