Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: May 8, 2013
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "For Grace Parker, surfing is all about the ride and the moment. Everything else disappears. She can forget that her best friend, Ford Watson, has a crush on her that she can’t reciprocate. She can forget how badly she wants to get a surf scholarship to UC San Diego. She can forget the pressure of her parents’ impossibly high expectations. When Ford enters Grace into a surf competition—the only way she can impress the UCSD surfing scouts—she has one summer to train and prepare. Will she gain everything she’s ever wanted or lose the only things that ever mattered?"
Grace Parker lives a pretty sheltered life despite the fact the fact that she is going to be a senior in high school. Thanks to her overprotective parents, she doesn't do much other than study, surf, and hangout with her best friend, Ford. Her parents want her to be valedictorian and attend an Ivy League school; however, Grace has different plans. She wants to go to UCSD and join the surf team. This tremendously clashes with her parents expectations as they think surfing is pretty much a waste of time. Secretly, Grace enters a surf competition and she knows the scout for UCSD will be there. She is going to spend most of her summer training for this big moment. Thankfully, her best friend, Ford, will help her prepare, but things start to get sticky when Ford realizes he has feelings for her. Plus, her parents have different plans for her this summer. Readers will question whether Grace will stand up for what she wants or become a pawn in her parents' chess game. Riptide by Lindsey Scheibe is much more than a light beach read about surfing. It deals with some serious issues and the idea of following your dreams at all costs.
Grace is the type of character that I love rooting for. She plays by the rules, she's smart, tries to please her parents, and loves to surf. Ford has a major crush on her and she has feelings for him too, but she feels like she can't cross the line into romantic territory with him. What if it doesn't work out? Will she lose her best friend? Plus, Ford's internship is with Grace's domineering dad and he specifically asks Ford to look out for Grace....meaning keep all boys away from her since he doesn't want her to be distracted from her studies. If Ford doesn't do what Grace's dad asks of him, it could impact his internship as well as his future. So, needless to say, becoming more than friends isn't quite as simple as it initially appears in Riptide.
Grace's parents are horrible. Seriously. I would get anxious when Grace's dad would enter the storyline. He was THAT horrible. He is a major control freak from everything down to her chores, what she wears, where she goes, who she hangs out with and how she acts. Their relationship was so messed up and Scheibe definitely did a good job portraying this as I was feeling anxiety and stress right there along with Grace. I never knew what was going to upset her dad and make him act violently in Riptide. Her mom could have been a friend to Grace, but instead she nitpicked her every outfit, was brainwashed by her husband, and seemed to always be putting Grace down. I felt bad that Grace had no one to confide in other than Ford. I really wanted her to have a female BFF, but that wasn't happening. Obviously, Grace's home life is a disaster and surfing is one way she escapes.
One thing that I loved about Riptide was the surfing aspect. I have never read a book that deals with surfing and it was fun to be lost in Grace's world of bonfires, San Diego beaches, ocean spray and hot surfer guys. I could tell that Scheibe is someone who has surfed before because everything down to the description of the killer waves and the surfer lingo was spot on.
I did have a few issues with Riptide. The story is told from both Grace and Ford's point of view by alternating each chapter. Sometimes Ford's voice was a little too similar to Grace's and I wish that it had just been from Grace's perspective. I wanted more of a romance or tension between Grace and Ford, but that really didn't happen. It was definitely a very, very slow burn, but most of the time, Grace and Ford acted immaturely.
Although Lindsey Scheibe's debut didn't "wow" me, I think it would make for a fun beach read, but be forewarned that this story deals with domestic violence and isn't all just sunny days and tan lines. So, if you are looking for a beach read that has a serious edge to it, check out Riptide this summer.