Welcome to Beach Town

Morrow. Jun. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780062914163. $30. F
Wiggs’s (Sugar and Salt) timely, unputdownable coming-of-age novel is set in fictional Alara Cove, CA, “Surfer City, U.S.A.” Former self-described trailer-park kid Nikki Graziola, scholarship student and valedictorian at the prestigious Thornton Academy, had a bright future in store until she went off-script during her commencement speech and revealed the school’s cover-up of a hazing incident that killed her best friend. Her whistleblowing implodes her life, so when she’s offered a chance to compete in the Global Surfing League in Australia, she jumps at it. Fifteen years, minor fame, and little fortune later, Nikki faces another life-changing tragic event that leaves her no choice but to return home. Readers will be awed by this novel’s flawless narrative. Wiggs spins a poignant and convincing yarn while epitomizing her very believable cast of eclectic characters, including Nikki; she is a heady mix of vulnerability and tenacity, a woman who is not afraid of new challenges or of learning and growing from her past.
VERDICT Fans of the prolific Wiggs and of strong women protagonists will stay up all night to finish this speeding bullet to the best-seller list.
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