{Review} FISH OUT OF WATER by Alethea Kontis

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    TETRA SMILED AT HER BUZZING phone. Just like clockwork. Her plan was going off without a hitch. "Hey, Dad. What's up?"
    "Looks like this business meeting is going to run long, kiddo. You know what that means."
    Tetra sighed dramatically. "You've been captured by the Ferengi again, and I need to scrounge up a ransom."
    Her father chuckled on his end. "Got it in one. Who knew there would be so many Ferengi here in Tampa?"
    Tetra loved that her father was, at his core, one of the geekiest geeks that ever geeked. She loved teasing him about his obsession with nerdy pop culture even more. The Ferengi were the greedy, underhanded businessmen of the Star Trek universe. "Kidnapped by Ferengi" meant that Dad's meeting had turned into a dinner, and it would be easier to spend the night there than drive home.
    Just as Tetra had expected.

(Page 8, US ebook edition)

“Good,” she said as she retrieved her phone. “Now you have someone to call if the shit hits the fan.”

He knew what she meant. She was offering to be his support should he feel himself sliding back down that rabbit hole. He wasn't sure she was aware of the magnitude of the gesture...something that made him appreciate it even more. 

“You will be the place I run to when I need to run, he said.” 

~Tetra and Justin, FISH OUT OF WATER

I've read pretty much everything Alethea Kontis has written--and up until now, it has been heavily fairy tale-influenced. FISH OUT OF WATER is the first contemporary novel I've read by Kontis, and hopefully not the last, either. I'm not a huge contemporary reader, bu there are some authors I'll read no matter what. Some tropes, too, actually. For some reason, I love contemporary worlds where the backdrop revolves around singers or actors. This time around, we get singers!

FISH OUT OF WATER is unique in that it is part of the Kindle Worlds program. Kindle Worlds is basically legal fanfiction, where an author has approved having authors write in their world and gets a cut of the money every time the book sells, unlike other fanfic-turned-professional, where they won't see a dime from books based off their hard work. While I can't abide authors who write fanfic,then clean it up and sell it as something original and refuse to read them (Sorry to E.L. James and Cassandra Clare fans, but I just can't!). When the book is through a program and legalizes everything, though? Sure, why not? I've actually never read a single book in Roxanne St. Claire's Barefoot Bay series. I couldn't tell you if any characters make a cameo because I don't know. I'm reading FISH OUT OF WATER completely on its own merits. Interestingly, while most authors who take part in Kindle Worlds don't get vetted (or perhaps even read) by the original author, Kontis has St. Claire's personal stamp of approval--and the original author is so excited to finally have a YA novel set in her world!

FISH OUT OF WATER is told through two alternating perspectives:

Tetra Scott has run from Kansas to Florida to leave behind a tragedy she never wants to revisit. The one great thing about moving to Florida is that her favorite band, 10mm Conspiracy, is performing up and down Florida all summer and she can finally meet the people she's befriended online in person.
Justin Zatarain was a childhood success story, but now that he's growing up, he's gotten into bad habits. Now that he's out of rehab, his famous uncle tells him to stay clean or he's done. Talent or no talent. Justin is forced to fill in as bassist for his ex-best-friend Xander Rorris' up-and-coming indie band on tour this summer.  
When Tetra and Justin meet, the attraction is instant, and they exchange phone numbers and become one another's first friend in a world where they know nobody. Both come from broken, shattered lives that they're trying to rebuild, and their budding friendship has the potential to heal them both...if only they can stay on this new path and not backtrack to an old one...

Short and sweet, FISH OUT OF WATER can be read in one sitting. I really like the way Tetra and Justin have the potential to heal one another. Justin is trying to change his life, but not sure that he can actually do it...and not sure he wants to, either. His summer touring with 10mm Conspiracy and his interactions with Tetra are the best thing that ever happened to him, and really change him for the better. Tetra's story arc is really interesting. It's not a focus on her past so much as it is her present. This is more Justin's story than hers. She is all of us, living day to day as her story is told.

Interestingly, I see a LOT of Kontis in this novel. She has been through so many changes in the past couple of years, and I see quite a few of them present in this novel. I don't think it would exist in anywhere near its current form if she hadn't experienced so much, from moving to injuries to enduring friendships, and even, as she mentions in the acknowledgements, to weddings. This novel resonates so much because it contains so much truth despite its fictitious nature, and it makes it so much easier to feel a character's motivation and root for their success!

It honestly doesn't matter if you've never read Alethea Kontis before, or even Roxanne St. Claire's Barefoot Bay series. FISH OUT OF WATER stands completely on its own and can be read in one sitting!


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG12  ( Kissing; a light make-out scene )
Language:  PG13 ( Nothing teens haven't heard in school from one another: Asshole, shit, bitch, etc. )
Violence:  --
Other:  PG13 ( One character is attempting a fresh start and trying to stay clean after having done underage drinking, drugs, etc. He mentions at one point that he'd rather be drinking or snorting than where he is, etc. He's been through rehab and is recovering.. There is also a character who sneaks out of the house without her parent's permission,though not to do anything illegal.  )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

Honestly, for ME, it's just a normal cover. Contemporary covers aren't my favorites to begin with...especially this variety. They all look very similar to me! Better to ask this question of someone who loves this type of cover! ^.~
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Alethea Kontis
Release Date: Oct. 11, 2016
Publisher: Kindle Worlds
Received: For Review

After tragedy struck their small town in Kansas, sixteen-year-old goth girl Tetra Scott and her father moved south to start a new life on Mimosa Key. Tetra isn’t sure yet how to make her entirely black wardrobe function in Florida’s summer heat, but she does know that her favorite indie rock band is playing a private gig at the Casa Blanca Resort and nothing is going to stop her from crashing it. Unfortunately, Tetra’s plan doesn’t factor in a trip to the emergency room…or the haunting eyes of the band’s new bass guitarist.Rockstar bad boy 

Justin Zatarain is on a highway to self-destruction when his uncle Donny offers him one last chance to straighten up and fly right. If he can play bass for the duration of 10mm Conspiracy’s surprise summer tour in Florida without incident, Donny will continue to support his unstable sister and her wayward son. The catch? 10mm Conspiracy’s front man is Xander Rorris, Justin’s ex-best friend, who would love nothing more than to see him fail. And the surest way to do that would be to fall for the precocious groupie with a past almost as dark as his…

New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis brings a little fairy tale and a little rock and roll to Roxanne St. Claire's Barefoot Bay series with this charming story of young love!