Getting a glimpse of a world I haven’t experienced is one of my greatest reading pleasures, and Melanie Neale writes with such beautiful, immersive language in this memoir of growing up as a “boat kid”, that it entranced me and gave me the liberating sensation that I was living it all myself, from the confined spaces of the cabin to the wide open vastness of the sea and sky. For her entire childhood, Melanie and her family lived on a 47 foot sailboat cruising between the Bahamas and the US East Coast. Through her I vicariously experienced swimming for fish in backwater bays, waking during a storm at sea when a wave of salt water sloshed over my bed, finding bullet holes on an isolated island abandoned by drug runners, and meeting geriatric nudists, one facet of the nomadic tribe that makes up small boat culture. Because of her family’s lifestyle Melanie became much more self sufficient than most land kids her age, able to dive for dinner and help repair a boat engine. She still had to cope with teenage image and identity issues and the big question of the book is what kind of life she will choose, boat or land, once she finishes her home school studies and has to make a decision about her future. Her father is pushing for college, but Melanie and a friend have been saving up to buy their own boat . . .