Literary Hoarders Reviews Sneaker Wave

Four mismatched teens. One act of violence. One nod by each of them to agree it never happened. This raucous yet poignant story of friendship, loss and long-denied regret springs to life in the dying days of high school in a seaside Pacific Northwest town. It’s a haunting journey into the gaps between right and wrong, between harmless half-truths and disastrous self-deception.

Sneaker Wave is the second book read in a set of four that Oolichan Books so wonderfully sent to us last year. The first one read was the (wonderfully excellent) short story collection, What Echo Heard by Gordon Sombrowski. My plan was to read Silent Inlet by Joanna Streetly next, but something kept nibbling away at the back of my head to pick up Sneaker Wave by Jeff Beamish instead. I cannot tell you how grateful I am now to that little voice that told me to reach for this book, and how sad in a way it felt that I had waited as long as I did to read it.

Jeff Beamish is a newspaper editor and reporter for a Vancouver newspaper, and you can really tell the experiences he comes across in that newsroom deeply affect his storytelling and shows very well in this fantastic and gripping story here. Bravo on this debut! Sneaker Wave was one of those books that I could not put down once I started, and shhhhh, please don’t tell anyone, but I spent one afternoon with my door closed to my office at work and finished reading this story. It has everything you could possibly ask for in a rollicking great read: both in the characters that are achingly flawed and rendered to perfection, and in the haunting storyline that tells of the consequences one action caused to alter so many lives for so many years and in such tragic ways. It was a stunning read.

This is a “review” that appeared for Sneaker Wave in the Vancouver Sun. Sorry though Jeff, I do not think this really does justice for your novel at all, and I was profoundly disappointed after reading it. You will have to trust me when I say that the story contained inside Sneaker Wave is an excellent one and one that comes fully alive due to the quality of Beamish’s writing, characters and storyline.

There were times when reading where the characters reminded me of those in “The Breakfast Club“. But please, do not take this as meaning they are clichéd set of teenagers. There is nothing at all clichéd about these people, about Brady, Sarah, Luke and Sam. It was just their characteristics and the unusual grouping of these teenagers coming together as friends and maintaining/respecting their vow of silence and secrecy.

Sarah: she is so perfectly rendered, she is the perfect encapsulation of a well-off teenage girl that fighting hard to resist her privileged upbringing. She works hard to always surround herself with people that will annoy her father the most. But as the story evolves following that one night of that tragic “accident”, the details of how Sarah spirals out of control and into this unfortunate life filled with sadness and desperation will take your breath away. Her downfall is heartbreaking.

Read more on Literary Hoarders.

Review referent: