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We Run the Tides

by Vendela Vida

Modern and Contemporary Fiction

LoveReading View on We Run the Tides

What an elegant, edge-of-your-seat triumph this is. Set near the ocean in 1980s San Francisco, Vendela Vida’s We Run the Tides explores the coming-of-age experiences of thirteen-year-old Eulabee and her best friend Maria Fabiola, an enigmatic, attractive, gets-whatever-she-wants kind of girl. They stride affluent Sea Cliff with supreme confidence - the streets are theirs, the world is theirs, and nothing can stop them: “We want to want. We want to love. We want to want love. We are on the precipice of having real boyfriends, of making out with them. We know this.”

While walking to their elite girls’ school with other friends, they witness something disturbing. Or so Maria and the rest of the girls claim. Eulabee insists it didn’t happen - to her friends, and the police. Then, in the aftermath of this disagreement that sees Eulabee ostracised, Maria goes missing, prompting an outpouring of anxiety in the neighbourhood as the police investigate her suspected kidnapping. And so an intense entanglement - and unravelling - begins.

The potency of teenage female friendship is masterfully evoked - tightly knotted, holding powerful sway, but also quick to fray. And Eulabee’s offbeat voice is mesmeric, authentic and often amusing, notably during the toe-curling account of her first sexual experience. Unique, unexpected, affecting and funny - you couldn’t ask for much more from a novel, and reading this has pushed the rest of Vendela Vida’s novels to the top of my must-read list. 

Joanne Owen

We Run the Tides Synopsis

Teenage Eulabee and her magnetic best friend, Maria Fabiola, own the streets of Sea Cliff, their foggy oceanside San Francisco neighbourhood. They know Sea Cliff's homes and beaches, its hidden corners and eccentric characters - as well as the upscale all-girls' school they attend. One day, walking to school with friends, they witness a horrible act - or do they? Eulabee and Maria Fabiola vehemently disagree on what happened, and their rupture is followed by Maria Fabiola's sudden disappearance - a potential kidnapping that shakes the quiet community and threatens to expose unspoken truths.

Suspenseful and poignant, We Run the Tides is Vendela Vida's masterful portrait of an inimitable place on the brink of radical transformation. Pre-tech boom San Francisco finds its mirror in the changing lives of the teenage girls at the centre of this story of innocence lost, the pain of too much freedom, and the struggle to find one's authentic self. Told with a gimlet eye and great warmth, We Run the Tides is both a gripping mystery and a tribute to the wonders of youth, in all its beauty and confusion.

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We Run the Tides Press Reviews

We Run the Tides is hypnotic, knowing, and propulsive as it examines girlhood, friendship, and the strong pull of the past. - Meg Wolitzer

We Run the Tides is smart, perceptive, elegant, sad, surprising and addictive. And it's also FUNNY. Who knew that you could combine all of those qualities into one slim volume? Not many writers, that's for sure. I loved every single page, and was sorry when I had to say goodbye to Eulabee and her family. - Nick Hornby

There's violence lurking here, but also humor (it's funny!), also love. This is one of the best novels about girlhood and female friendship I've ever read. - Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes

The dreamy yearning and turmoil of youth are evoked here so vividly as to seem supernaturally conjured. However long ago you were a teenager, We Run the Tides will bring the quandaries and sensations right back. Vendela Vida has written a novel of absorbing, exquisite economy and percipience. She has also written an intimate allegory of our unravelling tether to truth. - Lisa Halliday, author of Asymmetry

From the first page, We Run the Tides is captivating. A story about girlhood, friendship, and the pathologies of innocence and victimhood, it reminds me of Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend, but set against the furious backdrop of San Francisco's Sea Cliff neighborhood. Its scope, ferocity, and main characters are unforgettable. Vendela Vida is masterful at constructing the nuances and complications of how young girls become aware of their power, and the choices they make once they wield it. - Sally Wen Mao, author of Oculus

The girls in this book are everything, all of us: shape-shifters and outcasts, predators and prey, they lean into and away from the world that claims to know them. Vendela Vida is an astoundingly good writer and the ideas she's wrestling with in these pages-about sexuality and seeing, storytelling and identity-are profound. - Danzy Senna, author of New People

I didn't want it to end - Tom Stoppard

Set in a pre-tech boom San Francisco that feels moody, foreboding, and magical, this enigmatic tale of adolescent friendship, a disappearance, and coming-of-age is smart, sly, and as knowing about the mind and heart of a teenage girl as an Elena Ferrante novel. - O, The Oprah Magazine

As consistently surprising as it is hauntingly resonant (not to mention often very funny), Vida's chronicle of female friendship is a fast, addictive read. - Entertainment Weekly

Vida excels at capturing the insidious kinds of sexual harassment that are omnipresent in girlhood that they become dangerously invisible.... Manages to make that subject matter both deadly serious and laugh-out-loud, as appropriate and important a read for a real-life middle schooler as for a grown-up adult-lady book club. - Glamour

A tough and exquisite sliver of a short novel whose world I want to remain lost in. - NPR

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781786499585
Publication date: 06/05/2021
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781786499585
Publication date: 6th May 2021
Author: Vendela Vida
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 272 pages
Genres: Modern and Contemporary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Thriller / suspense,

About Vendela Vida

Vendela Vida is the author of the acclaimed novels 'And Now You Can Go' and 'Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name'. She is a founding editor of The Believer magazine, and the editor of The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and children.

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