Corner of Ocean and Bay by Gina Azzi

Corner of Ocean and Bay by Gina Azzi
Publication date: June 15th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Nessa Moore has sought reliable stability since her father’s death. Now, she’s over it. Tired of always being the mature adult, constantly worrying about her alcoholic mother, stressing about being able to afford college, she wants to have one normal, carefree, fun summer. And be more like her best friend Jacie.

Jacie Hayes is struggling to overcome the recent breakup with her first love. The one that ripped out her heart and left her devastated. Frustrated and bored with her own self pity, Jacie wants nothing more than to forget about Dylan, to go back to her old ways, her old self. To be the fun loving, live-in-the-moment girl who gossips about boys and sips mojitos.

Best friends since childhood, Nessa and Jacie have been through all their ups and downs together. No matter what. Now, the summer before their senior year of high school, they accept an invitation from Jacie’s aunt to join her in Lockwood Quay, New Jersey, a summer beach getaway.

Determined to make this their best, most memorable, summer yet, both girls push their own boundaries, accept new challenges, and find themselves keeping secrets from each other.

But sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone has consequences.

And some secrets can’t be forgiven.

Or forgotten.

To have a true friend that understands you to your very core is one of the rarest and precious gifts we can come across in this life. To hold these relationships in reverence and to celebrate them in every form they appear is a great reminder of how special these bonds can be. I know in my own life, I have been blessed to come across people, and instantly know that our souls were fashioned of the same fabric. In her novel Corner of Ocean and Bay, Gina Azzi pays tribute to such relationships and explores the depths in which they reside in our hearts.

The storyline that Azzi embarks upon with her characters is nothing short of detailed. You do not want for understanding the motivation behind each action or feeling her characters experience. She pens these aspects of storytelling in such a way that you feel as though you are right there with them, and feeling exactly what the characters are feeling. It also drummed up some emotions that I have experienced in the past, even though my experiences differ from those of Nessa and Jacie. Even in spite of my differences between myself in these characters, I was able to connect with them on a primal, emotional level, as the themes Azzi explores are universal, and transcend the barriers of specificity and even age.

The plot was well constructed and there were no details that I questioned throughout the book. Each action was addressed, even if it may not have been resolved. However, this is so true to life, that no all things get resolved, that it made this reality become even more life like to me. Life does not leave you with everything tied up perfectly, and relationships are never without bumps. Sometimes you simply have to move on, resolution or not, and this is something that Azzi beautifully demonstrated in her work.

I was surprised with the amount of darker content in this book. It from the description, this title appeared to be a coming of age story that explores relationships between young people and how they manage grief and growth. I was not expecting to find drugs sex and alcohol to be so prevalent in the story, especially since it is YA. While I do understand that not all subjects youths deal with are light and airy or lacking substance, it was a slight jolt to come across these themes when there was no indication of their presence in the description. I am fine with titles containing more grit to them, which is how I would describe this book, but I like it when I know it is in the work, not surprised by it while I am reading.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The book is very constructed and the character development is very advanced. I appreciated the depth with which Azzi took her story and really enjoyed living in this reality she so lovingly created for the duration of the work. While it could have done with some trimming down to save on some of the description, it did not take away from the purpose of the plot. Had the description been more clear about the dark content, I think I would have enjoyed it even more.