If you're a teenager in a small, rural area, how do you exist when your eccentric, free-spirited parents are the town freaks everyone laughs at?
For sixteen-year-old Rainbow Honeywell—or Rain, as she insists on being called—the answer was to become the queen of all pranks. She never wanted to be a troublemaker, but the label quickly stuck when everyone in Huntsville, Kansas, became a target. All she wanted was to deflect the negative attention off her parents, but Rain's plan backfired to the max, landing her in a heap of trouble with the local authorities and expelled from high school.
An unexpected inheritance offers Rain an opportunity for a new beginning when she and her family move across the country to the quaint beach community of Turtle Bay, Florida.
Determined to make the best of her second chance, Rain vows to walk the straight and narrow, hoping her parents will fly under the radar while she soaks up some fun in the sun, sandy beaches, and hot, tanned guys. Unfortunately, she picks the wrong new friends, and a late night party lands her back in the kind of trouble she had been hoping to avoid. As the newbie in town with a record, Rain takes the brunt of the punishment when an unforgiving judge chooses to make an example out of her and slaps her with enough community service hours to keep her busy until she is old and gray.
Facing the harsh reality of paying for the actions of others while atoning for her own past sins, Rain is paired up with Josh Shaw, a judgmental local lifeguard whose love for the beach and the environment is eclipsed only by his distaste for those who trash it. As far as Josh is concerned, Rain is guilty and got what she deserved, regardless of her side of the story. To make matters worse, a tropical storm sits in the Atlantic, threatening to wreak havoc on the small beach community.
Things slowly change as Rain begins to appreciate her surroundings through Josh's eyes, proving she is not the person he thinks she is. Their feelings for one another blossom as the tropical storm grows into a hurricane and bears down on Turtle Bay. With impending danger looming, the small beach community must come together in order to ride out the storm.
Review: Turtle Bay, by Tiffany King
Tiffany King has written another Young Adult book! This fact alone makes me happy, but that comes second to the fact that I truly enjoyed this book. When I first discovered King’s writing, it was through her YA books (Wishing For Someday Soon was the first). Her more recent books have been New Adult, and great in their own right. King’s return to YA exceeded my expectations. She definitely has a knack for it.
One of the greatest strengths Turtle Bay has is its characters. Rain/Rainbow was one of my favorite main characters I’ve read in King’s books. Her parents add some quirkiness to the story, but aren’t used for comic relief which can be a path some authors might take with “hippie” parents like Butch and Buttercup. They’re great parents and Rain’s relationship with them, while a bit strained, is enviable.
Josh is also a great character, even if I wasn’t too sure about him at the start. He soon won me over though. Without many of the other secondary characters, this book wouldn’t have been what it is. I’m missing many of them, even so soon after finishing the book.
I also thought that the author did a great job of setting up the Florida beach town setting, with its class issues, and other issues. I think incorporating environmental awareness into the whole thing was done perfectly, as well. While Josh’s and Rain’s parents are very vocal about their love for our world, none of it came across as preachy or too “in your face”. It was a great plot device and a good choice for the beach setting at the same time.
Tiffany King has won me over again, bringing joy and some tense, and even sad, moments. Turtle Bay is going to stay with me for some time and has made it’s way high on my list of favorite books.