Shark Bait by Jenn Cooksey
Previously homeschooled Camie Ramsey is being shoved into the shark-infested waters of public high school, where even helium filled, penguin bespeckled arm floaties likely won’t help keep her inexperienced, fifteen-year old head above water in that rip current of hormones and emotions.
Camie’s worldly wisdom might be severely lacking (i.e., the closest she’s come to being kissed was sitting too close to the TV whilst Jake Ryan leaned in to give Samantha that fateful 16th birthday kiss), but she does understand her only hope for survival is if she’s thrown some kind of “social” life preserver before she sinks like a freaking rock. However, what will her fate be when she endeavors to flag down the only lifeguard on duty, the enormously popular and ridiculously beautiful Tristan Daniels? The most sought after and virtually most unattainable guy in school who not only makes Camie’s heart flatline on a recurring basis, he’s also the one guy who seemingly doesn’t know she exists.
Feeling like an inept piece of chum that could ultimately be swallowed by Jaws, can Camie get Tristan to rescue her from floundering in the treacherous deep, or is she destined to be Shark Bait?
While the tales themselves are fictional, some of the events and characters are very loosely based in reality and on my experiences—but don’t worry, the names of the characters, most of their unfortunate fashion sense and/or questionable taste in music has been changed to protect the not-so innocent.
Due to language and some adult content, this book may not be suitable for readers under the age of 16.
Why did I pick this?
Honestly? This book, in a way, picked me. Ha!
Actually, Jenn Cooksey found me via Twitter and chatted me up. I talked to her for a while and thought (and still think) that she is absolutely one of the sweetest people I know. She asked me to check out her book and if I would be interested in reading it.
I read the description and thought it sounded adorable so I said yes. (I might have batted my eyelashes) 😉
What did I think?
So my initial thought that this book was adorable. I was completely correct. What I hadn’t though about was, was how much I would LOVE this book.
I think what actually caught my attention was the writing style that Cooksey has. The story is narrated by Camie and I instantly fell in love with her. Her attitude is adorable and her snarkiness is incomparable.
So I’ll start this off by introducing the characters 🙂
Camie: The narrator and all-around hero. She has been homeschooled for most of her life by her mother. Once her mother becomes too sick to continue, she is forced to enter into a public highschool for the first time. I really, really enjoyed Camie’s snark and attitude. But what I loved was that no matter what she was for family. I can relate to that considering I have a big family myself.
Tristan: Sa-woon. What a hottie. But oh so complicated. I don’t think I’ve ever read a more complicated fellow. Once you get past all the complications, he is truly drool worthy. What a dreamboat. A swimmer? Hel-lo washboard abs and cut arms. But he also has a good heart and is very sweet.
Jillian: If I ever had a little sister, I would totally want her to be it. She kicks so much arse, it’s hilarious. She is very smart and has a sinister mind. But in a good way. I’d never want to be on her bad side. Ever. She is loyal to the death with Camie and it’s really awesome.
The story was beautifully and hysterically written. I adored every word that jumped off the page. Once I started, I was unable to stop. The interactions between all the characters flowed. I was taken back to my 16 year old self with a bit os nostalgia. Ahhhh the teenage years. 🙂 She completely captured the way a 16 year old thinks.
Along with the laughs, this also has plenty of swoony moments and heart-wrenching moments. Cooksey truly has a way with words and character development. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and see what happens next.
If you haven’t gotten a chance to pick this up, do it NOW! Get it at Amazon. It’s only $2.99.
One of my favorite lines is from Camie’s dad. Her parents are the coolest. 😉
“That being said, you are under no circumstances to ever, and I mean never young lady, get in a car with someone who’s been drinking or doing drugs. Do you understand?”
“Yeah, Daddy, I won’t. I promise.”
“I mean it Cameron. I don’t care if it’s Jesus himself behind the wheel, if He’s been sippin’ on His own homemade wine, you call for a ride home,” my dad said sternly with a hint of an evangelical tone in his voice.
Jenn Cooksey is a Southern California girl born and bred, and proudly boasts being a member of Grossmont High School’s alumni.
She currently resides in the 7th Ring of Hell (aka; Arizona) with her husband (whom she married on a dare while in Las Vegas), their three daughters, and more pets than she has the patience to count.
Aside from her husband and one cat, everyone living under the Cooksey’s roof is female. She’s sure her husband will be not only be awarded sainthood when he kicks the bucket, but that Jesus will welcome him into heaven with a beer and a congratulatory high-five.
She also believes that Bacon should be capitalized. Always.
Now, I actually had the distinct pleasure of meeting the fabulous Jenn Cooksey down in San Diego a few weeks back. Let me just put a note in here and say that I adore her. She has such a fantastic personality and is an amazing writer. This is my first author interview (officially) on this blog and I feel very privialged that Jenn took time out of her vacation to cater to a fangirl blogger and give her a tour. 🙂
A tour you say? That’s right I went to the actual high school that the book was based around. It was so freaking awesome. It made the characters so much more real to me. Almost like I could see the characters walking down the hallway or hanging out in the quad. Just like in the book. Here are a couple photos. When you read the book, you’ll understand the meaning behind these photos.
The Football field
The Stage *swoons*
~* THE INTERVIEW*~
1. When I read the author’s notes on the book description, it says the events/people were changed to protect the not so innocent. Does this mean that this book was based off of events that happened in your life?
Sort of, but only very loosely. The actual books in the Grab Your Pole Series and the stories contained therein are, as a whole, entirely fictional. However, there are some specific events that did either happen to me or someone I know. I always thought it would be fun to have a page on my pathetic blog (or really awesome website that hasn’t been built yet because I’m HTML deficient and challenged) where book bloggers can submit their guesses about what was real in each book and then readers could vote, and then maybe right before the next book comes out I would enlighten everyone and maybe do a giveaway or something for whoever submitted the most correct guesses and for whoever voted on the most correct submissions. If that makes sense. It totally works in my head, but so does a healthy diet made solely of Bacon.
2. What made you actually want to start writing?
Despite being told from the time I was in elementary school that I was a talented writer, I hated reading and I never even considered writing anything unless it was a school assignment. Flash forward [REDACTED] years to when I actually enjoyed reading and was talking to my BBBF (Book Buddy Best Friend) on the phone about a book we’d both just finished. It was like two in the morning or something ridiculous and in discussing what we didn’t like about it and through a series of probably really inappropriate jokes, she and I decided we needed to write a book together. But because I have no life and with her always being insanely busy, “together” end up being me writing the book and her being a sounding board for all my ideas and then sitting down with me to painstakingly edit the manuscript line-by-line. At some point, which I’ll refer to as AGYP—After Grab Your Pole—I might have to go back to that project and see it through to publication.
3. Where did your idea/ideas come from? (If it’s life experience, just chalk it up to question 1)
I’m honestly not sure. I was in the middle of querying that aforementioned project when the first few sentences of Shark Bait hit me upside the head. From there the story just flowed… Although it’s true that I used to homeschool my girls (I actually still was when I started writing the GYP series), but aside from that, my brain hasn’t told me where it gets the ideas. I’m gonna go out on a limb, though, and say that a lot of it comes from the depths of my sub-conscience—I get a lot of ideas when I’m either falling asleep or just on the verge of waking up, and I’ve discovered long after I’ve written something that there are real-life similarities to people I know or events that I personally experienced at some point in my sordid past.
4. Tristan is for sure a VERY complicated guy. Will we be learning about why he’s so complicated in later books?
In a word, definitely. And yes, he is extremely complex—probably the most complicated character I’ve thus far written with Jillian coming in at a close second. But there’s a reason behind every one of Tristan’s quirks and in Book 3 of the series (which is my fav so far), readers will learn a lot about why he is the way he is, and they’ll hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. 😉
5. I loved the fact that the beach was very present in this book. Is there a specific reason why?
No, not really. Unless you count the fact that it’s set in San Diego and that Tristan and Jeff are avid surfers. Besides, anyone who’s grown up in San Diego like I did will have fond and not-so fond memories of the beach. Plus, my aim in the writing of these stories was for them to be as close to real as I could make them, thus I write what I know and what I’m familiar with.
6. Why swimmers? It’s really unusual. You don’t read about swimmers in books really. It’s awesome btw.
That’s pretty much why… I didn’t want to write about the stereotypical jocks, and when I went to Grossmont, swimming and water polo was almost (not quite, but almost) just as huge as football. Not only that, but I knew a lot of the guys who competed in water sports and I have to be honest, the people who surf, swim, dive, and play water polo, are probably the best athletes you’ll ever meet. IMHO anyway. I feel the same way about cheerleaders… The stamina required, the strength and skill, in addition to the grace and sheer talent all those people have is incredible and I have a profound respect for their ability. Not to mention that the average physique of a surfer/swimmer is unparalleled, and if you’re in the market for a drool-worthy character, look no further. I mean seriously, DAMN.
7. Can you give us a small sneak peek into what’s coming in the next books?
Hmmm. Well, that’s tricky to answer without giving too much away, however, if you’re one of those readers who like to expostulate on where a story is going, I’ve written what I call “breadcrumbs” into the books, leaving readers itty-bitty hints at what might be coming up, so if you read the books with an eye for the future, you should be able to see certain things coming. You can be sure though, there will be some sizzling swoon moments, some inherently outrageous LOL segments, and there are some things coming up that may have you reaching for a box of Kleenex. Also, I have a feeling that there will be some readers out there fist pumping and chanting YES!! Although I might be getting hate mail in regards to some events as well.
And here’s another little tidbit never before revealed to the public; point of fact, Shark Bait is the only book in the Grab Your Pole series told solely from Camie’s point of view (*ahem* minus one teeny-tiny portion in the beginning. :-p). Book 2, The Other Fish in the Sea, is still told primarily by Camie, but you’ll be hearing a little bit from the other girls as well—yes, even Jillian. Book 3, however, is told entirely by the guys. It’s completely awesome and thus far, it’s my favorite book in the series. I have something a smidge different planned for Book 4, though. It’s going to be what’s sometimes called a “special” in terms of books that are part of a series, and this special is gonna be a looong one, going back in time to the summer before Shark Bait takes place and then carrying on to the end of Book 3 and beyond. Book 5, which I plan to write from both the girl’s and guy’s points of view, will pick up at some point after where 4 leaves off, and the series will end with Book 6, amid much clapping and whistling (and maybe even a table dance). At least that’s how I plan to celebrate the finale of what has so far been an epic adventure and phenomenal experience for me.
Oh and no, I’m not telling anyone whose point of view Book 4 is being told from. 😉