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Ferris Beach
Jill McCorkle
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Ferris Beach

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  932 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
Katie Tennyson Burns is caught at the stage of life when everything is both wonderful and terrible. She is caught, as well, in a struggle for her spirit--in a contest between a prim and sensible mother and a beautiful and reckless cousin. A riveting novel about the conflict between manners and freedom, between those who live by the rules and those who bend and twist them.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published October 1st 1990)
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Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern-fiction
Jill McCorkle has this uncanny ability to delve deep into the mindset of each and every one of her characters. For this reason, her writing is some of the most relatable and realistic I've encountered. She also writes about the South. And for these reasons...I looooooove her!

My latest of McCorkle reads is Ferris Beach, the story of Mary Katherine "Kitty" Burns growing up in 1970s North Carolina. Kate is the only child of two middle-aged parents, Cleva and Frank, that she finds mismatched, liking
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 70's coming of age story. Great companion for snowy weather!
Calista Manns
Ferris Beach is a well written book by Jill McCorkle for this generation. When I started the book I did not really know what I was getting into. The book started out very slow but surprisingly, it taught some truths about the world with quirky moments. It seemed dragged out at times and felt just like your average book. But, It is a gentle book and Jill McCorkle does an excellent job of showing the characters mindsets and goes deep into descriptions. All of the characters are unique and can be f ...more
Nov 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fort some reason this took a hell of a long time to read; either it was longer than it looked in paperback, or it wasn't holding my interest. And in truth it did seem longer than it *needed* to be, while still interesting. Summary: a girl in North Carolina makes best friends with new neighbor, tragedy strikes, love happens, mysterious relative drifts in and out, she comes of age. Characterizations were pretty good, especially the father; not so sure about the plotting.
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For some reason this coming-of-age story draws me in almost 20 years after I first read it. There is a certain sense of isolation in Kate's story, and maybe it's those feelings of disconnect that many of us felt as teens that I see mirrored in her story.
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kate Burns has heard of Ferris Beach all her life, but it seems like an unreachable dream. She is trapped with her demanding mother and individualist dad, then Misty moves to her town. Kate wants her family to be fun, daring and outrageous like Misty’s family. The two girls end up growing up together and one-fourth of July Kate learns about life's little surprises. Also, you realize life is sometimes the harder part and it gets easier to cope with
Some of the conflicts that the characters have ar
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
strong female characters, especially Kate or Kitty and her best friend Misty, as they mature and enter high school. Southern culture and class struggles present points of growth for the young girls who struggle with tragic losses and overcome self-consciousness. good book for young adults.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the characters, and I didn't find the story terribly predictable. In fact, I didn't see the last part coming at all. Not the best thing I've read from Jill McCorkle, but not bad.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Life is too short to read bad books!
Aug 02, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book at a bargain bin in a grocery store and I can see why it was there. It began with an intriguing opening sentence and then descended into every cliché possible. There are easily ten thousand other books exactly like this one, so why a publisher chose to foist another one on us is beyond me. The author is a writing professor and this book is the embodiment of the old saying, "Those who can't, teach". The situation in the blurb occurs less than halfway through the book and I spen ...more
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a basic read, but entertaining. It made me cry, which isn't an easy task, but it was also touching on something that just happens to be going on in my own life too, so I was sensitive to it. However, it was all done very well. This is your basic coming of age story, however unlike other basic coming of age stories, I actually felt like this one was incredibly realistic. The interactions between the characters, the way situations developed, all very life lik ...more
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I used to read this book constantly when I was younger. I would always check it out from the public library over and over. I found a hardback copy of the book at my local Goodwill and had to buy it.

When I started reading, I was bored. I couldn't for the life of me remember why I had liked the book so much. But I trudged on.

And then I remembered. I had always wished my life had been exciting like theirs was. A secret boyfriend in the woods, school functions (which we never had), a bff next door (
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jill McCorkle has what so many great writers have: Voice. I have had the pleasure of hearing her read at Bennington College several times, and have been mesmerized by the sound of her actual voice each time. When I finally bought Ferris Beach and opened it to the first page, it was her writing voice that kept me going all the way through.
McCorkle's attention to detail brings the reader back to the mid-1970s. The characters and setting seem so real, that I found myself on Google Earth trying t
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorites. I've read it 3 times over the years, and will keep it on my shelf and continue to reread it. I love the characters and can really relate to Katie. They're all so REAL. I like how Katie is used as the narrator, as opposed to the story being told in the third person. She observes the things going on around her and watches everything play out. The tone does change at the end, and I'm not crazy about it, but it's intentional. I can't say much more without a spoiler alert ...more
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked this up at a used bookstore because I had fallen in love with a short story by Jill McCorkle years ago and she's one of those authors I have on a list to hunt for when I get a chance. Maybe I picked the wrong novel to start with, but Ferris Beach didn't enchant me. It was a fine coming of age story, but the plot really wandered and at times didn't seem to really exist at all. I was never dying to see what happened next. It was kind of like really just being a fly on the wall in a teenag ...more
May 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my new favorite southern writers. Author born in Lumberton, NC. her fiction has been four times selected by The New York Times Book Review for its Notable Books of the Year list. She teaches creative writing at Harvard and Bennington, lives in Boston with husband and children.
Colorful small-town characters, story of changing South of the 1970's. It tells of a young girl and her "foundling" cousin; and of a love that bridges social classes. The story contains tenderness, innocence, pain an
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't really put my finger on why I loved this book so much. I didn't ever feel in awe of the writing, but maybe that's part of it; the writing was seamless and powerful, so I didn't really notice it. I stayed up late several nights to read more, and that says a lot. McCorkle is a wonderful story-teller, and she creates a great balance between character and plot. This book was beautiful, sad, and very rooted in its setting. Just a great book, really. I'm going to pick up more of her work from ...more
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great coming of age story!

I can see these characters all around the town I grew up in and can even see myself in some of the kids. All lovable characters........except Mrs. Poole! I found myself wondering where this story was going and then realized nowhere it's a story of growing up! My one draw back(besides Mrs. Poole lol) is the name. Ferris Beach is referenced several times and visited but it is not the epicenter of the story or even a central point of action. Oh well, I loved it anyway! :)
Nov 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2009
Ferris Beach by Jill McCorkle is a simple coming of age story, following the lives of two girls from the age of ten into their late teenage years. The narrator, Katherine Mary (aka Kitty) Burns befriends the spunky daughter of the new family in their small neighborhood in the 1970s, and are soon inseparable, sharing every moment in their lives, from tragedies to love and high school.
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly if I could give this book ten stars I would! I usually swallow books but for some reason tried to stretch this one out as long as possible. One of the reasons is being so intertwined with the characters. I laughed, I cried, I grew along with them. It also made me relive my own time as a teenager, so much is unknown at that age. Innocence being key and learning from mistakes. I honestly loved every page and wished it never ended.
Barbara L. Schmidt
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, I really struggled with the first few pages and put this book down for a while, but I'm so glad that I picked it back up again. I thought that it was very easy to relate to the characters once I crossed that hurdle. Ferris Beach is a nicely written coming-of-age story about complicated family relationships and learning too early about the challenges and sadness that life can hold.
Nov 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: NOOK daily book
Shelves: 2012, southern-lit
This book for me was one of those that you start reading not really knowing much about the story. Some books immerse you more than others for a number of reasons, and this is one of those books. I felt like I was a participant within the novel and right there with the characters throughout. It's a 3.5 but I'm going to round it down to 3 stars. It just didn't have that umph.
Nicole Johnson
Easy to read and vivid details of everyday living. Set in the 70's in the South, 2 teenage girls grow into their teens together with high drama shaking up their Suburban lives. Jill McCorkle weaves multiple stories together and you get caught up in these characters and the decisions they make. Wonderful.
Nicki H
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was almost moved to the abandoned shelf...but I stuck with it and very glad i did. Although I would have preferred to rate it 3.5 stars over 4 it was one of the better books I have read in awhile and have been on a 3 star rating kick so 4 it is! The story picked up about 50 pages in and once it did I was totally invested. Good plot and great characters.
Ronya Misleh
Not as good as I remembered it being. Read it in college for my Southern Women Writers class. Remember getting all her other books...but can't recall if I read them. This wasn't very long but I felt myself trudging through it, waiting to get to a part that reminded me why I had liked it so much. Really, it may have been just because it wasn't Heart of Darkness or Canterbury Tales.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cecelia Hightower
Growing up in the seventies, two girls are defined by their parents/family idiosyncrasies, changes in the neighborhood, and friendship. I really struggled with the first few pages but I'm happy to have completed the story. It was easy to relate to the characters and the complicated family relationships.
Lynda Stauffer
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Jill McCorkle. I can still feel the shade under the house in this book. Hear each character's voice. This is a story that takes place in a small town not far from the ocean, in NC. It features three families, each very different, and the friendships of the two PRE-teen girls and one boy. There's a lot in this book, if you take it all in. Very good story.
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Five of Jill McCorkle's seven previous books have been named New York Times Notables. Winner of the New England Booksellers Award, the Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, and the North Carolina Award for Literature, she has taught writing at the University of North Carolina, Bennington College, Tufts University, and Harvard. She lives near Boston with her husband, their two children, se ...more
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