I have a soft spot for stories about teenage girls, even more so when they’re written for an adult audience. I suppose it is a self-indulgent subject, but I really enjoy reading about the inner lives of girls and their friendships. One of my favorite novels in this little genre is Megan Abbott’s Dare Me, which is so honest and incisive that it was a bit painful to read. Vendela Vida has a similar ability to expose the inner workings of teenage female friendships, and while We Run the Tides was still painful to read at times, it takes a much more compassionate and lighthearted approach.
It’s 1984. Eulabee and her best friend, Maria Fabiola, are walking to their school in Sea Cliff, an upscale neighborhood in San Francisco, when they witness something upsetting. Except nothing happened, and Eulabee doesn’t understand why Maria Fabiola is lying to everyone. Maria Fabiola brands Eulabee a traitor for not going along with the story, and Eulabee is left friendless and ostracized. But then, Maria Fabiola disappears, and the neighborhood is swirling with rumors about what has happened to her.
This was another excellent recommendation by one of my favorite reviewers, Vulture’s Molly Young. I tore through this novel in just over two days – it’s a compulsive read that expertly mixes a coming-of-age story with mystery and humor. Vida has filled the novel with interesting characters, all of whom come alive on the page, and she manages to make Sea Cliff more than just a backdrop.