Twenty-year-old Willow Avery is out of rehab again but this time the movie celebrity is determined to get back on track with her life. Focusing on her next project, a remake of a surfer movie called Tidal, Willow heads to Hawaii, where she meets Cooper, who is originally from Australia but is now living in Hawaii. As luck would have it, the handsome twenty-two-year-old will be Willow’s surf instructor.
In spite of the lack of paparazzi and distractions of Hollywood glamor and glitter, Willow battles loneliness and rejection she feels from her parents’ continual neglect. With only a handful of people by her side, Willow struggles to keep her head above water and focus on her work and not the scars, emotional and otherwise, that continue to threaten her success.
Author Emily Snow does a good job of conveying the plot of a girl who is lost and struggling to make sense of her life. With its fame and superficiality, the characters are somewhat undeveloped, relying on straight out statements rather than showing: “the way his blue eyes alternated between confusion and want and astonishment made me want to melt into him.”
Though Willow’s circumstances make her a somewhat sympathetic character, her parents’ neglect is overstated and her actions are somewhat confusing–alternating between sweet, snarky, melodramatic and petulant– for example, her reaction to Cooper and his ex girlfriend.
Though the friends, Eric, Paige and Cooper himself are somewhat flat clichés of surfers and the Aussie surfer dude, their kinship with one another is clear and endearing. It is also the genuine friendship and caring that draws Willow out of her insecurities and confusion.
The narrative itself features some pesky and distracting typos. The numerous f-bombs and odd sentence structure may intentionally reflect the culture of the movie industry or the surfer’s culture, but its immoderate use adds to the dramatics of some situations and disrupts the flow of the narrative: “To Paige and Eric, who were now organizing sunblock bottles in the compartment behind the counter, I said, “See you guys soon.””
This distraction can also be noticed in the showy smiles: “it felt like there were flamethrowers being held to either side of my head”, and “I felt like the sea could drain dry and he wouldn’t even notice”, or “…my world felt like it was spinning of its axis.”
There also appears to be lack of continuity with the element of suspense. “The telltale scar”, though hinted at several times during the storyline, doesn’t appear during an obvious moment when it would be revealed to Cooper, with the attention instead of his scar and his stories that parallel Willow’s experiences.
TIDAL offers some high points for those who are looking for a light reading but is heavy on Hollywood cliché and dramatics.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader