Courtney, known to the world at large as Ace, is the poster girl for surfing supplier Ocean Pearl. A shoo-in for the team, going to training camp for selection is just a formality – she’s more concerned about her relationship with pro-surfer Tim. All he seems interested in is her body, but who will like her if they’re not together?
Georgie loves surfing, but over the past few months her enthusiasm has waned. Once she aspired to be like her role model, Ace, but now the idea of going to an elite training camp fills her with dread – something about the pressure of competition has taken all the joy of it and left only anxiety.
Georgie’s best friend Kia has a way to deal with her stress, but she can’t tell anyone. Above all she needs to show her father that she’s worthy of his love, but he’s so preoccupied with his best friend’s daughter he doesn’t ever seem to notice his own – Kia’s never met twelve-year-old Micki but she already hates her.
Micki’s been looking forward to the Elite Surfing camp for months, not only because she’ll get to hone her skills but also because she’ll get to meet Reg’s daughter, Kia. She just knows they’ll get along great. She has no idea that Kia will tell their cabin about her mother; it’s a good thing Kia doesn’t know about her dad, too.
This Australian YA novel combines narratives from each of the protagonists to create a story about surfing, competition, friendship and growth. I can see its accessibility for its target audience, and applaud Burke’s portrayal of young women invested in competitive physical activity in a traditionally male arena.
Despite this I couldn’t really get into Starfish Sisters, and not just because I managed to leave a library copy of the book on the tram (and am still hoping a kind person will return it). Perhaps I’m just too old and past the self-oriented angstyness, which I’m sure was a major factor in my missing the allure of the Twilight phenomenon. I just couldn’t get that invested in any of the characters, particularly Kia, who seems to have no redeeming features – she drops her best friend for the famous Ace, goes out of her way to make Kia miserable, and even though she’s tormented and at the end is shown to have the biggest problem of all, by that time she was so unsympathetic I really didn’t care. There’s a sequel, which I borrowed at the same time as borrowing a second copy, but I think I’ll pass on it for now. - Alex