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The Tribes of Palos Verdes

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  432 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Medina Mason is a defiant, awkward newcomer to the affluent beach community of Palos Verdes, California. As her parents' marriage disintegrates and her beloved brother falls prey to the temptations of drugs and the lunacy of their mother, Medina surfs to survive, finding a bitter solace in the rough comfort of the waves. This is the moving story of growing up "different," ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

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Alisha Marie
If you look at cover of the hardcover version of The Tribes of Palos Verdes you would probably think that it's about a girl who surfs with guys. Yes, there are guys in this book and yes, the main character, Medina, does surf, it goes much more deeper than that. Medina uses surfing as an outlet to escape the pain she feels and the horror of her home life.

Throughout the book, you see Medina painfully coming of age while dealing with drugs, sex, and being the only female surfer in her town. The dys
I have been recommending this to a lot of people lately, so I decided to give it another read to make sure it merits my praise. I have demoted it a star and now feel too hesitant to actually RECOMMEND it to anyone. It is well written, to be sure, but it is hardly tame in its presentation of this girl's sexual life.

An insightful book reflecting some interesting struggles that teen girls are facing, especially in the materialistic climate of coastal Southern California. The heroine of this novel,
I picked this up from a free shelf in a doctor's office. From the cover, and the jacket description, it seemed like it would be an easy beach read. How pleasantly surprised i was to discover a beautiful coming of age novel to rival the likes of 'the outsiders' or 'the heart is a lonely hunter.' That is to say, quality, lasting and moving.

The protagonist uses surfing as a coping mechanism for her tumultuous surroundings, and i had just taken my first surfing lesson when i read this book. You cou
Shannon Valdes
I was surprised to read some of the negative reviews on here because although it was a terribly sad book, I believe it was very beautifully written. "The water under my house shimmered like blood and glitter." I already want to read this book again.
Medina Mason is a teenager living in the well-to-do neighborhood of Palos Verdes. Her father is a heart surgeon to the stars in Beverly Hills and her mother is a former model. She has a twin brother named Jim who is her best friend. They all live in a mansion that sits close to the shore in the Lunada Bay area but despite living a privileged life, things aren’t going so well for Medina. She has a hard time being accepted by her peers, her relationship with her mother is strained and her parents ...more
Helena Miller
I received this from a student. Female surfer--what's not to love!?!?!

Now that I've finished it, this is actually a much darker novel than I expected when I heard the protagonist was a female surfer. A theme of the book, sadly, is that a person cannot save anyone but themselves, no matter how much they may love or want to save another. The protagonist values her independence, and as a result she is willing to save herself even if the choices she makes are not popular with her family, her communi
Philip Gordon
I remember reading this book back in high school and initially hating it (as I did every book we were assigned). Because I read so quickly, I gave it another go, and looking back, I can't see why I didn't like it. There's a ton of depth in the content and symbolism for a book aimed at a younger audience, and I think the story's unapologetic portrayal of the grittier parts of adolescence is very well done. I'm too far away in time to recall exact sentences, but scenes jump out at me, and all of t ...more
I remember that summer by this book...vicariously living the life of a surfer girl.
I picked this book up at the library simply because the title caught my eye. I didn't really know anything about it or the author and decided to give it a shot.

I read the whole thing in one sitting and it was a surprisingly decent, but somewhat twisted story. It's about a very dysfunctional family in southern California. The narrator is a 14/15 year old female who turns to surfing as a way of coping with her problems. Her twin brother, on the other hand, tries to be the "good guy" and finds tha
Jenny Younker
I have always enjoyed reading as I was growing up. As a kid I liked reading mystery novels but this novel was the first book that I read that really got me hooked on reading! I have read it multiple times and have recommended it to everyone that I meet who brings up a passion for reading (but I never loan it out... Selfish I know because I will always have an attachment to it).
Man, this book was dark in the darkest sense. Not witches or supernatural dark, but rather, the worst kind of dark: reality. Nicholson's protagonist is a deeply misunderstood, angry, unloved rich girl with an absent father, and a mother who is obsessed with the protagonist's twin brother. This story is a downward spiral that starts with barely a drop of hope and ends with less than you thought imaginable, demonstrating the true wickedness and utter despair that abundant wealth can buy.

However, N
Kris Maule
Loved this book even though it's very dark. Couldn't put it down. Chosen by my book club because one of our members grew up in Palos Verdes. Rumor has it the book is going to be made into a movie. Hope the rumor is true!
I think this may be one of the saddest books that I have ever read. What happens to teenagers who have too much stuff and not enough parenting? Bad things... The only bit of sanity in the life of Medina and her brother, Jim, is surfing the break in Lunada Bay in Palos Verdes, CA. Here everyone is judged by their "outsides" -- what do they own, how do they look? Whatever is negative is hidden behind the front doors of the beautiful mansions. Each member of the Mason family has their own brand of ...more
Scott Duffin
Aug 18, 2015 Scott Duffin marked it as to-read
I'm looking forward to reading the book. I grew up in Palos Verdes and actually knew some of people which this book is based on.
Carrie Hassanzai
Living in Palos Verdes lured me to this book. I had no idea what it was about. It was a well-written,dark and tragic story with a slice of hope somewhere.
I read this book when I was much younger, and I still find it to be beautiful and haunting.
Julie S.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Book really made me cringe but it came together at the end.
Apr 01, 2008 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mark by: Debbie
Told in tiny patchwork vignettes, The Tribes of Palos Verdes reads easy but with an affecting air, hiding more than it immediately reveals. This is a novel that knows that countless others have trekked the coming-of-age path and rather than act self-conscious or worry about others, it closes its eyes and stretches out its arms to convey what is personal and emotionally real. A few stale moments in the last quarter, but 4 stars for hitting the spot most of the time.
'The Tribes...' is the only YA novel I've read in English, and so I'd rather judge it on its own terms, than as representative of that particular genre. I think it's important, as the terse, dispassionate voice with which Medina introduces the reality surrounding her while refraining from any form of introspection may or may not be typical of YA literature. Either way, I found the style of this novel extremely refreshing and intelligently restrained. Brilliant.
An older book that was rec'd to me since I LOVE White Oleander by Janet Fitch. There are some similarities in that it's written in first-person narrative by a young coming-of-age girl, and also the mother in the story is despicable (WAY worse than the mother in WO).
I liked the way it was written; it's not a long book, but it pulls you in. Even with minimal description, you can picture everything so clearly. And, finally, the ending is heart-wrenching.
This book wasn't what I was expecting, it was very sad. I could feel Medina's sorrow and loneliness and her love for her brother in everything she did. I initially wanted to read this book, because I don't live far from PV, and there isn't many books out there on this particular area of California. I was a bit disappointed with her depiction of the South Bay, though. Still the overall story was very touching. A book about love.
A novel about a 16 year old surfer girl. I absolutely love this book I can’t believe how real it was.
Melinda, a defiant and awkward teenage girl, is a newcomer to Palos Verdes. She becomes instantly unpopular while her twin brother becomes easily accepted and popular. Medina Mason turns to surfing to deal with her family spiraling out of her control.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Poshdeluxe
Cover Story: No Shame
BFF Charm: Eventually
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: Straight Up Raw
Bonus Factors: Point Break, Mommy Dearest
Relationship Status: My Crazy Ex

Read the full book report here.
I LOVED this book of teenage angst. Storytelling told in great literary fashion. A book that can "show" emotion better than it "tells" emotion is a fine work indeed. Sensitivity rating: I can't remember everything, but I seem to recall that it shouldn't be too offensive, but if it is to you, I didn't find it so when I read it.
Jodi Gutierrez
Fairly interesting read, but I felt it went beyond reality and exaggerated the negativity.
My brief and unsophisticated summary? Girl has a messed up family, where everyone in the family keeps doing messed up things that make everything worse. People die. You have not been made to care enough about the characters to be too upset.
i don't get why some ppl love this book.
i really don't.
its kinda depressing book for me to read over medina's situation.

but will keep on reading to the end, to see the purpose of this book.(though book, fiction doesn't really need one)
not quite sure how the story will end, so, i'll keep on reading!!
I picked up this book, because it takes places in Palos Verdes, where I live. While it was depressing and sad, it was hopeful in the end. I wasn't too thrilled with the generalizations of the PV locals, but understand how teenagers always say "everyone" and "no one" when they describe something.
May 24, 2010 Rhonda added it
Shelves: young-adult
NHS library
The plot revolves around twins--Medina and Jim. Medina does not fit in with the Palos Verdes rich community, but Jim is readily accepted. Both take up surfing--taboo for a girl. Their parent's crumbling marriage causes hardship and eventual destruction. Quick read.
Ricky Arellano
Great book with many twists. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to teen readers.
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