I think it is important to understand that this book emotes a twelve year old girl's thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears and disappointments. She has a preoccupied young mom, a brother 7 years younger than her, and an absent, mysterious father that has done little to maintain a relationship. She lives in a barely viable bed and breakfast inn that her mom runs, and is trying to fit in with the cool kids at school, knowing that she is worlds apart from their established cliques. The story is not an edge of your seat drama and it was not meant to be. If you are not intrigued by exploring a young person's life, this book is not for you and you will find it unsuitable. But, if you can allow yourself to visit that young soul we all have inside ourselves, and recall when these events triggered all sorts of angst, you will appreciate the tone and cadence of this book. Some of the reviewers were quite annoyed with the book, and I feel they may have had other expectations...
First - I was a bit surprised to find that By the Shore is currently rated at only three stars, as I enjoyed it so much and contemplated giving it a 5 star rating again, four years after my first reading. Then I took a look at the 1 star ratings and saw that a group of mean children (or jealous unpublished non-authors) had conducted a "one star" smear campaign against Ms. Craze. Don't let this sway you from reading By the Shore. The book is moving and thought provoking. Its strength is in its subtleties. I found myself reflecting on my childhood as I read, and was drawn back to memories that had escaped me for years. I look forward to this new author's next effort.
By the Shore is seen through the eyes of twelve-year old May, who lives in a seaside hotel that's owned by her mother, Lucy. Although it's clear that Lucy loves her daughter, she is a woman who has refused to grow up and is too preoccupied with her own life to really notice May. May's main companions are her younger brother, Eden and her best friend, Jolene. Aside from Jolene, May is on the outside looking in when she's at school. She longs to be a part of the in-crowd, but her attempts to become one of them are unsuccessful. Enter Rufus and Patricia, a struggling writer and his stylish girlfriend. They're the newest guests at the family inn. Lucy is eager to please while May is wary of the couple. When Patricia goes back to London for a while to give Rufus space to write, Lucy and Rufus embark on what starts out as a flirtation and evoles into more. It's clear that they're in love, but outside forces threaten to put a stop to their relationship, namely Patricia and May's...
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