I received this book for free from Merit Press, Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 14 years of age due to its use of language, mental illness, sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
{Local Girl Swept Away: Ellen Wittlinger}Local Girl Swept Away by Ellen Wittlinger
Published by Merit Press, Simon Pulse on June 15, 2016
Genres: Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 270
Format: Hardcover
Source: Merit Press, Simon Pulse
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{Synopsis} – Stark, uncompromising, seductive, beautiful – this describes the tourist town of Cape Cod, where a young woman’s body remains to be found. Three friends struggle to come to terms with their missing leader and with the secrets each endeavor to hide.

Set in the Cape Cod village of Provincetown, Massachusetts, this is the story about 17-year-old Jackie’s struggle to overcome her grief and confusion after her best friend is carried out to sea during a storm. Lorna had been the dynamic leader of a tight-knit group of four friends – Jackie, Lucas and Finn – and her disappearance changes the dynamics between the surviving three. Jackie is still hiding her feelings for Finn, who had been Lorna’s boyfriend, and Lucas has withdrawn to the point where Jackie wonders if he is keeping a secret even larger than her own. Meanwhile the future looms, and Jackie fears leaving the only life she has known.

{My thoughts} – Jackie, Finn, Lucas and Lorna are all a group of friends that enjoys one another’s company. They are all in the same grade and are out on summer break from High School. In a few short months they will be seniors and applying for colleges and moving forward with their lives.

Jackie is the main narrator in this story. It begins with the four friends watching a storm roll in while standing on the breakwater. Somehow Lorna ends up in the water, Lucas jumps in and tries to save her, but he is thrown back against the breakwater. Lorna is pulled out into the current and although a body isn’t found she becomes known as the local girl that was swept away and drowned.

Over the next couple of months the three remaining friends try to pick up the pieces. They try to repair their lives, they try to move forward even though Lorna is no longer a part of their world.

I enjoyed reading this book. It has a ton of twists and turns and it really keeps the reader on their feet. It helps the reader to see what it’s like to move on after a big loss impacts your life. I think sometimes that’s the hardest part with loss is moving forward and continuing to live when you’d rather die.

This book helps you to see that even though your life has been greatly effected, that in the end there are far worse things that can impact your life in ways that you may never have thought to be possible.

{Quotes I Enjoyed} –
{1} – “Together the four of us can do anything.” – Lorna in Jackie’s thoughts
{2} – Tess standing in the doorway came to the rescue. “Because you aren’t dead!.” she said. “Because you have to figure out a way to keep living.”
{3} – Spending hour after hour with Finn, even this hollow, miserable shadow of Finn, was almost a dream come true. But it was a dream that arose out of a nightmare, and I felt guilty taking even a tiny bit of pleasure out of it. – Jackie
{4} – “Closure” sounded to me like what happened when the lid of a casket banged shut. Only we didn’t have a casket or a body or a grave. We just had a big hole in our hearts. – Jackie
{5} – “Tragedies never make sense, Jackie!” She sounded completely exasperated. “You kids, you don’t think terrible things can happen, but they can. If you don’t respect the power of the water, it’ll take you down… Nature’s unpredictable, it has no mercy!” – Jackie’s mom
{6} – The terrible thing about forgetting though, was that when you were reminded, the punch was almost as bad as the first time you felt it and it was hard to breather. – Jackie
{7} – “Sometimes you don’t think, Jackie! Of course you hurt my feelings. What did you think? I felt totally rejected. The day you met Lorna was the day you stopped talking to me.” – Charlotte
{8} – “Life sucks sometimes, but if you let yourself sink down into misery, sometimes you can’t find your way our of it. Nothing ever seems good again.” – Cooper
{9} – The photograph was more interesting now, but it didn’t present the actual truth anymore, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Did the truth matter more than beauty – or did enhancing the image bring out a new kind of truth? After all, every time I framed a shot, I chose what reality to show and what to leave outside its borders. Wasn’t that how art worked? You made choices and found your own truth. – Jackie

Final Conclusion: 5 Star Rating.