RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars
Tai Talagi and Ollie Birkstrom have been inseparable since they met as kids, surfing the North Shore of Oahu. Now they live with their best friends and Ollie’s kid brother in a pulled-together family, all of them piled into a run-down beach house. They share cooking, bills, and the saltwater running in their veins. They might have no money, they might argue, they might be in dead end jobs, but they live in Hawaii so it’s always summer. There’s always time for one last wave.
Tai’s spent years shutting down any feelings for Ollie. They’re friends. Their family depends on them. But with Ollie off on his first world tour, with Ollie’s dreams of a pro surfing career finally within reach, their steady world shifts. Is it worth risking their friendship, their family, their dreams for a chance at something terrifying and beautiful and altogether new?
I’m so happy to have read Into the Blue by Pene Henson, it was exactly what I was craving, light, sweet, with zero pauses and awesome characters. The second ones almost stole the MCs roles, and I’m not saying it as a criticism, on the contrary they were all so well done, Sunny, Jamie and Hannah deserved to be put on the spotlight. They are Tai and Ollie family, it couldn’t have been different. After all since they met at thirteen, Tai and Ollie were inseparable and building a family with the most important persons in their life was simple a necessity of the heart. That said, the story focuses a lot on the main couple, thanks to the time they spend around the world following Ollie’s chance at finally pursuing a surfing career. They support each others dreams so it is natural to Tai to travel with Ollie and help him be the number one in the World Surf League. Just then Ollie finally realizes there is more than friendship for them to share.
Into the Blue is well written and engaging, a friends to lovers story fresh and lighthearted. I know nothing about surfing but I wasn’t once left dubious about what was happening. It’s real, in the setting, in the characters, in the action. It is evocative with the great descriptions, I felt myself riding Tai’s boards, I smelled the ocean’s air, I felt Tahiti sand under my feet and I was cooking with Jamie at the Blue House in Oahu.
I’m surprised this book is Pene’s debut novel, I’m hungry for more by the author. I feel to highly recommend it.
The cover art by CB Messer perfectly depicts the book.
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published July 7th 2016 by Interlude Press
Edition Language English