Book Review: Waves by Jared A. Carnie

28676185Title: Waves
Author: Jared A. Carnie
Publisher: Urbane Publications
Pub Date: September 15, 2016
Format: Kindle eBook
Pages: 250
Source: NetGalley
Genre(s): New Adult, (General) Adult Fiction
Rating: ★★★★
Goodreads || Pre-order on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Alex is stuck. Stuck in Essex. Stuck in his childhood home. Stuck in a job he hates. The relationship he’d been counting on all these years has finally fallen apart. He’s run out of things to hope for.

Anxious, uncertain and totally sober, Alex is dragged to the Outer Hebrides by his long-suffering friend, James. Somewhere between the mountains and the sea, Alex is desperate to find something to ignite a spark of life in him again. Through castles, ceilidhs, bothies, lochs, vast beaches and tiny boats, chance meetings and old friends, Alex has to learn that maybe taking responsibility doesn’t mean the end of feeling free.

My review:

I received this eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion of the work.

“There’s no set route after all. No straight road. No one path.”

There’s no crazy plot line. No inciting incident. No revealing climax. This is a real story about real life.

Meet Alex. He is surprisingly sober and unsurprisingly introverted, but I suppose his sobriety doesn’t surprise me that much at all. When you feel like anxiety is consuming you through every pore and crevice of your body, why would you want to pollute your bloodstream with any more toxins? I found Alex’s neuroticism to be both reassuring and disgruntling. I was annoyed a little bit by his seemingly nonchalant attitude, but I also strongly related to the dismissive way he felt about most things. Perhaps I would not have felt so disgruntled if the story didn’t hit so close to home. Regardless, I enjoyed his narrative.

As a young girl, I used to write stories all day long. I was sure that I would become an author. I would end up writing 200, 300, 400-page novels, and yet, I never managed to complete one. Why? Because I couldn’t write an ending if my life depended on it. There I was, spending night after night writing stories about debatably “real people with real problems”, and praying to some vague spot in the sky that I could construct an ending that was something plausible. In real life, things don’t just end. Bad things happen, yes. Sometimes people make bad choices. Sometimes we get hurt. Sometimes the people we care about leave, or worse–they die. But life goes on and we digress. There was always this uncertainty that even I, the author, could never know what would happen to the characters after the last page was written. How could I know? And that’s what this book reminded me about. Things happen. Life goes on. A reader shouldn’t need inciting incidents or plot twists to stay involved in a story, but I understand that this type of literature is not everyone’s cup of tea.

I feel like Alex’s voice is very authentic and revealing about the author. We always write what we know, even if it comes from a very deep place within us. The character growth was minimal, but again, it happened organically and therefore realistically, which I greatly appreciated. Things sort of just happen, as they should, but this may also serve to remind us that sometimes we need to take initiative if we want something to change. If you’re feeling stuck, take a look at what is holding you back. What are you going to do about it?

Aptly named, reading Waves felt like I was sitting in an unknown coastal town, staring out into the water, contemplating all that Life is. This book is a steady reminder to take life one day at a time, and to also take that soul-searching trip away from the city you’re in. I promise it will be good for you. Take your hilariously drunk best friend with you. Take a few books (though I doubt you’ll end up reading any). And maybe make a great new friend while you’re out there.

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