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Echoing novels like Karen Russell's Swamplandia! and Carol Rifka Brunt's Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Alexandra Teague's lighthearted coming-of-age debut is perfect for anyone who's navigated the strange seas of adolescence, and lived to tell the tale.
A.Z. McKinney is on the shores of greatness. Now all she needs is a boat.
When the Sea of Santiago appeared overnight in a cow pasture in Arkansas, it seemed, to some, a religious miracle. But to high school sophomore A.Z. McKinney, it's marked her chance to make history--as its first oceanographer. All she needs is to get out on the water.
Her plan is easier said than done, considering the Sea's eccentric owner is only interested in its use as a tourist destination for beachgoers and devout pilgrims. Still, A.Z. is determined to uncover the secrets of the Sea--even if it means smuggling saline samples in her bathing suit.
Yet when a cute, conceptual artist named Kristoff moves to town, A.Z. realizes she may have found a first mate. Together, they make a plan to build a boat and study the Sea in secret. But from fighting with her best friend to searching for a tourist-terrorizing alligator (that may or may not be a crocodile), distractions are everywhere. Soon, A.Z.'s dreams are in danger of being dashed upon the shore of Mud Beach.
With her self-determined oceanic destiny on the line, A.Z. finds herself at odds with everything she thought she knew about life, love, and the Sea. To get what she wants, she'll have to decide whether to sink or float . . . But which one comes first?