Thursday, May 19, 2011

Deep Water Survival Guide

Sharks & Boys

Written by: Kristen Tracy

Released: June 28, 2011 by Hyperion

Summary: When 15-year-old Enid Calhoun follows her boyfriend Wick to Maryland for a party, fearful that he might be intending to cheat on her, she finds herself sneaking on board a houseboat where Wick and his friends plan to have a wild night. But before the boys discover their stowaway, a hurricane strikes, and the teenagers are carried miles from the shore and shipwrecked. What follows is a harrowing, yet heartwarming, story of survival, as the teens battle hypothermia, dehydration, man-eating sharks--and along the way, confront their own deepest secrets, including their catalytic roles in the disaster.

This novel was by far not what I was expecting to read. Granted, I am also guilty of judging the book by the cover, so that’s the reasoning I can give for why I was so surprised by it. I also seemed to miss the whole “hypothermia, dehydration, survival” bit of the summary.

This started off fluffy enough – which is the path I thought it would continue to take – and I even found myself bored by Enid and I really wanted to just slap the sense into her. But then she bites off the Groom and Bride’s feet (this makes sense once you read the novel) and stows away on a boat.

From there it takes a turn for the very worst.

Instead of the fluffy little read I was anticipating, I get this gut-wrenching tale about literally surviving in shark-infested water. When it was being described about how the sharks could be felt through the thin material of the life raft chills went up my spine. From there it all goes downhill for the characters.

One thing that I learned from this novel – and I learned a lot actually – was how to survive for days in a life boat with little to no supplies. Basically, shiny hair clips are key, you can drink your own pee (if you can get over the fact that you’re drinking pee), and once dehydration really sets in stay away from all sides of the life boat. Oh, and salt water is bad no matter what.

The characters in this novel are hard to put down in words for a review. For the most part they all fell into one stereotype or another. You have the token female who’s needy, the brother who is the classic brother, the jerk-off boyfriend, his meat-head brother, and four other characters who sadly blend indistinguishably together for a lot of the novel. However, stereotypical though they may be, they all worked really well together. By about 2/3 of the way through the novel I couldn’t read fast enough to see what happened next.

The faint of heart should consider not reading this novel. I’m a pretty unflappable person and there were parts where I was shocked at what I was reading. At times, this reads more like one of those horrific true stories that you watch on TLC or the Discovery Channel. So if you do decide to read it – and it is quite good – just make sure that you know what you’re getting into. I’m giving this a 6.5/10 and I would like to see what else this author has to offer.

I was given the opportunity to read this eARC by Hyperion and netGalley.

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