About the Book

Title: Raw Blue
Published: 2009
Swoonworthy Scale: 9

Cover Story: Nothing To Brag About
BFF Charm: Yay!
Talky Talk: Straight (Surf’s) Up
Bonus Factors: Point Break, Sexy Times
Relationship Status: Engaged

Cover Story: Nothing To Brag About

While it’s not embarrassing, this cover is a tad too emo for my taste. I’ll give it props for indicating the contents of the book (rare in YA these days), but the brooding goth girl doesn’t do justice to badass Carly.

The Deal:

I’ve always been in awe of surfer girls. Like the chick who had her arm bitten off by a mothercussing shark and decided to go back into the ocean because, you know, what’s a missing limb compared to the joy of catching a wave? I’ve read way too many Reader’s Digest Drama in Real Life articles to ever find sharks NOT terrifying, which is probably one of the main reasons I respect surfers so much. Hell, I even like Lori Petty in Point Break, and you guys, I HATE Lori Petty.

Then I met Carly, and my blue crush (heyo!) got even bigger. A college dropout, Carly lives and breathes surfing. Like, if she had one of those “Surf or Die” stickers on her car, it actually wouldn’t be a lame bumper decoration. It’s the only way she can escape a terrible secret from her past, so she’s built her entire existence around going to the (gorgeous, Australian) beach and losing herself in the waves. Getting by with a cooking job at a local cafe, she tries to avoid people as much as possible, making small exceptions for her housemate, Hannah, a fabulously kooky Dutch woman who loves to salsa, and Danny, a kid and fellow surfer who revels in his synaesthesia. She finds herself slowly opening up to these two new friends, only to encounter a bigger challenge in Ryan, a gentle yet intense surfer who refuses to be pushed away. Can Carly trust him with her secret? Even more importantly, can she find the strength to share it?

BFF Charm: Yay!

Yay BFF Charm

I would LOVE to offer Carly my BFF charm, but I’m not sure if girlfriend would take it. And I’m not just saying that because I can’t even stay on a wakeboard for more than 30 seconds. She’s a total loner, and she has a hard time expressing even the simplest of emotions. She would probably find me annoying, cos I’d be trying super duper hard to befriend her, like, “Hey! Carly! Can I go to the beach with you? I’ll bring champ cans!” And then I’d take forever applying my SPF 1,000 and after a few minutes she’d hit the water without a backward glance and I’d be all, “OMG IS THAT A SHARK?! No, wait, it’s ok, it’s just a kid snorkeling,” and then all of the hardcore surfer dudes would make fun of her and she’d probably never speak to me again. But, you know, I’d still love to be her friend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 9

Holy madre, my panties are MELTING ALL OVER THE PLACE. Can I get some A/C over here?!! I mean, it’s only February, so why in God’s name is it so hot– HOLY SHIZZ THERE’S A FIRE! THE PAGES OF THIS BOOK HAVE ACTUALLY GONE UP IN FLAMES. CALL 911 STAT!

And when the fire department asks who started it, tell them it’s all Ryan’s fault because he’s too damn sexy and understanding and enigmatic and GAH HERE COME THE FLAMES AGAIN. Seriously, though, one of the things I love about the swoon in this book is that the mysterious loner dude is actually a girl– Carly– and therefore, Ryan is trying to reach out to her and that just makes him even hotter, IF THAT’S EVEN POSSIBLE.

Talky Talk: Straight (Surf’s) Up

Kirsty Eagar writes in a raw, stark style that sneaks up like a building wave and crashes down on you with cascading emotion. Carly’s outlook is bleak, and yet the joy she finds in surfing is expressed in deliberate and lush description such as this one:

The waves are even more spectacular viewed up close. When they peel it’s like a line of skyscrapers falling down, structural instability in one section creates a domino effect. It’s completely different to the crocodile snap of smaller waves when they close out on the banks. In between sets there’s a lot of water moving about, giant rivers pushing and pulling in different directions. I’m reminded of the arrows drawn on weather maps to illustrate the flight paths of cold and warm air, the different fronts passing each other. The whole foreground of the ocean is a sea of white foam, like ploughed snow.

Even when I didn’t quite understand the specific surfing tricks Carly was pulling, it didn’t matter, because I felt her moments of happiness, made all the more sacred by the darkness in between.

Bonus Factor: Point Break

Y’all, I love the shizz outta some Point Break, and yes, I’m dead serious. DEAD PRESIDENTS SERIOUS! Ok, so there’s no bank robbers in this book, but the thrill and intensity of surfing so dramatically depicted in the movie is alive and well in Raw Blue. Plus, there’s smokin’ hot surfer dudes! The only thing really missing is the utterance of one of my fave lines of all time, “Vaya con dios, brah.”

Bonus Factor: Sexy Times

two pairs of feet showing under covers

As I mentioned above, this book is full of smokin’ hotness. Part of that is the chemistry between Carly and Ryan, and part of it is ACTUAL REAL SEX YOU GUYS. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no bratwurst referencing or any of that heaving bosom business, but Eagar gives the reader enough tantalizing detail to start up her own C+C Music Factory. GONNA MAKE YOU SWEAT.

Relationship Status: Engaged

It was easy to develop a crush on this book, what with the hotness and the surfing, but as it slowly allowed me into its world, my feelings turned to full-blown love. This book is real and honest with me, and that’s how I know that this isn’t just a summer fling, it’s the real deal. I had to earn this book’s trust, and now that I have, I think we’re ready to spend our lives together under the Australian sun. Of course, I’ll require a beach umbrella. And a fruity cocktail.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Raw Blue is available now.

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.