Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks Review

"Some people might say that Denver had a death wish. Why else would she have dared to sneak into a Malibu beach party where she’d be surrounded by enemies, namely including her ex-BFF Abigail?

Oh yeah. Croix. Denver never thought in a million years he’d ask her out, but who was she to question this miracle of fate? Well, that wasn’t the only surprise fate had in store.

During the party a tsunami hit the coast of California, wiping out everything in its path. Denver and a handful of others escaped death by holding onto the roof of the house and were swept out to sea. Of course, one of her fellow castaways was none other than Abigail, who could barely stand the sight of her.

Now that she’s floating in the ocean, stuck on a small boat with the most popular kids in school and waiting to be rescued, Denver wonders what might kill her first-dehydration, sunstroke, or the girl she used to think of as a sister?

A hilariously dark and twisted story that sparkles with a remarkably fresh voice, The Lifeboat Clique is Kathy Park’s irreverent yet insightful novel about how to survive in the most unthinkable circumstances."

Remember earthquakes? Well, probably not, but in areas such as California and areas part of the Ring of Fire, earthquakes are common and rock the state (and Japan, Oregon, Canada, etc.) whenever they want. And of course, earthquakes sometimes lead into a nasty tsunami, which is exactly what happened in this book. 

Denver is not so lucky. She gets caught right in the middle of a tsunami and is taken out into the sea. The story reminds me a little bit of The Cay, except for many key differences. She is stuck with four popular kids, a ton of nightmares after seeing the deaths of her fellow classmates (and one crush), and a terrible boat with no motor. Struggling against all odds to make the shore alive, Denver and her very strange gang of survivalists have to do some pretty disgusting things to live. (Eating raw fish is included.) 

(So there is a bit of The Cay and The Life of Pi in this book.) 

The plot has two major parts. One tells the story of Denver right before that nasty kidnapping by the tsunami. The other one centers on Denver's relationship with the popular kids and their attempt to survive in the open sea. The adventure of finding the safe beach will appeal to those who love conflicts between man and nature itself. The other plot (which tells of Denver's past with her ex-best friend) will be more about her social life and why she is the way she is in the present. Both of them are vital to the story, and they keep the tension up, never letting the moment slide into boredom. 

Denver is smart, and though she does have her moments of teenager!girl, she shows maturity at the most defining times and becomes a leader for the strange band of survivors on that boat. She changes slowly throughout the course of the book, and it is most definitely for the better. 

The world building of the California the book paints is most definitely not the California I'm living in. For one thing, no one is really, really obsessed with spray tans and high fashion clothing. (We don't care if those shoes are Prada as long as you don't stick out while walking in them. If you're in them while walking on the beach... Oh, you're totally in trouble. And by the way, our beaches are filled with little kids, middle-aged people, and college kids. Teens are hanging out at the darn mall again.) But the pettiness of the popular crowd is partially on point.

In conclusion, The Lifeboat Clique, which is YA Contemporary with a dash of Adventure, is for those who love stories in line of The Hunger Games, The Cay, and The Life of Pi. It's a story that'll entertain. 

Rating: Three out of Five

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