Sunday, June 24, 2007

Review: Girl Overboard

Are you looking for a little fun? Then grab your sunscreen, your beach bag, and a copy of Aimee Ferris' Girl Overboard. It's the perfect beach fare--think Marian Keyes for the teenaged set.

In the summer before her senior year of high school, Marina Gray has some serious thinking to do. A smart girl from a small town in Vermont, she's interested in studying marine biology in her dream program at the University of Hawaii. But, she's been part of a couple for years and her boyfriend, Damian, loves skiing and snowboarding and plans to remain in Vermont for college. Moreover, Damian's mother is in remission from breast cancer and, so, he doesn't want to leave her for school (and Marina feels guilty even asking him to leave with her). Marina has decide whether or not to follow her dreams or remain with her first love.

This conundrum seems, on the surface of things, trivial, but, honestly, isn't it one of the most typical big decisions every girl has to make? Marina decides to sign up for a summer program at sea--a dream program devoted to marine biology on a cruise ship. Students will be working with dolphins in the Bahamas, whale sharks in the Bay Islands, and sea turtles in the Dominican Republic. While working with her fellow students, Marina saves a baby dolphin, swims with a whale shark, and learns quite a bit about how marine biologists work around the world. (Hint: it's not all glamorous.)

What I liked most about Girl Overboard is the serious thought Marina affords her decisions. She understands that, at age 18, she could easily make a mistake and end up abandoning her dreams for a boyfriend. She also understands that pursuing her dreams means comes with a cost. Call it junior rom-com with a conscious, or beach book with a bite, but, in the final analysis, you’ll have to call Girl Overboard a delicious summer read.