Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: 04.01.2007 by Chicken House
Synopsis: When Hal's family makes the heart-wrenching decision to leave Charley, their comatose daughter, behind in a hospital ward while they spend the summer on the west coast of England, Hal finds it harder than ever to shake his sister's presence. What power is letting him share her memories? And will they reveal the deep, dark truth behind her tragic "accident"? Set at a beach where growing up goes wrong, WAVES is a coming-of-age story about first love and first loss; about a family drowning in sorrow, and the remarkable son who is struggling against the tide to save them.
Thoughts: This is one of those books that sounds like it's going to be awesome, but ends of being so not what you expected. From the cover, it looks like a light summer read, and from the summary it sounds like a heartbreaking story that I won't ever forget. It attempts to be both of these things, and happens to be neither of them, sadly.
Hal, for one, is sort of a jerk. He hates his sister for being in a coma and hates that he doesn't know what happened to her. He is determined to find out, but doesn't learn anything until the last couple of pages of the book which is a real drag. Charley's past self is definitely likable; a kind-of-insecure, fun girl that falls madly in love with Pete. Of course, the first part of book doesn't even show us the real Charley, just coma-state-Charley which was too weird and sort of confusing to be interesting. As for Pete, what was so special about him anyways? Sure he was good looking but there was no substance to the guy and he always seemed so hung up on taking care of Am, his ex-girlfriend, who of course, Charley hates.
So while away with the family, Hal begins to "hear" Charley in his head and this is where I thought the book got too weird. Not only was he hearing her voice speaking to him, he was also "seeing" her memories and reliving them himself at some points. It was really strange and I thought a completely unnecessary route to take in telling how Charley felt. Since the book is told in alternating views, both Charley and Hal's, these scenes when their minds connect, or whatever it is they're doing, become quite repetitive.
Hal seems to be going crazy, but these memories he begins to see sort of lead him to finding out what happened the night of the accident, which when finally revealed, is not as big of a mystery as we originally expect. The story is prolonged and in the end, the mystery is completely dissatisfying which is the only reason I kept going with the book!
Overall: I think fans of the authors work might appreciate this one more than I did, because I found it weird and repetitive. This one probably would have been a DNF for me if I hadn't wanted to find out how it ended, but the conclusion turned out to be just another disappointment for me. While I did enjoy Charley's side of the story (and is the reason I gave this book the extra half star,) the rest of the book was not as engaging as I had expected and I really cannot recommend this to others who have enjoyed the authors writing before and want to give this one a shot as well.