- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (September 22, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399173609
- ISBN-13: 978-0399173608
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,310,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Juniors Hardcover – September 22, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Growing up part Hawaiian made visiting Oahu easy for Lea Lane—playing with childhood friends, seeing her Hawaiian relatives, and surfing all came so naturally. When Lea's actress mother moves them both to the state halfway through Lea's junior year to film a new television show, nothing can prepare her for navigating the posh lifestyle in which she finds herself. Will Lea stay in the shadows or change to fit their new life? Hemmings, the author of The Descendants (Random, 2007), in her YA debut creates an interesting take on the classic coming-of-age novel by offering an appealing look into the lives of the wealthy on Oahu and an exclusive invitation into one of the country's most prestigious private schools (President Obama is an alum). A well-paced plot, fully developed and authentic characters, and a multifaceted and integrated setting will pull in reluctant and avid readers, alike. Fans of realistic fiction will eat up the intensity of Lea's angst as she adjusts to her new lifestyle, new friends, and possible romance. Talk of drinking, drugs, and sex make this appropriate for older teens. VERDICT Recommended purchase for collections where contemporary teen fiction flies off the shelves.—DeHanza Kwong, Wahiawa Public Library, Hawaii
* “Wryly funny, generous-hearted, garnished with sun, surfing, and shave ice—a genuinely literary beach read.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Top customer reviews
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This story follows Lea Lane, a daughter to a single mother who is also an actress. She's moved a lot in her lifetime and her mom's career takes her back to Hawaii. The move into a guest cottage that belongs to a wealthy family, and old family ;friend.' They have two children, Will and Whitney.
We follow her as she tries to build friendships and other emotional ties with those around her. I didn't really get a good first impression of Lea and my opinion didn't really change after reading the last page. I didn't like how much she cared about what others thought of her. She was super gullible and I just wanted her to grow a backbone more than anything. She asked too many questions too so basically, she wasn't what I look for in a favorite main character. And because this story focused on her, it put a damper on my reading experience.
The main reason why I give this such a low rating was that as much as I liked some characters, I didn't connect to them in an emotional level, or in any way at all. I felt like there was a wall between me and them and I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.
I loved the relationship between Lea and her mother from the very start. It made me wish I was as close to mine as she was with hers. Their banter and interactions were believable. They were close, but the mother-daughter dynamic didn't suffer in the process.
Cue in Will and Whitney West. I never liked Will. He always gave me a bad feeling in my stomach. I could've done without his appearances.
I honestly didn't believe Whitney and Lea were friends until the very end. Their friendship didn't feel real to me. They weren't mean to each other but I would've called them acquaintances instead of friends. The way they interacted isn't how I see friends interacting but, luckily, all that changed on the last chapter. The last few pages made me feel proud for how far they came in their friendship. I was all smiles for them so I decided to give this 3.5 stars instead of just 3.
My favorite character award goes to Danny, Lea's childhood friend. Their friendship chemistry was my favorite thing to witness out of everything. He was genuine and kind, two major things any guy could possess. He showed me that he actually cared for Lea in his every action and I loved that. I really wished that this story focused on them instead of everything else. If there is ever a sequel, I hope Danny is the main focus!
For fans of Hemmings due to The Descendants, this is definitely very different in tone. Rather than taking the father's point of view (and tone), this is from the perspective of a teenage daughter from a not-so-rich family. The Hawaii setting is still very much important as a setting and gives some insight into the local perspective. While, I don't love this novel as much as The Descendants, it's definitely something I would read again--especially at the beach! Lastly, the ending was a tiny bit corny, but in a good way. I'm glad that Hemmings got past her need to put a sour twist on everything and is now willing to be a bit saccharine (at times).
Lea and her D-List actress mother aren't new to moving. So when her mother, Ali, announces their latest move into the prominent West guesthouse, who is one of the popular families in Hawaii, Lea is appropriately scandalized. Lea and her mother will now be living in their guest cottage and she will be attending high school with the family's children, Whitney and Will. Much to her chagrin, her mother, pushes her into a friendship with Whitney as Lea doesn't exactly consider herself popular while Whitney and her brother, Will, are affluent.
Slowly – so slowly – a forced friendship between Whitney and Lea blooms. To be honest, I liked Whitney. She was honest. At times, a little snide and crude, but real. Lea? Not so much. She felt like a hanger-on. She and her mother were ungrateful. They complained about their living conditions while living in a gorgeous beach house. Truly the essence of #RichPeopleProblems.
Eventually, Whitney is annoyed because she believes Lea is “using” her to get to her brother, which many of her friends have previously done and what Lea was also trying to do, despite her denial. Though for a love interest, Will isn't featured too often. We never really heard from him. He didn't have that pop.
Every relationship in this story felt forced. Lea and her mother, Ali. Lea and her best friend, Danny. Lea and Whitney. Lea and Will. Whitney and Will. I can go on for hours. The only character I could singularly tolerate was Whitney and Will's father, Eddie, who was rarely paid attention to, offered the occasional wisdom, and thrown into an armchair while his wife gossiped.
Kaui Hart Hemmings is a native Hawaiian, so I was exceptionally fond of how she introduced Hawaii and their people to us. Though I was peeved by 99.99% of the cast, Kaui's YA debut isn't a total miss.
Most recent customer reviews
I originally picked this book because I have a soft spot for all things...Read more