Cover image for Ferris Beach : a novel
Ferris Beach : a novel
McCorkle, Jill, 1958-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1990.
Physical Description:
343 pages ; 23 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.2 19.0 6036.
Format :


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From the author of Tending to Virginia, an acclaimed coming of age novel set in a small southern town. Kate and Misty grow up together, sharing secrets about everything until a fateful Fourth of July when all their lives change forever. "As compelling as a soft southern night".--Kirkus. New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

McCorkle keeps getting better. Ferris Beach, the story of a girl's growing up, is her most focused work and the overwriting that crept into her previous three novels has gone. The central metaphor is the place that gives the novel its name--a place associated with ideas of sex, freedom, and broken dreams, as well as Katie's mysterious older cousin, Angela, and her best friend's eccentric, fun-loving mother--from both of whom the child has something to learn. Here, Katie will get a powerful dose of reality and suffering rendered so wistfully and obliquely, with multiple forewarnings designed to heighten the sense of foreboding, and a commendable balance of tragedy and mirth, that the full texture of a child's wonder and terror is preserved. While it is true that some of the tragedies are contrived, this, the fourth work of the 30-year-old author, demonstrates clearly an impressive improvement in her craft. --Deb Robertson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set, like her previous novels, in a small Southern town, this coming-of-age story demonstrates McCorkle's ( Tending to Virginia ) deepening maturity as a writer and a new subtlety of prose and theme. Nine-year-old Kate Burns is acutely aware of the port-wine mark on her face. Chafing under her mother's straitlaced supervision, she yearns to resemble her mysterious, racy older cousin Angela. She envies her best friend, Misty, whose mother, flamboyant, reckless Mo Rhodes, brings an exotic dimension to the neighborhood. During the course of the narrative, which carries Kate through her high school years, McCorkle conveys a child's perceptions of family friction and community tensions, her growing awareness of vulnerability and sadness in adult lives, and her introduction to sexual cruelty and death. Yet McCorkle controls her story with dextrous skill; these events unfold gradually and inevitably from the stream of daily life. Whether portraying the love/hate relationship of best friends, the pangs of an ungainly girl during adolescence or the insult-laden repartee of teenagers attracted to one another, McCorkle illuminates character with ironic humor and empathic insight. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Here is a marvelous follow-up to McCorkle's acclaimed Tending to Virginia ( LJ 9/1/87). From age five, Katie Burns has thought of Ferris Beach, South Carolina, home of her ``foundling'' cousin Angela, as both forbidden and alluring. During the decade covered by this entrancing coming-of-age novel (mid-Sixties to mid-Seventies), many people besides Angela compete for Katie's allegiance. Symbolizing freedom are orange-haired Misty Rhodes, whose mother Mo puts rock gardens on the lawn; Katie's first love Merle Hucks; and--to a certain extent--her father Alfred Tennyson (``Fred'') Burns. In contrast, there are prim Cleva Burns and her tea-giving friend Mrs. Poole, steeped in Southern propriety. Despite tantalizing hints of buried secrets and a few occasions of real tragedy, what predominates is McCorkle's deft comic sense, her keen ear for dialog and eye for detail, and a grab bag of cultural allusions (Barry Sadler; Peter, Paul & Mary) bespeaking a specific time and place. Finally--most movingly--there is the revelation that love often goes deeper in the staid conventional forms than one might sometimes suspect.-- Elise Chase, Forbes Lib., Northampton, Mass. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-- Ferris Beach is where excitement and glamour start--at least that's what Kate thinks as she hears about her cousin Angela who lives there. Kate has had a humdrum, ``normal'' childhood; her conservative mother and humorous father have brought her up ``properly,'' while Angela has had freedom and romance. But even freedom has its dark side, as Kate finds out. This coming-of-age novel is special. The humor, tenderness, sharply defined characters, and a feeling of ``being there'' make the 1970s come alive in the small Southern community depicted.-- Diana C. Hirsch, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.