Seaborn by Craig Moodie. (Grades 7-10.)
Luke's not exactly sure how things got so off-track with his girlfriend Ginnie, but he's sick of feeling tied down. His parents make all the decisions and Luke just longs for the Big Freedom. When Luke's mom makes the decision to walk out on their family, Luke and his dad take their annual sailing trip alone. Two men in a boat, not great at communicating with each other but both looking for something. And when Luke is put to the ultimate test, will he have what it takes to face his Big Freedom and come out alive?
One thing I really loved about Seaborn was the details that made Luke's sea adventure spring to life. The author info on the jacket flap tells me that Craig Moodie's a sailor and it really comes through in his writing. This is definitely a story that will appeal to kids with any aptitude for sailing.
There are also some great descriptions that really make the New England coast seem real. For instance:
The island grew before us, and soon I could make out the biscuit-colored beaches and scrub-covered dunes. The gulls and terns flapped above the beach like confetti. (pg. 94)
Luke's struggle at sea is a rip-roaring, page-turning event. But I felt like the story wasn't organic enough. The first half of the book was character development, character development, character development. And while I liked that, I kept waiting for the action to start. Then the action starts and that's what happens until the end where some things are wrapped up a little too neatly.
I enjoyed the book, but I think if it had been a little more even, it would have been great.
Check out BookEnvy's review. She recommends it for fans of Will Hobbs and Gary Paulsen and I would agree. You'll also want to know that Craig Moody's got a blog (and I love the name): Wharf Rat Writes.