The cover of Lisa Freeman’s latest YA novel, HONEY GIRL, couldn’t be more spot on with this surf inspired theme. The book’s 15 year-old protagonist, Nani, is quickly showcased as a knowledgeable surfer despite the unspoken rule in post-Vietnam era Santa Monica that “girls don’t surf.” The wave on this cover is the beginning of a rip curl–the leading edge of a breaking wave. The colors capture the warmth and richness of the Hawaiian islands–where surfing was (and still is) the stuff of gods.
Lisa Freeman wasn’t the only author inspired by the island and it’s surfing culture:
“In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing.” – Mark Twain on visiting Hawaii
“Shaking the water from my eyes as I emerged from one wave and peered ahead to see what the next one looked like, I saw him tearing in on the back of it, standing upright on his board, carelessly poised, a young god bronzed with sunburn.” – Jack London on surfing lessons with George Freeth
In 1907, the same year that London experienced the water sport, Freeth made his way over to the mainland (California) and brought his surfing skills along for the ride.
How to survive California’s hottest surf spot: Never go anywhere without a bathing suit. Never cut your hair. Never let them see you panic.
The year is 1972. Fifteen-year-old Haunani “Nani” Grace Nuuhiwa is transplanted from her home in Hawaii to Santa Monica, California after her father’s fatal heart attack. Now the proverbial fish-out-of-water, Nani struggles to adjust to her new life with her alcoholic white (haole) mother and the lineup of mean girls who rule State Beach.
Following “The Rules”—an unspoken list of dos and don’ts—Nani makes contact with Rox, the leader of the lineup. Through a harrowing series of initiations, Nani not only gets accepted into the lineup, she gains the attention of surf god, Nigel McBride. But maintaining stardom is harder than achieving it. Nani is keeping several secrets that, if revealed, could ruin everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. Secret #1: She’s stolen her dad’s ashes and hidden them from her mom. Secret #2: In order to get in with Rox and her crew, she spied on them and now knows far more than they could ever let her get away with. And most deadly of all, Secret #3: She likes girls, and may very well be in love with Rox.
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