Summary from Goodreads:
In Shark Bait, readers everywhere met and fell in love with the new girl, Camie Ramsey, and swooned over her sure to be future husband, Tristan Daniels. Now, in The Other Fish in the Sea, the long anticipated second installment of the Grab Your Pole series by Jenn Cooksey, Camie and Tristan are back, but so are their friends!
So, find a breathing apparatus and shimmy into your scuba gear, because it’s finally time to dive deeper into the lives of the GYP gang, but be warned, it’s a big world out there and an even bigger ocean where danger might be lurking around the next corner and realistically, anything could happen.
So, after 3 weeks of ruminating over The Other Fish in the Sea, rewriting and editing this review, and having it completely deleted by Word after finally finishing it, here it is!
I love Jenn Cooksey. I mean absolutely adore. She is so talented and without a doubt a literary genius.
I’m obsessed with the Grab Your Pole series. Honest to goodness, can’t sleep, can’t eat, butterflies in my stomach obsessed. This is what I love about books. The books that literally make me feel everything the characters are experiencing are my favorites. If you ask just about anyone who has read these books, the best part is definitely how connected and invested you, as the reader, become with the characters. I refer to the GYP gang as my imaginary friends. While reading I feel as if I’m their quiet and slightly voyeuristic 9th member. I laugh with them, cry with them, and throw my own personal hissy fits with them. I am ABSOLUTELY not kidding that these books elicit all these emotions and more. You can just ask Andrea at the Bookish Babe who was kind enough to virtually hold my hand through the entire book. So make sure you have a box of tissues on hand for the numerous laugh-out-loud moments and the absolute tear jerkers. You have been warned.
Now onto my favorite part, characters!
I am obsessed with just about every single one of these characters, which is rare. I NEVER like every MC but the GYP gang is special and near and dear to my heart.
So in Shark Bait most of the action revolves solely around Camie and her introduction into the scary waters of public high school. In the Other Fish in the Sea we continue Camie’s journey in navigating said HS and the rough waters of first love. Additionally, we get a glimpse into each of the other three GYP girls’ heads (Jillian, Kate, & Melissa). I’ve seen mixed reactions to said alternating POV’s. Honestly, it totally worked for me. I loved getting a little confused at the beginning of the chapters where it was quite obviously not Camie but I wasn’t sure exactly who. I didn’t find it tedious or cumbersome in the least bit. Plus it was totally awesome to see the gang from each girl’s individual perspective.
So onto Camie and Tristan… when we meet Camie she’s not had much experience with high school social norms. Tristan on the other hand is quite experienced in said social norms as well as shagging on the masses of girls willing to throw themselves into his arms, even if for only a night. In The Other Fish in the Sea we get to see Camie and Tristan navigate their blossoming romance. First loves are the absolute best, especially in high school. Butterflies, nervous anticipation, and all the wonderful warm and fuzzy feelings it elicits. However, with any new and especially first relationship comes the inner turmoil self-doubt and inadequacies rearing their ugly heads. Add this to raging teenage hormones and more often than not it makes for some interesting drama. With this being the first relationship for both Camie and Tristan, they find themselves stumbling along a slightly dangerous path. Camie faces fears of inadequacy in the bedroom while Tristan deals with not only being forced into celibacy but also the ego-blow that probably comes with having a girl literally not drop her panties at the very mention of his name (she exudes a-hell-of-a-lot of self-control). It’s an interesting and captivating relationship to follow along. I totally root for them, though!
Melissa has really become a much more integral part of the gang this time around. She was ever-present in Shark Bait but I feel a lot more connected with her after reading The Other Fish in the Sea. She has her own set of issues to deal with and I was highly impressed with her maturity and ability to feel confident enough in herself to stand by her decisions and not let people make her feel bad for them.
Lonely Pete! Aw, he is just so mysterious and alluring. I feel as if there is so much awesomeness to ensue from him. I’m really wondering who his mystery friend is and hope that it’s revealed in Shark Out of Water! There is so much mystery that truly surrounds him and although we learn a lot more about him in The Other Fish in the Sea, my curiosity and dire need to learn more is becoming all-consuming.
And then there’s my favorite Golden Couple, Kate and “Dear Jeff”. (I will probably almost never actually refer to him as just “Jeff”). They are such an amazing couple. In Shark Bait I was a little unsure of my feelings for Jeff, he seemed like a pretty cool guy but he just did NOT have his shit together. In The Other Fish in the Sea he absolutely blows me away with his new-found maturity. He is amazing and if I didn’t love Kate so much I’d snuggle the ever-loving life out of him. Kate and Jeff are faced with some pretty tough situations in The Other Fish in the Sea and their absolute strength and perseverance is astounding. Although I love Camie and Tristan, IF I had to pick one couple to absolutely make it, it would be Kate and Jeff. I was so excited to get a peek into Kate’s head and see how absolutely enduring and strong her bond with Jeff actually is. It just amazed me. As a couple they exemplify everlasting love.
So let me just stop here for a minute and give wild applause, cheering, and flailing for one of the most badass and awesome book characters in the history of all books. Jillian Ramsey you are a dark goddess and I worship at your thirteen-year-old feet. Jilly is fantastic. Everyone in the book is terrified of her because she is a super sneaky Ninja and specializes in blackmail and reconnaissance galore. I mean, for goodness sake, I AM afraid of her and she’s not even real. (…or is she, I hear she’s inspired by a real life person o.O). Seeing into Jillian’s mind was a little daunting but also completely and totally awesome to the extreme. I think her story is probably my most anticipated. Someone has definitely piqued Jilly’s interest and with her being very secretive and generally seemingly disinterested this is BIG. Additionally, Jillian tells off a certain someone and I literally cheered out loud. She’s incredible, I’m tellin’ ya.
And then there’s the newest member of the GYP gang, Brandon. Oh my God, I didn’t think the gang could get any better or more hysterical. Oh, how wrong I was. Brandon is so devil-may-care and has no issues with putting little punk-ass pre-teens in their place. I honestly was a little wary of him at first. But he’s fantastic, he doesn’t put up with BS and unless you’re being disrespectful and rude he is generally very accepting.
So that pretty much sums up my feelings of the GYP gang which leads me to the actual plot. The plot was magnificently well developed. It contained action in all the right places and Jenn does a WONDERFUL job of writing about some really tough situations. The one story-line is an extremely touchy subject and could have easily ruined the story for me had it not been handled correctly. However, it was handled with such grace (and even appropriate raw language) that I just couldn’t help but be thankful for her amazing ability to convey true-to-life story-lines. Life is not all rainbows and unicorns and more-often-than-not contains the true nitty-gritty which was flawlessly handled in The Other Fish in the Sea. These characters and this story are so beautifully real that they captivate and consume you from beginning to end. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this story to anyone; especially those who enjoy mature YA contemporary. (Yes, I said mature, this story is not for the faint of heart nor those who cannot handle a little foul-language and sexual innuendos!) P.S. For those of you who loves the 80’s and pop culture as much as I do, you are in for a real treat! And don’t worry, even if you don’t get some of the references it really does not detract from the overall story!
I think I’ve raved enough and if you were so kind as to read this entire thing, please go out and buy this book (and Shark Bait) right now!
Here are the links to buy The Other Fish in the Sea:
Jenn Cooksey is a Southern California girl born and bred, and proudly boasts being a member of Grossmont High School’s alumni. She currently resides in the 7th Ring of Hell (aka; Arizona) with her husband (whom she married on a dare while in Las Vegas), their three daughters, and more pets than she has the patience to count. Aside from her husband and one cat, everyone living under the Cooksey’s roof is female. She’s sure her husband will be not only be awarded sainthood when he kicks the bucket, but that Jesus will welcome him into heaven with a beer and a congratulatory high-five. She also believes that Bacon should be capitalized. Always.