Synopsis: Tom Alison has it all within his reach. He’s smart, handsome, and about to graduate from a prestigious East Coast boarding school. After that it’s off to the Ivy League and then a job on Wall Street, alongside the power brokers he’s been watching from a distance as the working-class son of a single mom. And then the very life his mother worked so hard to escape catches up with him when he gets busted selling drugs.
Lucky for Tom, there are places for boys and girls with ruined reputations. First, he returns to his roots on the Jersey Shore, reconnecting with a hard-living crew and cementing a bond with his new friend Clare Savage—the son of a recently disgraced financier. The two boys spend their summer surfing and partying. When fall arrives, they head to St. Andrews University in Scotland, a haven for Americans in need of a second chance and a favorite of the British ruling class. Tom and Clare escape to Scotland together, but it’s Tom who discovers a world shaped by even more powerful forces of greed and ambition than the one he left behind. Sucked into a maelstrom of sex, drugs, and status, Tom learns what it takes to break the rules—and how we can be broken by them.
Driven by a cast of young men and women living in an age of riotous prosperity, Down the Shore is an unflinching and unforgettable story of youth steeped in excess. Stan Parish has crafted a gripping novel that masterfully captures the lives of fallen financiers and the people they bring down with them—and reminds us that not even an ocean can separate us from our family, our friends, or our past.
First Line: The birthday girl kicked off her heels and boosted herself onto a barstool to propose a toast.
Random Quote: A cork shot out of a bottleneck, glanced off the ceiling, ricocheted around the room. After two drinks, the alcohol under the sludge of tomato and spice had a constricting effect, as if it were dehydrating everything else in Kelsey's flat. The surfaces, the sunlight shooting through the windows - it all seemed harder, brighter. I wasn't used to day drinking.
|Surfing - Scotland (image source)|
Review: I am a sucker for a book about youthful excess if it's written well. Down the Shore scratches that itch. The tale of Tom Alison, the scholarship student at a fancy boarding school, on probation for selling drugs, with a life and friends that intersect many different social strata. A random encounter at a party brings him into a friendship with Clare Savage, the rich son of a Wall Street financier whose parents have absconded with ill-gotten proceeds leaving Clare adrift on the tide. Together they venture off to St. Andrews University in Scotland - a school famous for second chances.
Down the Shore follows Tom and Clare on their journeys and sweeps us along as we watch the pair begin to grow up, begin to figure out who they are. I imagine that some reviewers may dislike the casual drug use and general narcissism and flailing about in the book, but it was precisely these qualities that made it so real for me - this is what it's like to be young and experimenting with who you want to be. We are none of us paragons of compassionate virtue at 18. Loved the story and its characters, found it all highly entertaining and well worth my time. A great summer read.
FTC Disclosure: Advance copy from publisher for review
Publishing Information: Viking Adult - May 29, 2014