Review copy was received from NetGalley, Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Welcome to Beach Town by Susan Wiggs
Narrator: Brittany Pressley
Published by Avon, HarperAudio on June 20, 2023
Genres: Life Fiction
Length: 10 hours, 38 minutes
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Every town has its secrets...
In idyllic Alara Cove, a California beach town known for its sunny charm and chill surfer vibe, it's graduation day at the elite Thornton Academy. At Thornton, the students are the worldly and overindulged children who live in gated enclaves with spectacular views. But the class valedictorian is Nikki Graziola, a surfer's daughter who is there on scholarship. To the shock of everyone in the audience, Nikki veers off script while giving her commencement address and reveals a secret that breaks open the whole community. As her truth explodes into the light, Alara Cove will face a reckoning.
Nikki Graziola's accusation shakes the foundation of Alara Cove, pitting her against the wealthy family whose money runs the town. Her new notoriety sends Nikki into exile for years, where she finds fame--but not fortune--overseas as a competition surfer...until a personal tragedy compels her to return to Alara Cove.
This author continues to impress me with her life fiction with characters who struggle and grow and love, where everything does not go smoothly and joy can be found in unexpected places. These realistic and imperfect characters are so easy to love.
The setup is classic with the haves and have nots at a elite high school in a beach town. The haves push the envelope with outrageous behavior because they can get away with it. They control politics and even law enforcement to get what they want whether it is overlooking criminal behavior or getting land they want for developments to fill their pockets.
Nikki is a girl who grew up with a single dad and foster care. She was able to make her own way with surfing skills, strong academics, and her art. She has a scholarship to go to art school but after her friend dies, she can’t help but speak the truth as valedictorian at graduation. So then she falls in love with an Australian surfer and goes on tour.
Fifteen years later, Nikki comes home. This allows her to reconnect with her dad, who is a single dad again with a two year old, Gloria. She also has an adult friendship with her art mentor and former foster parent. The heart of the story is here as she grows in her connections with family and old friends and finds her life and love. She is still a truth teller though and the stakes are higher now.
I loved the way Nikki kept herself going and worked through problems. She was smart and not afraid of big ideas and taking a few risks. It couldn’t have been easy to come home and rebuild after losses but she does it with courage. This author excels at creating characters with heart and perseverance through challenging circumstances.
I have appreciated Pressley’s narration previously and I enjoyed it here. The emotions and tones felt right for the ages and genders, including children. The appropriate voices allowed me to stay in the story and enjoy the performance. I was able to listen at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
- Sunday Post – 10 December 2023 @kimbacaffeinate @readingreality - December 10, 2023
- Series on Saturday: Alien Edition @mightymur @lara_adrian @CaraBristol @AnnaHackett #RubyDixon #JackCampbell #Aliens #SeriesOnSaturday - December 9, 2023
- 🎧 Fall by Tracy Clark @tracypc6161 @ChanteMcCormick #BrillianceAudio #LoveAudiobooks #KindleUnlimited🎧 - December 7, 2023
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: