Sun and Tycho embark on a relationship with an exchange of poems. He visits her at home. But when Sun is invited down to his parents' beach house for the weekend, events twist in a direction she would never have expected. It seems as if Tycho is still involved with someone else, and then Sun is plunged into a powerful relationship with Mark, who used to be with Nicky, Sun's best friend. Naturally, Sun's life instantly becomes complicated. Nicky won't talk to her, and to make things worse, Sun then falls from her horse and breaks her arm. As Sun struggles to deal with the issues surrounding her first sexual relationship, the secret poem exchange between Tycho and herself continues.
This is the story of Sun, in the last few months of high school. She meets two older guys and everything changes.
It's a story of love and betrayal and heartbreak and loyalty and getting it all mixed up. It seamlessly portrays that adolescent feeling of muddling through a confusion of feelings ~ of wanting independence from your family, and get tangled up in a relationship which can be beautiful and painful. Of being unsure of yourself but determined to keep doing things your way. Of longing.
It also perfectly captures the complication of girl friendships ~ the fights and fierceness of emotion. The nostalgia of growing up together and all changing as you're balancing on the cusp of adulthood.
And the sex. Wow. It's intense ~ losing your virginity and maybe not to the right guy and nothing is like you imagine it would be. I love the exploration of that. This is added to my list of books that explore teen sex brilliantly: with honesty and all the myriad of emotions that come with it.
So far, I've only really mentioned the vibe and the themes in this book. It sounds like a love triangle in the blurb, and in a way it is: but in an honest way ~ in a way where you genuinely are not sure about love and you hold all your hopes and dreams out and there's longing for one guy while being in your first intense relationship with another. The romance is there but it's not all swoon-y all the time ~ it's much more real and layered, at times, it's a smidgen melancholy.
I could describe this book as authentic. It feels like it's written straight from the heart of a teenager. The emotions are subtly handled, a constant yearning and hopefulness mixed up with sadness.
You can feel Sun's parents ache as she barrels along a path that adult hindsight knows will bring pain and possibly stuff things up a crucial time in Sun's life ~ but for Sun, she is a teenager in the moment and Julie Gittus captures that adolescent ache and intensity so marvellously. It's a classic coming of age. And it's written beautifully. There are poems scattered throughout (which Sun exchanges with a guy) which are just divine to read.
When I finished Saltwater Moons last night, I had mixed feelings. There were a lot of things that happened that brought out my anger, but I just could not stop reading. I thought the story was intriguing, the setting was nice, and I really liked the writing. (All the Australian books I've read so far have great writing.) Those must have been the reasons why I couldn't put the book down because I know some of the characters weren't the ones who kept me going.
I couldn't sympathize with the main character Sun. I just wasn't able to fully understand her actions and behavior. She allowed the situation between her and Mark to continue... And for what? She knew what type of person Mark was, so it was pretty obvious where the relationship was headed. She also knew that she had feelings for someone else, Mark's friend Tycho. Now, I might have gotten annoyed with Sun, but I don't believe she was a horrible character. She made mistakes like any normal person. I do believe she learned something and gained strength from all this, but I just don't get why she put herself through that. I wish she had the courage to confront Tycho in the first place instead of allowing Mark to take over.
I didn't like Mark. All the things he said to Sun... I'm sure she's not the first girl to hear those words from him. And every time he was with her it never seemed like he was ever completely there. His behavior might be his way of coping with his stressful home life, but I don't believe that's any excuse. As for Tycho, he didn't get nearly as much page-time as Mark, but from what we did get, he sounded like a nice guy. He definitely wasn't perfect though. At least he sounded better than his friend. I honestly wondered what he thought of Mark & Sun. Because, to me, it was obvious Tycho was interested in Sun and shouldn't Mark have known that? But I guess Mark's too selfish to care. And Sun wasn't strong enough to stop it from happening.
I know it may seem like I didn't like this book, and I know it might not make sense with me saying that I have mixed feelings, but overall... I actually did. I just didn't enjoy the decisions and behaviors of certain characters. So would I recommend this book? Yes. And if the author were to write more books, I would definitely be interested in reading them.