I got a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program. I had heard great things about this book and the cover was just stunning, so I was eager to read it. It ended up being an okay book, although it wasn't as interesting as I had hoped.
Anna is being forced by her father to move into a seaside cottage near where his new job is. Anna is having to start her senoir year at a brand new school. She also finds out that her new home is where her mom and dad meet. As, such she is thrust into the mystery of their past and forced to confront some hard truths about her mother's death.
There are some things that are very well done in this book. The characters are all very real. I love the way Anna's relationship builds slowly with Tyler. I love the way Anna and her dad have a close relationship and try to talk through even the uncomfortable parts of it. I also enjoyed the way Anna made friends with two very different girls, but that somehow they understood each other and got along.
The writing style was also very good, the descriptions of the ocean and the sea are beautiful and you can really picture the surroundings in your mind. I enjoyed learning more about life next to the ocean and about diving, that sort of thing.
I also had some things I didn't enjoy. Anna seems drawn to Tyler because he is her age and is cute...because of this she peruses him relentlessly and I thought it was kind of a shallow basis for a relationship. Anna doesn't seem like a shallow girl and she doesn't like shallow girls, so why is she drawn to Tyler immediately? This was a small issue for me, but did bother me a bit.
The bigger issue for me was just that I expected more from this story. There is a lot of mystery built up around the old abandoned cottages on the ocean. I keep waiting for something profound to happen, something mysterious, something fantastical. When Anna finally does enter the cottages, I thought it was anti-climatic. I kept waiting for something just...more...to happen. I knew that this was the story about Anna accepting her mother's death; but I also thought there was going to be more. And while I read the story, I started to find it kind of boring as I realized there just wasn't any more to the story.
The other thing I didn't know about this book, which I wish I had, was that the ending is depressing. It is hopeful too, but the whole thing about Anna's mother depressed me more than any hope Anna found through her acceptance of the situation. I don't like depressing books, I read books to be enlightened, uplifted, and entertained...not to be left in tears. So, just beware parts of this book are depressing and you will probably end up in tears. It might be because I have a small child and the whole situation just resonated with me, but I absolutely cannot believe that a mother would do what Anna's did.
Overall the book is well-written, has realistic characters, and great description. I personally thought the mystery that propelled me through the book was anti-climatic, I also thought that Tyler and Anna had a shallow basis to their relationship. I didn't enjoy the depressing ending, but that is a personal preference...I am not a big fan of tear-jerker type books. If you want to read a book about a high school girl finally coming to terms with her mother's death (which happened when she was 6 or 7 years old) this is the book for you; it is well-written and has very life-like characters in it. If you are interested in reading about death and how it affects those around a person in a YA setting, I would recommend If I Stay by Gayle Forman over this book.