Saturday, February 23, 2008

Girl At Sea, by Maureen Johnson

Clio is forced to leave her great incipient job at the galaxy art store, working with boyfriend-to-be Ollie, and spend the summer in Italy on a boat. But before you roll your eyes and tsk tsk about Clio being some sort of spoiled brat, keep in mind that Clio's absent Dad previously got her nearly killed and later on got her a big tatoo on his arm, so he's not the wisest of Dads in the package. And this summer jaunt is some sort of ultra secret mission involving sunken treasure, men with guns, and a love triangle. So, it's not exactly fun in the sun!

Johnson writes well and combines an engaging heroine and a lot of drama into her stories. It's taken me a while to in fact become familiar with her style, which combines typical teen angst (parental conflict, fighting with friends, and insecurities about the opposite sex) with action sequences that start normal and then quickly veer into melodrama. It really shouldn't work and if you tried to explain this book to a friend, they would look at you like you were nuts (too touchy feely for boy readers and too much action for the angsty Judy Blume graduates), but it really does work. A truly enjoyable and fun read with satisfying emotional depth.

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