Winner of the Cybils Award for Poetry Novel, Diana Farid's Wave is a coming-of-age novel in verse set in 1980s Southern California, about a Persian American girl who rides the waves, falls, and finds her way back to the shore, illustrated by Kris Goto. Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
A School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Book 2022
A Golden Poppy Finalist for Mirrors & Windows and Middle Grade Thirteen-year-old Ava loves to surf and to sing. Singing and reading Rumi poems settle her mild OCD, and catching waves with her best friend, Phoenix, lets her fit in--her olive skin looks tan, not foreign. But then Ava has to spend the summer before ninth grade volunteering at the hospital to follow in her single mother's footsteps to become a doctor. And when Phoenix's past lymphoma surges back, not even surfing, singing, or poetry can keep them afloat, threatening Ava's hold on the one place and the one person that make her feel like she belongs. With ocean-like rhythm and lyricism, Wave is about a girl who rides the waves, tumbles, and finds her way back to the shore. "Raw and powerful, this free verse novel honestly explores issues of identity, culture, grief, and hope . . . Rich, layered, and heart-rending." --Kirkus Reviews
- ISBN-13: 9781951836580
- ISBN-10: 1951836588
- Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
- Publish Date: March 2022
- Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.59 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
- Page Count: 320
- Reading Level: Ages 10-13
For Ava, being 13 years old in 1987 means surfing with her friends, making mixtapes filled with U2 and Bon Jovi songs and reluctantly becoming a volunteer at the Southern California hospital where her mother is an obstetrician. But Ava often feels caught between two identities: Born in the U.S. after her mother began medical school, Ava fumbles through traditional Persian tea services and sometimes experiences anti-Iranian harassment.
Ava’s mother wants her to become a doctor, while Ava’s relationship with her absent father is strained. Ava also can’t seem to stop compulsively checking on little things throughout the day, like whether she’s pulled the right textbooks before walking away from her locker at school. Thrumming beneath all this is Ava’s love for her best friend and fellow surfer, Phoenix, whose Hodgkin lymphoma has returned after years of remission.
Author Diana Farid, a physician, poet and beach enthusiast, fills this novel in verse with vibrant details of Persian cuisine, surfing culture and the ins and outs of the hospital where Ava and her mother work. YA fiction protagonists have trended increasingly older in recent years, so Farid takes a risk in making Ava a younger teen. Yet Ava is as complex a creation as older YA protagonists, and her feelings toward everything from her first choir solo to her friend's illness are honest, tangled and profound. When asked if she thinks she can stop a metaphorical wave, Ava replies, “No, but I can stay / with the wave. / I can hold on to it.”
Many of the poems that compose Wave are concrete poems, in which typography and on-page design are inextricable from the poetic lines. In one instance, letters that spell out inhale and exhale are spaced so widely that they span the entire page, conveying the big, intentional breaths Ava takes as she dives into a wave with her surfboard. Farid’s word choices are often as meaningful as their design: Water bubbles “tumble tumble / rumble” onomatopoetically, and careful readers will appreciate the many different appearances and articulations of the titular “wave.”
Intricate dark blue line drawings by Kris Goto and quotations from the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi accompany Farid’s text, which ends with the track lists of Ava’s and Phoenix’s mixtapes for each other. Queue them up on your favorite music platform for the perfect soundtrack to this “whirlucent tide / we get to ride.”