Author: Julie Gittus
Publication Date: 8/7/08 (no US date yet)
Publisher: Lothian Books
Blurb (GR): In the beginning it seems so simple. A poem in the mail. A weekend invitation to the coast. But when Sun says yes to a midnight walk, her life becomes suddenly complicated. Saltwater Moons tells the story of Sun Langley during her final months of Year Twelve. There's the intensity of her first relationship, complicated by the fact she continues to exchange poems with her boyfriend's best mate. It's a story about love and betrayal, about constantly longing for the things we can't have.
Look out, it’s another Aussie YA book. And another Aussie author who has strong writing skills and uses evocative language. This one ended up being around a 3.5 for me but it still puts a lot of American YA to shame. Of course, and we’ve had this discussion many a time, it is probably because there is so much more American YA so we have to wade through the muck to find the gems. Er, or whatever else you could find in the muck. Clearly, I am no Aussie YA author as I just gave you the mental image of swimming in mud to look for gemstones and that is ridiculous…but it kind of makes me want to go to the spa. But while we’re off on a tangent, let me just tell you about the mental image I am having right now: Aussie YA characters vs. American YA characters in a dance-off West Side Story-style. Sharks v. Jets. (When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet for life) Du-da-nuh-na-na. I bet Jonah Griggs, Rhino, Thomas Mackee, and Tycho could really bring it in a dramatic gang fight. And don’t even try to tell me they’d be going up against Edward Cullen. I’d schedule it for noon in full sunlight, just to be sure.
Aaaand, I’m back on topic. Sunday lives outside the suburbs with her parents, brother, and her horse, Gio. While she doesn’t have too much experience, her best friend Nicky has been fooling around with guys for a few years. Sun meets Nicky’s boyfriend, Mark, and his friend Tycho when they all hang out together. Tycho is one of those contemplative, endearing surfer dudes that seem to exist in abundance in Australia or at least in Australian YA. (whatever, I am not sick of them yet) Even after Mark breaks up with Nicky, Tycho and Sun still talk once in a while, but events take a turn after Tycho invites Sun down to his place for the weekend. It should come as no surprise that alcohol serves as the impetus for the event that sets up the rest of the plot. I just wish all the characters would say the things they mean to say or inquire to see if what they are believing is, in fact, true. I suppose it is realistic, though. Can you really fault me for wanting two characters that work so well together to just be together?
Which brings me to Tycho and Sunday. I love poetry but let’s be honest, a lot of it is pretentious. I thought it was lovely the way Tycho and Sunday sent each other poems in the mail, and I enjoyed most of them. BUT, I couldn’t help but wonder what the inspiration for this book was and whether the author just loves all these poets and wanted to include them in her book. And I’m not trying to be a jerk, I LIKED THEM! Poems can be truly amazing—in some instances, they can replace the feeling of an entire speech with just a few lines. They can evoke emotion and describe experiences so well that I think I’m there. BUT, I think it is cheesy when people read poetry to each other. Just tell the person how you feel. To their face. In your own words. Make up your own metaphors. Sure, someone has said what you want to say before (or seemingly so), but it means more if you actually put it into words yourself instead of copying the emotions of someone else. Unless you are far apart (cue Richard Marx), then write away and poem yourself to death. But if you are living near each other, just use poems every once in a while, when they actually mean something. /personal gripe Just kidding, my gripe isn’t over yet. Say there is a really awesome guy. He has all sorts of quirky habits that are adorable. He sends you frakking poems in the mail and brings your mom seedlings for your garden. He drives you home when his lame friend can’t pick you up. You know who does these types of things? GUYS THAT LIKE YOU. I mean, it was about as subtle as a brick to the head.
So, in short, this book is for you if you love poetry, you like artistic surfer dudes, you enjoy reading about family discord, you are piling up your Aussie YA books, or you just want a solid read. I definitely enjoyed it and I will read whatever else Julie Gittus writes.