Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Book Review: "We Run the Tides" by Vendela Vida

We Run the Tides is a provocative, powerful coming-of-age novel and a look at the uneasy path to finding your own way.

“We are thirteen, almost fourteen, and these streets of Sea Cliff are ours. We walk these streets to our school perched high over the Pacific and we run these streets to the beaches, which are cold, windswept, full of fishermen and freaks.”

In mid-1980s San Francisco, Eulabee and her best friend, the charismatic Maria Fabiola, are on the cusp of womanhood. They and their friends attend an all-girls’ school and they know their neighborhood well, as well as the characters that inhabit the houses around them.

One day while walking to school, a man talks to Eulabee and her friends. At that moment something traumatic purportedly happens, at least according to Maria Fabiola and their two friends. But Eulabee’s insistence on adhering to what she saw rather than follow Maria Fabiola’s lead leaves her on the outside looking in, the subject of ostracism by her classmates.

Shortly thereafter, Maria Fabiola disappears. The daughter of a wealthy family, she is believed kidnapped, but Eulabee wonders what the truth is. And as she tries to make sense of being shunned by her friends, to understand her burgeoning sexuality, she finds herself caught up in the stories Maria Fabiola weaves.

This was a quirky but well-told book about the fragility of friendships, particularly among teenage girls, and the pressure to decide how much of yourself needs to change in order to fit in. The whole thing seemed a bit improbable but I remembered its 1980s setting.

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