Pulled Under by Michelle Dalton
Series: A Sixteenth Summer novel
Published: May 6th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
304 pages (ARC)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: From Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
A shy teen befriends an attractive beach town tourist in this refreshing summertime romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.
In the small town of Pearl Beach, Florida, Izzy Lucas needs only her surfboard and the water to be completely happy. She wants nothing to do with parties, popularity contests, or showing her face around the clichéd touristy hangouts. Izzy’s tight group of coworkers at the local surf shop have tried relentlessly to break shy Izzy out of her (sea)shell. But Izzy isn’t interested…until the day Ben Barker walks into the store.
Ben’s from the city. He’s cute, charming, and wants her help adjusting to beach town culture. As the weeks of surfing lessons and pizza shack visits fly by, Izzy and Ben realize their attraction goes beyond mere friendship. But Ben is only in town for three months, and Izzy wonders if this amazing guy is worth stepping out of her comfort zone for what might be the perfect summer romance—or her first heartbreak.
Pulled Under is a really sweet summer read that’s perfect for the beach or a lazy day when you want something light and fun.
As a shy girl myself, I connected easily with Izzy. She talked a lot about being an introvert, and I definitely saw a lot of myself in her. She had a great voice - funny and smart. She was a very realistic sixteen-year-old girl; there were times I wanted to shake her, but at sixteen, of course she’s not always going to make the best decisions or handle certain situations in a mature way. I liked that she had flaws, and I also liked that she grew as a person.
Ben was adorable. I love a boy who’s able to laugh at himself as well as make other people laugh. His relationship with Izzy was slow and sweet, very innocent and believable.
The highlight of the book for me was Izzy’s family and friends. I loved how close she was to her loved ones. Her friends were true friends, very supportive and caring, and her parents weren’t the typical absentee parents we usually see (or rather don’t see) in a lot of YA. Her dad was awesome and hilarious, and ended up being one of my favourite characters.
Something else I really liked about this book was all the surf talk. I didn’t know much about surfing, but I learned a lot reading Pulled Under, and it was really interesting. Toward the end it started to feel like a little too much surfing, and people who aren’t interested in surfing might get bored with it, but I’m the type of person who loves learning new things, so I found it mostly enjoyable.
I really liked the ending. At first it seemed like everything would be wrapped up a little too neatly, but it wasn’t. I usually have mixed feelings about open endings but I thought this was more realistic, and I was left feeling satisfied.
If you’re looking for a book with a sweet romance, lots of humour, and a great portrayal of female friendships, I highly recommend Pulled Under.
Have you read Pulled Under? What did you think? If you haven't read it, is it on your TBR list? Have you read any of Michelle Dalton's other books?