We Run the Tides is smart, perceptive, elegant, sad, surprising, and addictive. And it’s also FUNNY. Who knew that you could combine all 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, author of Just Like You
The year is probably too young to make this kind of pronouncement, but the new novel I know I'm going to be rereading in the coming months and spending a lot of time thinking about is Vendela Vida's We Run the Tides. It's a tough and exquisite sliver of a short novel whose world I want to remain lost in—and at the same time am relieved to have outgrown . . . [a] spectacular narrator. . . . [a] wonder of a novel.
—Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
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 unraveling tether to truth.
—Lisa Halliday, author of Asymmetry
I didn't want it to end.
The young narrator of Vendela Vida’s new novel is cast out of her friend crew (For what? For nothing) at the moment she and the girls around her are just beginning to understand the power they hold, and how to wield it. 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 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
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
Vida, whose polished and incisive prose is in the Didion mode, inflects this droll and sensitive coming-of-age tale . . . with eviscerating social commentary. A nimble and arresting drama about the spell cast by beauty, the compulsion to lie, the valor of forthrightness, and the inevitability of the inexplicable.
—Booklist (starred review)
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
[An] Exhilarating, maddening, thoroughly entertaining novel . . . irresistible . . . With its tangible, tactile details peppered throughout and super-smart, quirky Eulabee at its helm, We Run the Tides is deceptively sweet—and as addictive as candy.
—The Boston Globe
A perceptive tale of losing innocence and finding one’s true self. 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.
Vida captures the unstable sensation of early adolescent reality, that period teetering between childhood and young adulthood in which outlandish lies can seem weirdly plausible and basic facts totally alien . . . the affectionate specificity of the portrait she offers is one of the book’s real pleasures. . . . Vida’s San Francisco is ramshackle and eccentric, home to heiresses but also tide pools of counterculture backwash.
—The New York Times Book Review
[A]tmospheric, glistering novel of adolescence and innocence lost . . . Vida perfectly captures the panicky feeling inherent to adolescence, of wanting to know everything that's going on, but being aware that you'll probably only ever scratch the surface of the truth.
If you can’t get enough ’80s nostalgia (and I count myself among you), Vendela Vida’s latest will scratch that itch. In this tense story of teen female friendship and betrayal in the pre–tech bro years of San Francisco, BFFs Eulabee and Maria Fabiola have a dramatic falling out that’s followed by Maria Fabiola’s disappearance. Early readers have been responding with ALL CAPS–level excitement.
Vida excels at capturing the insidious kinds of sexual harassment that are so omnipresent in girlhood that they become dangerously invisible. Vida 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.
[T]here’s something naughty, almost gleeful about this nostalgia-soaked portrayal of pre–tech boom San Francisco that keeps the pages turning.
—San Francisco Chronicle
[A] dreamy, tricky tale of girlhood, secrets, and the shifting sands of truth . . . This captivating coming-of-age novel asks readers to consider friendship, cruelty, deception, and consequences. We Run the Tides is an enchanting, literary novel, realistic but a little unreal. Vida gives a tender, incisive portrayal of adolescence. The girls' cruelties are visceral and impermanent, the stressors of Sea Cliff somehow both superficial and profound. Vida's readers will be changed by this cleverly woven story about honesty, betrayal, charm, and illusion, about what matters in youth and what matters always.
—Julia Kastner, Shelf Awareness
Vida populates her stories with liars, runaways, the reckless—those most adept at reconfiguring their appearances, those caught in the process of becoming. She is excellent at writing teenagers, who try on and discard identities as quickly as the days pass. Their transformations are set to rushing sentences, a pace of existence which Vida renders with exceptional honesty. . . . a nod to Edith Wharton . . . detailed and vibrant . . . as much a novel of girlhood vulnerability as it is a story of fortification and fear . . .
—LA Review of Books
In We Run the Tides, author Vendela Vida has crafted a coming-of-age tale replete with friendship, sexuality, and a good dose of mystery. Vida’s writing shines as she captures this exciting, vulnerable and sometimes worrisome time when a girl is puzzling out her position in the world, who she wants to be, and how that fits with the person others have decided she already is.
[T]he neighborhood of Sea Cliff is itself, as they often say of New York City when it comes to films, “a character” in Vendela Vida’s novel, where it is depicted with an accuracy that extends to the book’s true subjects: girlhood, physical danger, independence, and game-playing. Maria Fabiola is the heiress to a sugar fortune and part of a group of girls who all attend the same private school. She is the one in her group—and there’s always one—who hits the puberty jackpot, developing myriad physical enchantments while her friends go to war with blackheads. One day, Maria Fabiola vanishes. Another member of the group follows. The disappearances are not what they seem, and to find out why, you’ll have to read more than this 267-word blurb can honorably divulge.
Join Vendela and various writers for a number of upcoming events for We Run the Tides! Click here for more info.
Listen to the review on NPR's Fresh Air by Maureen Corrigan here.
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
The Week's Book of the Week
An achingly beautiful story of female friendship, betrayal, and a mysterious disappearance set in the changing landscape of San Francisco.
Teenage Eulabee and her magnetic best friend, Maria Fabiola, own the streets of Sea Cliff, their foggy oceanside San Francisco neighborhood. 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 center 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.