Pulled Under: Sixteenth Summer, Book 2
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Michelle Dalton's Pulled Under is about a pretty tame summer beach romance. Izzy and Ben do some kissing and handholding, but it never goes further than that. There are a few uses of the word "boobs" and one use of "kick ass." Ben is a very caring boyfriend who shows his support of Izzy in many ways. Her friends also are always there for her, even getting a bit angry when she won't open up and tell them what's wrong. Her parents are funny and loving, and her dad even offers the encouraging advice, "Being a teenager can be really confusing, can't it?...Just remember that sometimes it can be amazing." In the end, Izzy learns to believe in herself and to be brave, both in surfing and in love. Tweens and teens will learn a lot about surfing. The book even includes a "surf school glossary."
What's the story?
Izzy loves spending her summer days surfing and hanging out with her two best friends at the small surf shop where they all work. When cute Ben moves to her island community for the summer, she feels an immediate spark, but the shy girl is "not very good at picking up signs" and isn't sure if he likes her as anything more than a friend. Even after they begin dating, she worries about getting things right: How much should she ask him about his parents' ugly divorce? Or, even bigger: Should she admit that she has fallen in love with him? With the help of her supportive friends and family, she starts to learn to believe in herself -- and to be brave -- lessons that she has to draw on again when she enters a surf contest for the first time.
Is it any good?
PULLED UNDER provides a good primer to surfing -- as well as navigating the rocky waves of a first romance. In addition to learning about what it means to pearl and aerial, readers will really get that Ben cares about Izzy, supporting her in all sorts of ways: He's happy to spend a date night playing charades with her family and even dresses up in a coconut-shell bra and grass skirt to shake her nerves the day of the big surf competition. Her friends are equally awesome, boosting her confidence, giving her advice about surf moves and romance, cheering her successes, and not being afraid to cut loose and perform stupid dance moves in public.
If there's any criticism here, it's that everyone acts a bit too perfectly, and things seem to work out really, really well for Izzy and her friends and family. But readers swept up in Izzy's romance -- and the quaintness of her sweet beach town -- will happily root for this sweet narrator throughout her awesome summer.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about summer romances. Do you think it's worth dating someone who will leave in a few months?
Do you think it's possible for long-distance romances to survive? Does technology make it more possible?