• Tara K. Ross

YA Book Review: Like Moonlight at Low Tide


Recently, I posted on Instagram, as part of the #authorschallenge2019, the opening lines from Nicole Quigley’s debut novel, “Like Moonlight at Low Tide.” (see post here)


This novel is not a new release (2012) but it has remained on my night table for over three years and has become a reference book of sorts. I have meant to review it for years, but somehow kept forgetting. Until now! When I pulled this dog-eared paperback from the pile, I was not only reminded of it's gripping hook, but of how masterful the entire story is written, from first lines to hope-filled conclusion.




What is it about:


In a unique flash forward introduction, you are immediately drawn into the high school years of Melissa (Missy) Keiser from Anna Maria Island. The setting is visceral and immediately thrusts you into the reality of muggy, middle-class Florida, complete with the brokenness of family life and Missy’s bully-ridden past. A journey of self-discovery begins during her junior year of high school when she returns to the island after three years away. Missy travels this path while navigating three relationships - her brother, her long-standing crush and a mysterious new friend – who all push her to reconsider her place on the island and where her priorities lie. Without giving too much away, just when you think her story is improving, she loses of one of these boys to suicide.


What did I think:


  • Quality of Writing: 5/5 : Every aspect of Quigley’s writing is palpable- from her use of similes that pull you into the ocean, her full-body character descriptions that ranged from pungent to charming, to her deep internal monologues that make you tense with empathy.

  • Turn Paging Effect: 5/5: With an initial hook that is impossible to leave unanswered, you plow through the first half without looking back. When you finally have clarity regarding her past and the horrible reality of her present, you are invested and need to read on. The plot is clean and linear making it quick to read and the climax is heart-wrenching. Be prepared for messy tears.

  • Attributes of Hope: 5/5: One of the brilliant aspects of this book is that the conclusion is brimming with hope. In some YA novels, I find you are left with an external resolution, but the main character is still messed up, without any foreseeable path for improvement. This is not the case for Melissa, and despite her horrible loss, you recognize a greater journey ahead of her that is so powerful.


How did I hear about this book?


This was a needle in a hay-stack find. I was researching publishers and clean young adult novels that tackle similar issues to my own novel (mental health, suicide, and an eternal hope). I located this on the BlinkYABooks homepage and ordered it within 10 minutes or previewing.


Nicole Quigley is not only a talented writer, but an authentic and stunning person. I had the honor of chatting with her through Skype over a year ago and she urged me to view writing as a passion that is fruitful and worth pursuing. Nicole is currently working towards publishing her second novel, and when that comes out I will be among the first to read it. I will also persevere to get a review done sooner that three years later. This review was written without request or suggestion and reflects my honest opinions.


Personal Impact:


This is the story that inspired me complete my first novel. This novel pushed aside my anxieties enough to contact the author directly. This author inspired me to connect with community, to blog and to review YA books.

Ultimately, this is the quality, content and hope-filled prose that I aspire to one day publish myself. Thank-you Nicole. You are a true blessing.


Who has inspired you to pursue your dreams? Have you ever considered contacting them?


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