Lindsey Scheibe's debut novel, Riptide, has an intriguing hook: surfing, best friends and alternating points-of-view (and let's not forget the appealing cover). It's one of the novels--along with Some Quiet Place--which Flux promoted enthusiastically at the midwinter ALA meeting.
However, despite all of that promise, Riptide proved to be a bit of a disappointment. With the exception of the surfing scenes, which were quite vivid, I found myself wanting more depth and focus from this story.
Riptide is told in alternating points-of-view by Grace and Ford, childhood friends in southern California who live for the surf and sand. Grace can't wait to leave her troubled home, where her father is prone to angry, violent outburst and she's not allowed a much of a social life.
Fragmented images fly through my head—some fun, some scary. Surfing at the beach, Dad’s face when he’s angry, shopping, jogging in the park with Mom, Mom lecturing me on making a good impression, wearing clothes I don’t like, working out with Ford. Then come the big fears. The possibility of having surfing taken away if I screw up and lose my class rank. Not knowing when Dad’s going to explode. Whether or not I can bring it to the Jack n John Surf Comp. It’s like being on an out of control tilt-a-whirl at a carnival. Even on a dream weekend, I can’t escape the stress of home.
As a result, she's pinned all her hopes of escape on a surfing scholarship at University of California-San Diego (I didn't realize this, but there surfing is a sport some schools--mostly in California--actually offer scholarships for). When the opportunity to enter a world-class surfing competition presents itself, an opportunity that could mean catching the eye of UCSD's surfing coach, Ford enters Grace into the competition and she spends the summer training while Ford interns at Grace's father's law office.