Surf Ed.

Surf Ed.

by Karol Ann Hoeffner

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Overview

Molly Browne and her mother have just moved to Hermosa Beach, California, when Molly discovers that some of her credits from her old school won't transfer. Determined not to suffer through two years of Loser PE, Molly bluffs her way into Surf Ed. — despite the fact that she has no idea how to surf. With the help of her surfing instructor, Duke, and her new crush, Kai, Molly finally makes it past the breakers. But she soon learns that surfing is only part of what the class will teach her....

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442414181
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 07/01/2010
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

ONE

I moved from Lubbock, Texas, to Hermosa Beach, California, exactly eight days, four hours, and fifty-seven minutes before the beginning of my junior year. Eight days, four hours, and fifty-seven minutes to unpack my boots, hang up my Tim McGraw poster, and find a new friend, which was entirely my mother's idea. I had spent my whole lifetime in Lubbock working my way up the social food chain. When I left town, I was on the bottom of the B-list with only one true friend. What made my mom think I could find a new one in eight days, four hours, and thirty-six minutes before the start of classes? (Time passes when you're blogging.) The way I figured, I had barely enough time to decide what to wear.

Molly rested her hands on the keyboard of her laptop and fixed her eyes on the unpacked boxes that rose from floor to ceiling in her double-wide trailer like cardboard mountains. She wanted to post that stark image on her MySpace blog, but that meant actually finding her digital camera. Deciding it was worth the effort, she maneuvered through the cramped living room, scanning the handwritten box labels. She ripped open one marked MOLLY'S STUFF only to find a carton full of mismatched Tupperware containers. So much for her mom's stellar organizational skills. Once more, Molly puzzled over her mom's sudden decision to leave Texas for California. Lynette had packed up their sprawling, ranch-style home in a record thirty-six hours and fifty-two minutes, exactly two weeks before escrow closed. They left the Lone Star State under the cloak of darkness like thieves stealing away in the middle of the night. For miles and miles,Molly prayed that her mother would U-turntheir Ryder truck around and head back to West Texas. She didn't give up hope until they pulled intoWilliams, Arizona. There, at the Gateway to the Grand Canyon, she finally accepted that life as she knew it had officially ended.

Molly had spent three days sorting through stacks of mislabeled boxes, unsuccessfully searching for her favorite pieces of clothing. She finally found her camera in a container marked KITCHEN SPICES. Squeezing her small frame in between the boxes, she held the camera at arm's length and started snapping. Her eyes were her best feature, mainly because she had long lashes, which meant she didn't have to wear mascara, a wonderful asset because she thought makeup in general was more trouble than it was worth. But the problem was that the angle she chose unintentionally made the boxes look gi-normous and made Molly appear even smaller than she was. Barely over five feet tall, Molly was petite, a term she hated. She felt that labeling people was degrading to begin with and that labeling them by size was a major crime. She was built straight up and down, with no real girly curves. She was slender enough, but she was soft. Exercise was not her forte, which was why she was very proud of her flat, washboard stomach. When commented upon, she liked to point out that she had never done a sit-up in her life.

Lynette had left an hour earlier for her late shift at a defense contractor plant just south of LAX. Molly was effectively on her own, which she didn't mind. Not one bit. Only a little hungry, even though it was almost six thirty, Molly wandered from the living room into the kitchen, which only took about one and a half seconds. Her West Texas home had three whole rooms in between the kitchen and living room. Molly felt strange about a new family moving into her old house, as if the walls held private memories and secrets that the new family had access to, instead of her. If walls could talk, would they whisper what terrible thing had happened in those rooms? As far as Molly knew, her parents hardly even fought. What could have been so hideous that it would make her mother leave her dad, file papers for a divorce, and give up a beautiful suburban home for a double-wide in Hermosa? Every time she questioned her mom about the divorce or the move, Lynette offered up the same flimsy excuse: "Well, I don't want to say anything bad about your dad."

On the chipped Formica table was a pair of chopsticks, a box of microwave ramen noodles, a gerbera daisy plopped in an empty soda can, and a hand-scribbled note that read: "See you in the morning, honey. Enjoy your dinner." Back in Lubbock, her mom cooked a home-made dinner every single night. They only did take-out when she was sick. Was her mom's cheery note some kind of joke, a feeble stab at the ironic? Molly sighed, twisted her thick, shoulder-length, coffee-colored hair into a bun at the back of her neck, and grabbed one of the chopsticks off the table to secure it. She scooped up her house keys off the table and left through the back door.

Outside were thirty mobile homes crowded on a cracked asphalt pad. To the west an enormous sand dune, covered in verbena, towered over the park ominously. It seemed to Molly like one little tremor in the earth's shelf could send an avalanche of sand down upon them, bury the entire park, and condemn the residents to a gruesome death.

"Marineland Mobile Park has been here for sixty years and has survived several major quakes," the landlady, Miz Boyer, told them when they moved in, offended by Molly's doomsday scenario. None of the residents of Marineland Mobile Park knew their landlady's first name, so they all pronounced "Miz" with a "z" because that's the way she said it.

Molly walked under the iron archway, leaving the dreary trailer park behind. She stepped onto Pier Avenue, the busy main street of her new home, a tiny Southern California beach hamlet whose brightly painted storefronts were at odds with Molly's mood. She passed a bakery called Yak and Yeti's, a sushi bar that was actually a bar, a French lingerie store, and a funky British record store (and, yes, it actually said RECORD on the neon sign). She saw girls wearing bikinis and belly rings, old men in Hawaiian shirts walking their dogs, young singles in Juicy Couture smocked dresses, soccer moms corralling their charges, Emo rockers in too-tight, too-old clothes, kids on skateboards, and Hollywood hipsters down for the day. Most were wearing flip-flops — so many, in fact, that Molly wondered if the thong sandal was the California state shoe. In West Texas she had been on the cutting edge of cool, but the cultural sand had shifted. Here in this beach town, she felt like somebody's grandmother in her cowboy boots with yellow roses, a pair of Bermuda shorts, and a vintage tee from Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic, circa 1984.

When a four-year-old girl in teeny, tiny flip-flops whispered to her mother as she pointed at Molly's cowboy boots, Molly ducked into a funky surf shop with "used boards — fifty bucks" lined up like dominoes outside the front.

Inside, she quickly moved past the racks of expensive, designer surf wear (Roxy, Quicksilver, and Hurley) to the back of the store, where an entire wall was devoted to ultracool flip-flops. The choices were endless: brown leather, black suede, thin or thick straps, tan with turquoise, and ones with beaded medallions. They even had hot pink studded with rhinestones, dressy enough to wear to the prom. All of them were overpriced, in Molly's opinion. In her former life, Molly thought nothing of paying fifty dollars for a pair of shoes and hundreds for cowboy boots, but forty dollars for a little leather strap attached between your toes seemed outrageous. Molly flagged down a young salesman with tattoo-covered arms.

"Do you have any plain, ol' rubber flip-flops?" Molly asked.

"Do we look like Wal-Mart?" he asked.

As if Wal-mart would hire a guy with spiked purple hair and shoulder-to-wrist tattoos.

"Do you have anything a little less expensive?" she asked.

He pointed dismissively to a sale bin of rubber thongs adorned with garish plastic flowers, last year's model on sale for a mere five bucks. Partial to roses, as evidenced by the ones on her boots, she chose a pair adorned with pale yellow rosebuds and left the store with her boots tucked away in a Roxy shopping bag, feeling much better about her outfit, if not herself.

The palm-tree-lined piazza that led to the pier was jumping. It was last call for summer, and happy hour was cranked up to maximum speed. Twenty-something singles spilled out of the bars onto the patios, soaking up the warm sun along with their beers. Next door to the bar, Molly spotted a group of kids more her age at Java Boy, celebrating the last week of vacation with legal intoxicants, fancy coffee drinks. Molly was struck by how fused these kids seemed with their surroundings, how perfectly at home. She longed to be one of the girls sitting at the table under the awning, sipping a frothy cappuccino and flirting with the easy laugh of confidence.As Molly passed by, one of the guys at the table actually smiled at her. While Molly mentally scrambled for a clever icebreaker, she was clipped from behind, her feet jerked out from under her. She landed unceremoniously on her butt, right in front of the guy she was trying to impress. A blur shot passed her, what looked to be a dog leashed to a skateboard.

And, in fact, that's just what it was. Molly had been tripped up by a local legend, a tall, tanned, thirty-year-old woman who used her pit bull to power her skateboard.

Everyone at the table started laughing. They couldn't help themselves. It was hard to tell who looked more ridiculous: Molly splayed out on the pavement, or the woman on the skateboard, screaming at her leashed dog to keep going. Molly wasn't about to be the victim of a hit-and-run by some weird California New Age version of a dogsled. She struggled to her feet and yelled, "Hey you — stop! Come back here."

The skateboarder yanked the leash, and the pit bull careened to a stop. She flipped off her skateboard and turned around, revealing enormous, surgically enhanced breasts. "Why?" she yelled back.

"Well, I might be hurt. Did you ever think about that?"

"Well, what do you expect me to do?" the woman asked snarkily, and the dog growled.

An unidentified male voice rang out, "How about you start with saying, 'I'm sorry'!"

Molly turned to see the owner of that amazing, compassionate voice. She involuntarily grabbed a small intake of air; it was almost a gasp. He looked as good as he sounded, the poster boy for California cool. He wore board shorts and a serious expression. His tan chest was as bare as his feet, and he had deep, soulful eyes. He scowled at the skateboarder, demanding justice. She flipped her hair haughtily.

"Asshole," the skateboarder replied, not about to be lectured on social protocol by someone ten years her junior, even if he was stunning. She jumped on her board, cracked the leash, and her pit bull took off at a run, presumably to terrorize other unsuspecting pedestrians. Before Molly could turn to thank him, the barefoot Adonis tucked his surfboard under his arm and disappeared into the surf shop. She brushed off her shorts and continued, as grateful for his show of kindness as she was disappointed in having lost the opportunity of meeting him face-to-face.

Molly reached the end of the plaza and gazed out across the expanse of white sand leading to the water. The young surfer's good looks and soulful stare may have made her gasp, but this view of the ocean took her breath away. To the north, the Santa Monica Mountains pushed their way far out to the sea, and to the south, the lush, green hills of Palos Verdes rose majestically. Stretched out in front of her was the boundless Pacific Ocean, a god-touched sunset spilling into the azure waters in pools of fiery color. As she gazed across the vista, she considered the fact that she now lived at the place where land ends.

CRASH! Molly's reverie was interrupted by the banging of trash cans. An old guy — at least thirty-five, maybe even forty — staggered out of a raggedy bar called the Paradise Inn and smashed into the trash cans lined up outside. He had a scraggly beard, a short ponytail, and skin aged by the sun to a leathery brown. He looked vaguely familiar; she thought she recognized him from Marineland Mobile Park, that he lived in the fourth trailer from the gate, the one with half a dozen surfboards parked out front. Clearly drunk, he fumbled for his keys.

"Are you okay?" Molly asked, walking toward him. Five minutes ago she had been victimized by a stranger only to be the recipient of the kindness from another one. She decided to pay forward the kindness by lending a helping hand to a fellow human being who could clearly use assistance. It was the right thing to do. And, besides, she needed all the karmic brownie points she could muster. "Look, you're too messed up to drive. Can I call somebody to come get you?" she asked, flipping out her cell.

He looked up at her, startled. A wave of gratitude passed over his face just before he turned pea green and blew chow. Molly jumped back, but not quickly enough. Her brand-new flip-flops, not to mention her feet, were sprayed by his vomit. Speechless, he waved apologetically and weaved his way back to the Paradise Inn, flinging open the door and disappearing back into the bowels of that raucous establishment. Stunned, Molly stared at her ruined sandals.

Back home, Molly returned to her blog.

Okay, let's recap. My new home is a double-wide in a tacky trailer park. I can't find the box with my clothes in it. And so far today, I've been knocked on my butt, laughed at, and thrown up on. Makes you wonder what could possibly happen next. Oh yeah, school. Perfect.

Copyright © 2007 by Karol Ann Hoeffner

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Surf Ed. 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW this was an amazing book! I loved it! I read it in one day! I fell in love with the plot the moment I opened the book! MOst of the time you open a book and it starts really slow but this one is always moving at a fast pace! WONDERFUL!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with Kai! Oh My God.. this book was so good! I think it could have had a better ending but with all the trauma of duke it was hard to have her run to Kai or something like that that always happens in a love story! This was very romantic
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutley love this book. The characters are so real and you immediately fall in love with them. I recommend this to any teenage girl who loves romance and drama.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the book was great. the realness of the characters. i was really romantic.