Tawna Fenske’s debut novel, Making Waves, is a smart, sassy high-seas adventure with the power to seduce both fans and skeptics of the romance genre. Her innovative plot twists and quirky characters are flat-out fabulous. Having followed Fenske’s blog for the past year, I was prepared for humor — but Making Waves exceeded all of my expectations, and then some. Fenske’s wit kept me turning pages even as my kids argued, the dog chewed up the house, and dishes spilled out of the sink. Once I picked the book up, it was impossible to set it down.
Juli and Alex both have their share of oddities and secrets. She’s carrying her uncle in an elaborate dolphin urn, and he’s planning to enact some highly unorthodox revenge on the boss who canned him a year shy of his pension. When Juli accidentally stows away on Alex’s rented boat, their secrets and their unusual strengths keep them both from sinking.
Fenske’s tagline for the novel applies equally well to her own skills as a storyteller: “As Alex and Juli bare their secrets — and a whole lot more — they find that while normal is nice, weird can be wonderful.” Making Waves is deliciously different in its plot and its characters. There are so many delightful surprises that it’s hard to review the book without giving them away. Be prepared for a beach-side Newlywed Game between strangers and a Strip Battleship scene that will leave you breathless. In between, you’ll cozy up to a bevy of inventive characters, including a former NFL tight end turned master chef in Manolo boots, and a government-sanctioned pirate with a panache for poetics.
Frankly, if you can’t find something to love about this book, your funny bone must be buried in the deepest dark of the deep dark sea. It’s the perfect end-of-summer treat — don’t let it pass you by. After Making Waves, I’ll be reading everything that Fenske publishes, including her next two contracted novels through Sourcebooks. Bring it on — I’m waiting!