Friday, January 6, 2012

El Porto Summer by George Matthew Cole

California in the summer, surfing, hanging out with your friends, what could be better? Well, this summer Brett is about to find out both better and worse, and an unhappy young girl will find her way after moving from inland to the coast, a coast she fears. George Matthew Cole begins this book with individual chapters for the book's characters. The reader knows right away who these people are and that they will all show up interactively in the story. A teenage summer of discovery, a story of teenage angst, a time of life that is uncharted territory and full of pitfalls.

The author has a wonderful grasp of these awkward years and tells it well. He goes deep inside the insecurities that exist within most teenagers. Reading the book brought back some memories that are now decades old. I like a book to show me something new, and this one didn't fail me. I learned some about surfing, and how to study and learn (something I really could have done with years ago).

This is a young-adult book, and does have a bit of rough language as could be expected. These are mid-teens, discovering urges, learning new lifestyles, finding their strengths, meeting bullying head on, and finding empathy. I am very happy to recommend it. The characters are diverse, but consistent at their cores, even as the book takes us through a change and new self-discoveries. Most of the characters are well-meaning, decent kids and a very few older teens are not just bullies but a part of the criminal element, juvenile delinquents. Still, it is basically a happy book with growing pains. For older readers, it will bring back some memories, whether living near the water or elsewhere in North America. The author takes us through everything as smoothly as the flat water at slack tide. I enjoyed this book and the characters within. A great coming-of-age story.

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