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Navy is stuck with her mother and possibly new stepdad. Isaiah is desperately trying to convince his grandmother that he isn’t gay so he can go back to working on the ranch he loves. Jesse and his father are both trying to get over the fact that his mother left them. All three are stuck on a cruise ship for a week.

There’s no way this could possibly go wrong.

All sarcasm aside, it actually goes fairly well at first. The three aren’t instant best friends, but they aren’t at each other’s throats either. They, and a fourth kid, Bern, actually get along pretty well, despite a few rocky patches. Things only really go south when thefts start happening all over the ship and suspicion begins to rear its ugly head.

When I first began the book, I thought I would be tossed headfirst into a YA mystery, and, while I was looking forward to teenage sleuths, that isn’t what I found. What I got instead was much better. The thefts, while important to the plot and the characters, often take a backseat to the drama that comes from the simplicity of throwing three teenagers with intense secrets together, especially when one of the teenagers cannot abide liars. It’s an honest look at what it means to be a teenager that never descends into cliché or trite repetitions of morals all teens have seen before. The interactions between the characters, while messy, feel fresh and real.

In the midst of it all, the mystery never gets forgotten, which will be a relief to many readers. Even though I was caught up in the intricacies of the drama between the protagonists, if the thefts were simply forgotten by the end of the novel, I would have walked away disappointed. As it was, I found myself blown away. I doubt I could have ever guessed the culprit, and when the truth hit me, it shocked me as much as it did the protagonists. I feel no shame at all in admitting I tore through the book in a matter of days.

I am not a teen, and it’s been years since I was one. However, I think I’m still young enough to say that this is a book that any young person will enjoy. The authentic characters, snappy writing style, and compelling plots make it an ideal selection for any high schooler.

Reviewed By:

Author J Mercer
Star Count 5/5
Format eBook
Page Count 299 pages
Publisher Bare Ink
Publish Date 2019-Jan-06
ISBN 9781732133242
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2019
Category Young Adult


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