Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)
Samantha Rutliff has spent her life trying to stay in the middle of the road, running when things got tough and suffering from an undiagnosed dissociative disorder. After committing a terrible act, she ends up hundreds of miles away in a random beach town, with a large knot on the side of her head and all of her belongings in the back of her car. Determined to stay and start over, she takes a job at a beachside restaurant, which leads to forming a friendship with Smitty, a local lifeguard and surfer.
However, when a body is found in the ocean, a dark underworld of teen and young adult ketamine abuse surfaces, with Smitty at the center of it. Sam and Smitty lean on each other to cope until a secret comes out which threatens to tear them apart. Sam has to decide if she is finally ready to stay and fight for something she believes in or save the tiny bit of herself she has managed to find.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.00 out of 10
Plot/Idea: The bones of this work are solid, but the linear progression of the story is unclear. The story lacks pacing - there is little mystery or tension to keep the reader interested. Telling her tale in a series of shorter flashbacks might be much more effective and would keep the reader engaged.
Prose: The author is a strong writer who handles detail, action, and dialogue well. However, the narrative approach is very straightforward and simple, so there's still room to create some complexity to add richness to the reading experience.
Originality: This is an original work with a distinctive premise and memorable characters.
Character Development/Execution: The author does an effective job with characterization, particularly with Sam and Smitty, offering the reader valuable insight into what makes them tick.
Date Submitted: July 29, 2022
05/01/2022Do Over IPPY Award Winner!
Do Over won a bronze medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in Regional Fiction!