Like Moonlight at Low Tide

By Nicole Quigley
Published on September 11, 2012
Published by Zondervan
Source: ARC from publisher
For Missy Keiser, returning to Anna Maria Island, Florida, means two things: her mother made another poor decision with men, and Missy will have to reenter a world where she’s known as “Messy,” a social pariah who dared to have a crush on Sam King, the most popular boy in school.

But much has changed in the three years she’s been away. Missy’s next-door neighbor is no longer an elderly woman but Josh, an intriguing boy who seems genuinely interested in her. At school, she’s surprised to find few people remember who she once was. And any remaining taunts of Messy are silenced when Sam King gives her his nod of approval.

Just as things seem to be perfect, Josh’s sudden distance, her mother’s latest relationship implosion, and her brother’s strange behavior threaten to ruin it all. Missy is forced to decide between the boy she’s always wanted, a boy who is intent on trying to save her, and the brother she’s known all her life. And her decision could have consequences she can never undo.

Like Moonlight at Low Tide is an incredibly surprising book.  I thought I had the entire book figured out in the first few chapters- and this book took me for quite the unexpected emotional ride.  The publisher- Zondervan- is known for its Christian book selections.  In the past, that has meant predictable characters, characters that seem to do no wrong and always have a high moral code.  It also meant little to no young adult and teen books.  Lately, though, Zondervan has been releasing  ya books that are incredibly entertaining and would be enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians alike.

I like Missy.  I like that her life is a hot mess because it makes her completely and utterly relatable.  This girl has problems- and I don't mean "Oh what will I wear?" problems.  Her mother has a new man every other day.  Her older brother is addicted to drugs.  She was constantly bullied in her early teens.  This story finds her returning to her hometown after her mother ends a relationship with yet another man.  She is not rich, she is not glamorous- Missy is simply trying to keep her head down and survive.

Missy has matured and is getting new attention from the kids in her high school- this time not as a cast away, but as someone who may even be considered popular.  She has two boys vying for her affections.  One, who she has been in love with as long as she can remember, and a second who is trying to help her out. I loved the complexity of Josh's character.  Christian teens are told all sorts of things about being "unequally yoked" and Josh's confusion about their relationship is clear.  

Without giving too much about the story away, this was an incredibly enjoyable contemporary fiction read.  If you are a fan of serious contemporary fiction- feel free to pick this one up!  It does address more serious topics like drug use, sex, bullying, and suicide.  This is not a light afternoon read.

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