Updated on May 24, 2015
12. ‘Fulmar’ by Robin Falvey
I’m originally from Cornwall, but I rarely read any books that are set there (even though it’s an absolutely beautiful part of the world, with dramatic enough landscapes for all sorts of dramas to play out). So when Robin Falvey offered to send me a copy of his new self-published novel, I was delighted at the chance to read a book set in my home county.
Falvey makes excellent use of the Cornish coast to tell the story of Jacob Penhallow, a disillusioned teen from a small Cornish village who hangs out with the wrong people and doesn’t seem to have any direction in life. One day a mysterious stranger gives Jacob a surfboard – a Fulmar – and Jacob discovers a new passion for surfing and the sea that might just save him.
In fact, there’s loads more going on Fulmar: there’s also a romantic subplot, family intrigue and drama involving thievery and drug gangs. The main character often finds himself in all sorts of sticky situations, and he’s always conflicted about the decisions he has made that have brought him there. This is a YA novel that really packs in the action, and Jacob makes an interesting and complex main character.
I particularly loved how Falvey describes the contrasting aspects of Jacob’s life: the rundown poverty of his small hometown versus its breathtaking natural beauty. I think Falvey’s powers of description really come to the fore when he’s talking about Jacob’s passion for the sea: he captures the pure joy of surfing very well.
This is an excellent, fast-paced story that’s full of twists and ‘how on earth is he going to get out of this’ moments. Falvey’s writing is clever and funny, making this a good read that will keep you guessing, right to the end.
“I put out my hand, trail it through the water. Touch life.”
Want to read this? You can buy the book here.