The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont
New book for the favourite list alert. It was reminiscent of The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which is possibly my favourite book of all time. So, holy Moses, let’s get to it.
The Starboard Sea is a tale of the upper-class elite. The rich kids that, if were English, none of us from the comprehensive school posse would like – a little too close to the bell-ends on Made In Chelsea, perhaps. But the fact that it’s set in the eastern coast of America, gives us just enough distance for an unhealthy and morbid fascination. Cue Jason Prosper, the epitome of the pensive protagonist, a Catcher in the Rye-esque thinker and as the name would suggest he comes from a prosperous background. Son of a high-flying New York Banker and a neurotic mother and brother to a dodgy Dell-boy investor, Jason spends his summer between New York penthouses and summerhouses in Maine, whereas term time was spent at the prestigious Kensington Prep. That was, until he got kicked out.
The reader is, to begin with, shrouded in mystery as to why our hero has faced a scandalous expulsion and is now heading to the illustriously crappy Bellingham Academy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot fancier than the chewing-gum decorated halls that I used to walk through, but as far as the elite US schools go…it’s scraping the barrel.
Set against the wall street crash of the eighties, the kids knock around at school; sex, drugs and wild parties are a daily occurrence. But our Jason doesn’t quite fit this mold. He has the money and he has the looks (if you squint a bit), but he also has a torn heart, still mourning the suicide of his best-friend, roommate and sailing partner, Cal.
But a new school brings a new start and a new friend with it. Aidan. A troubled girl with unruly hair and a striking face. Tentatively together they attempt to mend each other. Everything is starting to look up until a storm brings a devastating tragedy upon it’s waves.
It’s a story of unlikely friendships and sinister undercurrents. The language is perhaps the most beautifully metaphoric of its kind that I have recently read – each line taking you back to the gentle whirring of the ocean.
Let this story sweep you out to sea.