Review: Surf School by Laurine Croasdale

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fifteen-year-old Tilly, Fran, Marlee and Pink are surfer girls.
They have been meeting for the first surf of the season every year since they first met at the surf school run by Tilly’s dad, Phil, when they were eight. Phil has big plans for the surf school this year, but when he is injured in a hit-and-run accident, everything suddenly seems uncertain. While Phil languishes in hospital and the police track his attacker, Tilly is determined to realise his plans and keep the surf school open. To do this, she needs all the help she can get from her friends. But Marlee is training for the surfing competition to win a new board and beat the moody Kyle, Pink is warring with her parents and intrigued by the stranger Kim, and Fran is busy making jewellery.

I really enjoyed this book – I think this was because of a combination of the simple but wonderful prose, relatable characters and situations and classic Aussie beach setting. Though I’ve never surfed, I found that element of the novel really interesting and expertly written.

The relationships between the four girls can best be compared to The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, though I found Tilly, Marlee, Pink and Fran a lot more believable, and I think I also liked them more because they were Aussies (I’m sorry, I really can’t help being biased). I especially liked Fran, but I really wish that her character was expanded on more (we do find out a bit more about her, and she plays a more important role in this novel’s sequel, Surf Sisters).

Some of the fights the girls had felt unnecessary (though that’s probably very true-to-life, considering the characters are teenage girls). I found Pink a bit hard to like – she’s awfully spoilt and na├»ve – but she does redeem herself in the sequel.

I love the covers of both Surf School and its sequel, Surf Sisters – very simple but eye-catching, and consistent with what the novels are about.

I’d recommend Surf School to girls twelve and up – it’s a fun, easy read, written simply but beautifully, and a book you’ll definitely want to lend to your friends.
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