Title: Ocean Beach
Author: Wendy Wax
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
After the events of Ten Beach Road, Nicole, Madeline, and Avery are ready to tackle their next renovation project: a house in Miami. They’re excited by the prospect of a network show, until a camera crew shows up at the building site and it quickly becomes clear that they have much more interest in a reality show than a DIY home renovation show. As tensions simmer and tensions flare, the three women must put aside their frustrations in order to makeover the beautiful but crumbling home.
Ten Beach Road was a bundle of summer fun, so it makes sense that Wendy Wax would want to continue the stories of her characters in a sequel, Ocean Beach. While it isn’t strictly necessary to read these books in order from a storyline perspective, it’s a good idea to do so anyways, as a few lines of summary can’t replace an entire book’s worth of character development. And, in Ocean Beach, the characters are really at the heart of the novel.
Ocean Beach finds Nicole, Madeline, and Avery in much the same place as they were in the previous book. Of course, they’ve grown and become stronger – they now know that they can do something so ambitious as renovating an entire house with little more than their skill, wit, and ability to do backbreaking labor. But Nicole is still struggling to escape from her brother’s shadow, while Avery still wants to prove herself. She’s also still at odds with her mother, while Madeline is still fighting with her husband. It’s a little frustrating to see these characters grappling with the exact same issues they did in the previous novel, but their development in this one is, happily, more thorough.
The network’s desire to meddle in their camaraderie and find the cracks in their relationships is where the major drama in the novel comes from, and it’s well done. The three women don’t want to be the stars of some sort of cheap reality show, despite the wishes of the network. As their stand-off increases and other factors come into play, they wonder if they’ll be able to accomplish the miracle they did with the previous house.
Overall, Ocean Beach is a fun, light read for a day by the pool or on the beach. Though aspects of it can be frustrating, such as the character development, and other parts are difficult to believe, such as the subplot with the house owner’s son, Wax successfully brings together the disparate elements through sheer force of will. Wendy Wax is a talented writer, and it will be interesting to see if she continues with this series or chooses to write another standalone novel.
Other books by Wendy Wax: