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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal

Title: The Lifeguard
Author: Deborah Blumenthal
ISBN: 9781453247334
Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Co
Released: March 01, 2012
Series: Standalone
Page #: 268
Source: ebook from Netgalley

"It's an unsettled summer for Sirena. Back in Texas, her family's splitting apart, but here in Rhode Island, at the cottage of her free-spirited aunt, it's a different world. There are long days at the beach and intriguing encounters with him. Pilot. He's the lifeguard with shamanic skills. He both saves her and makes her feel lost at sea. Sirena explores her obsession with Pilot and discovers his mysterious--almost magical--gifts."
First Lines:

"Dangerous Rip Currents: Stay Out of the Water
It was close to one hundred degrees, but swimmers were heeding the signs all along the beach. As far as the eye could see, no one was in the water."

I really wanted to love this book. My husband is from Rhode Island and I thought I would be able to relate to the story. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into it. In the beginning, there was a lot of setting up for the story. It felt a little disjointed, but I assumed that's how we would be setting up for the rest of the book.

It's the story of Sirena. Her family is in total upheaval - her parents are getting a divorce and she's been sent away to spend the summer with her aunt in Rhode Island while her friends are away at camp. But she soon develops a huge crush on Pilot, the lifeguard at the beach. She spends her time trying to figure him out... and unknowingly learns about herself in the process. 

While this story is all about Sirena's relationships with the people of the town, you don't get a whole lot of interaction. Most of the story is used to talk about her past and the things that have happened to her. Or her thoughts about people. The dialogue is a bit sparse, it seems.  I understand that her time at her aunt's house was really farily lonely. And the people she did come in contact with was in passing. She seemed to be uninterested in gaining friendships - which makes sense as she's only there for the summer.

But in the end of the book, all of these people seemed to take on a much more important role in her life than I previously understood. Antonio became a mentor and father figure? You only see her talking with him a handful of times. And her relationship with Pilot seems to come out of nowhere. She obsesses and obsesses and the one day he touches her face, so now they're together. It just felt really inconsistant. Oh, and it bothered me that Mark (the aunt's boyfriend) decided he was a best friend to her at the end of the story. How and when did that happen? It seemed very out of the blue.

I think my word for this book was "insincere." I just wanted more depth and more meaningful relationships with the other people in the story. Or at least, I want to be shown the building of those relationships. What you get is the beginning and the end... no real middle.

Sirena's character really had me confused most of the time. She seemed to be so naive and child-like... yet, she was turning seventeen. I got that she was crushing and dealing with sadness and all of that, but she never seemed to understand the world around her. I do appreciate that she grew toward the end - she did seem to change for the better. Maybe her relationship with Antonio facilitated that, but it did give her more dimension.

The ghost story was really what had me most interested. It was curious and vague, but it all comes together in the end. I think that was the best part of the entire book. Learning more about the town and the people living there might have helped make this story more full for me. That seemed to be where things made the most sense.

I believe this book will be good for those looking for a light romance/beach read. Otherwise, it might be a bit too incomplete for the intense reader. This is all my opinion, of course. I hope it resonated better for other people. :)

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