Cross Currents by John Shors releases today and it is fantastic! I’ve loved all of John’s books but I have to say that after reading Cross Currents, it is my favorite. This novel grabbed not only my attention but my heart and to me that makes a great book and a great author! As with all of John’s books he takes us away to a different place and this time it is Ko Phi Phi, a beautiful tropical island off the coast of Thailand. The novel takes place over an 11 day period working towards the tsunami that hit Thailand in December of 2004 and it really shows us the strength of the human spirit before and after the tsunami.
Cross Currents opens at the Rainbow Resort with owners Lek and Sarai. They have three children and Sarai’s mother lives with them as well. They struggle to make ends meet and depend on tourists coming to their resort to survive. Months ago a stranger named Patch had arrived and he’s been with them ever since helping out at the resort fixing things which has been great since Lek had hurt his hip in an accident. The family has come to care about him and the feelings are reciprocated.
Patch arrived on Ko Phi Phi because of a mistake he made and is now in trouble with the law. He’s been hiding out at the Rainbow Resort trying to figure out a way to get back to America but his brother Ryan who arrives with his girlfriend Brooke wants him to turn himself in. Trouble arises between the brothers not only because of their disagreement over Patch turning himself in but also because of Brooke – it seems that she and Ryan have issues and she finds herself attracted to Patch and the feeling is mutual. Could this be the one thing that will destroy the strong bond between these brothers?
The majority of the novel really opens our eyes to the way that people like Lek and Sarai live on these small islands like Ko Phi Phi. Their days consist of working hard to keep the bungalows clean and ready for tourists, cooking, cleaning, and the biggest thing is getting those tourists to your resort as there are so many other resorts competing for their attention. Even the children are not exempt and since their English is the best it usually falls to them to really lure the tourists in. Yes the island is beautiful and idyllic and the family loves to live there and do what they’re doing but it’s also a struggle and with the tsunami, it made that struggle even harder for the people who made their homes there.
I loved the characters in this book – all of them. Lek and Sarai are such hard working people who only want to make a better life for their children. Patch is a good man who finds himself really caring for this family to the point where he would sacrifice himself for their well-being. John Shors has a way of drawing emotions from a person with just his words and he makes us care so much for these people. When the tsunami hits you feel like you are picked up and thrown into the turmoil with this family that you have come to care about. You live through their terror and feel their fear. You’re left hoping that they will all survive and be able to rebuild their lives.
As with all of John’s novels, his descriptions of the locations he takes us away to are amazing. He really makes you feel as though you’ve arrived on this island yourself and that you’re experiencing all the sights, sounds and smells that it has to offer. The novel also brings us to the realization that life can change in an instant. All that you knew can be swept away and you are left in complete and utter devastation. While John could have written this novel more from the perspective of the tsunami, I’m really glad he didn’t. He focused instead on the deep relationships between people that, in the event of a disaster like the tsunami, brings those individuals together with a fierce determination to help and care for each other no matter what.
Cross Currents is an emotional and powerful novel and one I would recommend in an instant! Yes there is tragedy in our world but there is also hope and love that pulls people together in the face of these disasters and enables them to move forward and survive. Cross Currents is most definitely on my list of favorite books for 2011!
You can purchase your own copy of Cross Currents by John Shors here in the US and here in Canada. You can also pop over to the guest post that John shared with us yesterday and enter to win one of two copies there!
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My copy of Cross Currents by John Shors was received for review from the author.