Sunday, June 11, 2023

Welcome to Beach Town

Welcome to Beach Town by Susan Wiggs
6/20/23; 336 pages

Welcome to Beach Town by Susan Wiggs is a highly recommended coming-of-age novel.

Alara Cove is a California beach town known for its surfing and small town charm. Nikki Graziola, the daughter of a surfer, grew up in her dad's beach side trailer park. She became a scholarship student and valedictorian at the prestigious Thornton Academy, when, instead of her approved speech, she exposed the school's cover-up of a hazing incident that left her best friend dead. The school refused to give Nikki her diploma, even when other students came forward. She left her dreams of college behind and ended up marrying a professional surfer and becoming one herself. A tragedy has her returning to Alara Cove fifteen years later only to see the same wealthy family still controlling the town.

The novel is divided into four parts. Part one grabbed my attention and made me care about Nikki, while part two was less successful. The narrative picks up later in the novel and eventually reaches a satisfying conclusion. The plot is going to wander about quite a bit in the middle, however, before events eventually tie up all the loose ends. Set some disbelief aside, keep reading, and most readers are going to enjoy this novel as a great summer read.

As a character driven novel, the main focus are the people and you will care about them, flaws and all. All the characters are distinctive and believable. The descriptions of the beach town of Alara Cove, surfing, and making art will resonate with interested readers. Welcome to Beach Town is an enjoyable novel from start to finish if you just go with the flow.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins via NetGalley.

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