Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Stein, Tammar. 2008. High Dive.
"The phone rang at 6 a.m. Even though I expected it, my heart leapt at the shrill sound. I lunged for the receiver, picking it up before the ring ended, and looked over at my roommate. She'd burrowed deeper undercover. I could see only a skein of hair on the pillow. Good.
I glanced at the clock to begin the countdown. My mom and I had exactly fifteen minutes for the phone call.
Technically, everyone was allowed two fifteen-minute DSN, the military phone system, calls a week, but we rarely managed two. Usually it was one call, which you might think meant we could talk for thirty minutes, but the army doesn't work that way."
Arden's mom is stationed in Iraq. Arden's dad died several years ago in a car accident in Germany. So when our novel opens our heroine, Arden, finds herself a bit confused, a bit lost, a bit angry, a bit sad, and a lot worried. Her mother has decided to sell the family's vacation home in Sardinia (yes, Italy), and Arden has volunteered to help her mom out by closing the place up. She's in college. And as an army brat she's used to taking care of herself, used to change, used to making the best of whatever comes her way. So a trip to Europe on her own shouldn't really be a problem, right?
Arden is about to get a dose (or two or three) of spontaneity. On her plane trip, she meets three college students, three young women from UT who will be vacationing in Paris. They clicked so well on the ride over, they ask Arden to join them. Though she was scheduled to just lay over in Paris and then catch another plane to her destination in Germany, Arden decides to be un-Arden, to try something a bit scary, a bit new.
With this decision, most of Arden's plans go out the window. And this uncomfortableness begins to open up her heart and mind and soul to the possibilities of life--good, bad, ugly. She begins to think about her dad's death, to think about her mom, to be honest with herself and her mom about her worries. War is dangerous, yes. Everyone knows that. And as a nurse, Arden's mom could very well be hurt. But war also changes a person, scars a person. Arden is afraid her mom might be radically different when her tour in Iraq is over later in the year. No doubt about it, Arden's burdens are genuinely heavy.
During these few weeks in Europe--Paris, Florence, Sardinia--Arden learns a bit about life and a lot about herself. It's her chance to become a better, more honest, more vulnerable, healthier Arden.
Rich in detail and featuring well-crafted characters, High Dive is a great book highlighting the nuances of life.
Other Reviews: Teen.reads.com, YA Book Realm, Patchwork of Books,
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews