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We Run the Tides

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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. 

272 pages, Hardcover

First published February 9, 2021

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About the author

Vendela Vida

94 books444 followers
Vendela Vida is the award-winning author of four books, including Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Lovers, and a founding editor of The Believer magazine. She is also the co-editor of Always Apprentices, a collection of interviews with writers, and Confidence, or the Appearance of Confidence, a collection of interviews with musicians. As a fellow at the Sundance Labs, she developed Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name into a script, which received the Sundance Institute/Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award. Two of Vida’s novels have been New York Times Notable Books of the year, and she is the winner of the Kate Chopin Award, given to a writer whose female protagonist chooses an unconventional path. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children, and since 2002 has served on the board of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring lab for youth.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,753 reviews
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews611 followers
September 28, 2020
Dedicating this review to Lisi, Renee, and Barbara.....( best friends since Junior High School). My friends will understand the dedication.

***Nostalgia***....is felt.....I took a trip down memory lane in “We Run The Tides”.
For many women around my age (I’m 68)....this will be a VERY ENJOYABLE PERSONAL GUT LOVING BOOK CHOICE!!!!
IT’s DREAMY—wonderful, heart-warming- page turning addictive, sad, ( I want to cry and I don’t ‘fully’ know why)....
It’s one of my favorite ‘coming-of-age’ stories about young girls....private elite school, Sea Cliff and the streets of San Francisco that I’ve read. There is suspense & mystery too.....with a MUST KNOW MORE TALE inside these pages—-but ( sh#T).... I’ll never fully find the words to describe the feelings that’s running through every cell of my body at the moment....

Memories of youth - of the 80’s - of innocence - loss innocence- adventures- betrayal- desires to fit in - humor - chaos - its all here in “We Run The Tides”.

Tap into.....
Memories of 8th grade- friendships - SF Bay Area memories: ( the small art house theaters, the beaches, skateboards, public bus rides transportation, Ponds moisturizer cold cream, Virginia Slims cigarettes, Dresses with shoulder pads, The Zodiac killer, Lanz nightgowns, penny loafers, tie-dye T-shirts, bell bottoms, Chinese grocer corner shops,hippies, school uniforms ( those awful white middy see-through blouses), the Fillmore, ( strong cannabis aromas), the Sony Walkman,
books read, ( JD Salinger, Homer, etc.) music ( Psychedelic Furs, Jerry Garcia, etc ) movies (My Beautiful Laundrette) boys (Keith and Alex, etc. ) jealousy, assumptions, family, thrift shopping on Haight Street, Polo Shirts, teacher influences, and the emotional roller coaster of hurts, confusion, and aspirations into adulthood.

Having read other books by Vida, “The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty”, “Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name”, and “The Lovers”, .....
I can honestly say...”We Run The Tides” is my all-time favorite!!!

The main character- *Eulabee* was the epitome of a shining example of a quiet champion— she wasn’t without flaws-not a big shot- not particularly an influential kibitzer — but her character traits were honorable—discerning, authentic, trustworthy when it counted most, humble, stood for justice, wise, resilient, and my gosh....ADORABLE & LIKABLE.

Eulabee’s best friend from Kindergarten: (until 8th grade).....a falling out left a lifetime mark on Eulabee.
*Maria Fabiola*- was oldest of three children— The youngest ones are twin boys. She moved to Sea Cliff when Eulabee was in kindergarten. Nobody knew much about her family. Sometimes Maria Fabiola said she’s part Italian. Other times she said she wasn’t.
Other times she said her grandfather was a prime minister of Italy.
There were dozens of photos in her home with she and her cousins sitting on top horses, or on the edge of swimming pool’s surrounded by grass. The photos were taken by professionals and displayed in identical silver frames”.
Maria was physically beautiful and boys noticed her. Her character- left room to be desired.

A little drama.....Maria Fabiola was missing.....
“I ride my bike to the beach. It’s getting dark and the waves are choppy, their crashes a loud staccato.
What if Maria Fabiola really is missing? I decided to climb up and over the bluff.
I get to the top and as I’m about to descend to Baker Beach, I look down. From this high-up perspective, I see a figure hunched over, making
itself into an oval.
Maria Fabiola! I yell. The waves crash loudly in response”.
Maria Fabiola was still missing.....( my lips are sealed: no spoilers)....as to all that follows.

The 1980’s was a great decade for San Francisco.....especially for teenagers.
Life seemed a lot less complicated before the explosion of the Internet and mobile phones. Going through a flooded email inbox wasn’t part of your daily routine and life wasn’t repeatedly interrupted by text messages. Social media didn’t even exist.
Kids owned the streets—racing through the suburbs on bikes with banana seats—
Sweatshirts with the Esprit logo was a popular fashion clothing.
(I still remember taking our daughters shopping at the Esprit factory - located in S.F).
Huey Lewis was playing on the radio.....and it was the era the Sony Walkman—
A popular TV shows was ‘Punky Brewster’.
Films: E.T., the Extra Terrestrial, Poltergeist, and The Goonies.

Sea Cliff is a neighborhood in Northwestern San Francisco that is known for its large houses of ocean views. Many of the homes offer great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County, a small public beach called China Beach and the national park Land’s End are located in the neighborhood. Sea Cliff contains the residences for the consul generals of Switzerland,South Korea, and The Netherlands.
While growing up as a kid in Oakland/Berkeley....my aunt, uncle, and cousins lived on the top floor of the largest high rise on Sacramento Street- in Pacific Heights- in the incredible ‘two’- pent-houses connected together giving off the most spectacular view of the entire city.
I enjoyed the storytelling & writing from Vendela Vida very much....
and was enamored with my own memories —
Soooo.....this book was a perfect delightful fit.

Other excerpts:
“I run past palm trees and I run past gardeners with their trucks and loud leaf blowers and grating rakes.
My body is sweating and cold by the fog as I approach China Beach. My feet make a galloping sound as they race down the ninety-three steps.
The beach is empty this gloomy morning. On the sand, I hastily remove my shoes and socks. I run to the waters edge and the cold ocean licks my toes.
Without touching my face I can feel that it’s wet with fog and tears and sweat. I stand there, on the cusp of the ocean and listen to it loud inhale. And then it recedes and takes everything from my childhood with it—the porcelain dolls, the tap-dancing shoes, the concert ticket stubs, the tiny trophies, and the long, long swing”.

“We are almost 50 years old and the streets of Sea Cliff are no longer ours”.......
The venture capitalists have taken over Pacific Heights. The young tech workers have claimed Hayes Valley, Mission Bay, and Portola Hill— neighbors close to the freeway so they have an easier commute to Silicon Valley. But the CEOs and the names behind the companies live in Sea Cliff where there is privacy and unobstructed views of the Golden gate. Seacliff is for solitude, for when you want to protect yourself from people. Of course, everything is extra fortified now— there are more gates, more cameras”.

As to Eulabee, Maria Fabiola, Julia and Faith ( two other friends from school) .....we learn about the girls lives in 2019.

Whip Smart...easy & elegant prose....and a little bit of spunky-moxie.

Thank you Ecco, Netgalley, and Vendela Vida.

This book will be released in February 2021
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews3,333 followers
May 19, 2021
Book blurb: We Run the Tides is about young teenage girls in 1984…

Me: Outta my way!

There’s really no faster way to sell me on a novel than to tell me its set in the ‘80s, unless you also mention the protagonists are of my generation (Gen-X, represent!). That basically means there was no way I wasn’t going to read Vendala Vida’s latest book, even if early reviews have been somewhat mixed.

The thing about We Run the Tides though is that it is perhaps so accurate in its depiction of being a 13-year-old girl that it is awkward, uncomfortable, and cringe-worthy. Girls are mean, and natural-yet-kinda-gross things are happening to their bodies. What’s your gut reaction when you hear the word “puberty?” That might be a good indication of how you’ll feel reading this book.

The audiobook benefits from narration by the always-stellar Marin Ireland. She’s a nice fit for the first-person voice of main character Eulabee. I could really relate to her struggles being ostracized by the popular girls, particularly the pathological liar leader of the pack. I’m just not sure all readers will… or will want to.

3.5 stars

I received a complimentary review copy of the audiobook from W.F. Howes LTD via NetGalley. We Run the Tides is now available.

Blog: https://www.confettibookshelf.com/
IG: @confettibookshelf
Profile Image for Libby.
594 reviews156 followers
October 11, 2021
A richly textured novel about thirteen year old girls growing up in the upper class neighborhood of Sea Cliffs, San Francisco. Known for its mansions and ocean views, protagonist Eulabee and her arresting best friend, Maria Fabiola know its streets and its inhabitants fully. Using the pronoun ‘we’ in the first chapter, author Vendela Vida, inhabits the hive mind of four teenagers, Eulabee, Maria, Julia, and Faith. Vida differentiates them in looks and characteristics, but together they become the ‘we’ that “own these streets of Sea Cliff, but it’s Maria Fabiola and I who know the beaches the best.”

When Eulabee and Maria Fabiola have a falling out, the novel takes on more nuances. Maria Fabiola with the tinkling laugh, the body that is blossoming into womanhood earlier than the other girls; Maria is the influencer, the one who captures attention. Eulabee is left to find her own way, an identity crisis. Their falling out has to do with a lie. Eulabee can lie, she has a sinister side, but in this situation she tells what she sees as the truth. Many of us know the beautiful girl that holds court. The first time a person finds themselves on the outside of a group shapes them, determines something of who they will become. It doesn’t have to, but it almost always does.

An au pair, Ewa, moves into the household. Eulabee’s Swedish mother tries to help the au pairs who are mostly from Sweden. Ewa refused to mop up the milk that the man at the home where she was living asked her to mop up. Ewa’s job is to take care of the children and if they had spilled milk, she would mop it up, but not the man’s. It’s not in her job description. Ewa becomes a friend to Eulabee, a bit of a catalyst in moving her toward taking some chances, going to a party, getting tickets to a concert and telling Eulabee to invite a boy. Ewa has become comfortable living in her own skin. “She’s wearing the white pants that all Swedes love. In America women with her body type probably wouldn’t wear white pants. Maybe it’s a mind trick, I think. By wearing white pants she’s signaling that she’s not heavy, even though she is. Her eyes are the violet-blue of a flame and her shoulder-length hair is curly. Maybe a perm, I think.” Throughout the novel, this kind of attention is given to clothing and appearance. Eulabee lives in a community where this is important.

It is Vida’s prose that distinguishes this novel. Her prose is not lyrical, but neither is it simple. She inhabits the mind of a thirteen year old with wisdom and insight. Themes are lies versus truth, who can we become outside the group (finding our own identity), and how important is the group we belong to? Are some lies okay? How do we get attention? How important is it to be seen? And lastly, how much of our adolescent behavior do we carry into adulthood. There is suspense in this beautifully told story, but it is Eulabee and Maria Fabiola as adults in the last part of the story that is most meaningful to me.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,782 reviews14.2k followers
March 7, 2021
Took me right back to eighth grade, which I vividly remember. When this book first started I thought Eulabee, and I love the and, seemed younger than she was supposed to be. As the book went on though, and due to some fairly serious situations, she grew. This book was spot on in highlighting the dramas, the angst of these early teen years, peer pressure and how standing for the truth may alienate you from your friends. One day you're in, the next you're out. Experimentation, lack of confidence, wanting to belong to something, someone. Oh yes, I remember though no ones memories,experiences are the same.

Bet we all know a Maria too, the girl who developed before the others, the one at which the boys stared. Excuded self-confidence, a major drama queen always craving attention. The time period of the eighties was spot on too, with swatch watches, clearasil, shoulder pads. For me, this was an easy coming of age story in which to relate. Loved that at the ending the author catches us up on the girls, fifty years old now, some changed, some not. Oh yes, eighth grade was a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to go back. Been there, done that!

ARC from Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Terrie  Robinson.
445 reviews718 followers
May 19, 2021
"We Run the Tides" by Vendela Vida was an amazing Coming-of-age story!

'We are thirteen, almost fourteen, and these streets of Sea Cliff are our own.'

Eulabee and her friend Maria Fabiola have been BFF's since kindergarten. Their four person clique also includes Julia & Faith. They all live in the wealthy Sea Cliff neighborhood in San Francisco, California, high above China Beach, overlooking the ocean, with perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin County.

They attend an upscale all-girls school and it seems to be a condition of their friendships to walk to school together every day. They are good girls when alone, but they become bold, brash and unapologetic in their behavior when together.

It's the 1984-1985 school year of 8th Grade and something big is about to happen on the way to school. Their friendships are based on having each other's backs, unquestionable loyalty, even when untruths are told. When a question is asked by one of them to the other three girls, one girl boldly disagrees. That's when everything changes!

Eulabee is the protagonist in this story. She is bright, observant, articulate and now she's been ostracized by her three closest friends. She's shocked by this sudden change and crushed that Maria Fabiola, her BFF, is the one directing the harsh treatment toward her.

Although now alone, Eulabee remains focused and strong but lonely and sad. She continues to make choices through the years. Some choices are good, some are not so good. But, she embraces her future and carries on.

How do you cope when something like this happens to you? Do you always remember how it felt? What do you say if you cross paths with one of these 'friends' many years later?

A little dark, occasionally humorous, sometimes a bit weird and yet this was a very engaging read! I don't believe I've ever read a book quite like this one! It brought back memories of my teenage years and how tenuous some friendships were, while others were unyielding and substantial and remain so to this day. Truly one of life's greatest gifts is the gift of unconditional friendship!

My favorite characters were Eulabee and Maria Fabiola. The author did an amazing job pairing off BFF's so dissimilar, with contrasts in personalities that created so much drama to this story. The development of both characters was deep and spoke to the fickleness of their age with boy craziness and constantly pushing boundaries.

I loved how the author's writing nailed the dialog of the 13 year-old characters during their conversations and this is also true of Eulabee's first person narrative. There were a few laugh-out-loud scenarios for me while reading Eulabee's POV and I had to stop to savor each one! Oh, how I enjoyed those moments!

I am rating this book 4.5 stars and bumping it up to 5 stars because I loved this story and the fond memories it stirred in me of growing up in the SF Bay Area.

I highly recommend this book to those who love Coming-of-age stories or just enjoy a really good book.
Thank you to NetGalley, Ecco and Vendela Vida for a free ARC copy of this book. This is my honest and voluntary review.
Profile Image for Debbie.
455 reviews2,899 followers
March 15, 2021

She has me in the palm of her hand…

When this book got high marks from a couple of Goodreads friends, I was all in, begging Edelweiss for a copy like my life depended on it (acquiring books can be quite dramatic)! But good thing I didn’t read the blurb before I dove in, because I would have been turned off. Yet another coming-of-age story told from the point-of-view of a 13-year-old girl? Pleazzzzz, we’ve been there, done that, a thousand times. There’s the angst, the tumultuous friendships, the lies, the budding sexuality, and all the drama of that twitchy age. But this author is a born storyteller; she had me in the palm of her hand from the get-go. I couldn’t put this book down. Where has this author been all my life?

Eulabee (I hate that name!) lives in a ritzy area of San Francisco in the 1980s. Very atmospheric, which was fun. The kids climbed cliffs and were smart about the tide; the ocean background added to the story for me. It was also nice to be thrown back to that era. I got to chuckle at things like shoulder pads—remember those bizarre squishy things that made us all look like football players?

Eulabee has a best friend, Maria Fabiola (I don’t like that name, either). Their relationship is topsy-turvy. An aside: I thought “Fabiola” was a last name. I thought Eulabee was just using Maria’s full name, to be funny, or like maybe there were too many Maria’s and she needed an extra (last) name to distinguish her. The name distracted me, but truth be told it also made me laugh, thinking that it was a last name that Eulabee couldn’t stop saying. But the last-name theory went down the drain when I later looked it up and found out that Fabiola is a first name; Maria Fabiola just has one of those “Peggy Sue” kind of names. Less funny, especially since I don’t like the sound of it.

Two major strands: lying and shunning, and all the hoopla surrounding the two. There’s a mystery and excitement even thrown in. The language is simple on the outside, but deep in the middle.

There are some good metaphors, though the author isn’t too heavy-handed. Here are some samples:

“I circle the party in a way that reminds me of the shark at the aquarium in Golden Gate Park, going around and around.”

“I think my lip is bleeding, or maybe it’s his, but something tastes like batteries.”

“Her ponytail flops to the side the way a horse’s tail moves when the horse is about to urinate.”

“…a diaphragm that looks like a pink trampoline for a rodent.”

There are a few things that keep me from giving this book 5 stars. I’m not going to call it an official Complaint Board and throw all the attention to a list of problems, because I love the book too much! (It’s funny how much we forgive an author’s transgressions when we are so totally invested in the book.)

For one thing, 13-year-old Eulabee sometimes sounds waaaaay beyond her age. Here are two things she uttered that are just ridiculous:

“This revelation that they’re a couple provokes a cascade of questions: what else have I not seen?”

“The lie flew out of my mouth, a fabrication intended to collapse the distance spreading between us.”

No, no, no! Hell, not even an adult would utter these words! There are more than a few of these sentences. Usually I got caught up in the story and they didn’t pop out at me, thank goodness.

And a one-off, but it bugged me: Eulabee’s father told her she should point at flashers (guys exposing themselves) and laugh. I can’t imagine a father saying that to his daughter in a million years!!

And a final crime: in what’s basically an epilogue, there’s a meeting that’s just too coincidental. The meeting is so poignant and so necessary (I just loved it), that I could completely overlook its improbability.

This is a book I keep thinking about, weeks later. I now want to (have to) read Vida’s previous books. There is something about her style and her story that is addictive and engrossing. It’s a book that I want on my shelf in my living room; I need it to be one of the luscious spines staring at me, reminding me of the gold within the pages. It’s one of my favorite coming-of-age stories, right up there with The Knockout Queen.

Thanks to Edelweiss for the advance copy.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,799 reviews2,392 followers
February 9, 2021

4.5 Stars

’We are thirteen, almost fourteen, and these streets of Sea Cliff are ours. We walk these streets to our school perched high over the Pacific and we run these streets to the beaches, which are cold, windswept, full of fishermen and freaks. We know these wide streets and how they slope, how they curve toward the short, and we know their houses.’

Living in a somewhat close knit community of houses in San Francisco, where such notables as Paul Kantner from Jefferson Airplane / Starship lived with his daughter China - born the same year as these girls – these girls who grew up surrounded by the stories that echoed through the streets, stories of the lives of other famous people, as well as less famous doctors and lawyers lived, or those families who had inherited homes passed down through the generations.

’And most important, because we are thirteen and attend an all-girls’ school, we know where the boys live.’

These four girls, Eulabee, Maria Fabiola – who Eulabee considers her best friend since kindergarten – and Julia and Faith. Julia has a rebellious older half-sister named Gentle who dabbles in scandalous behavior. Faith was adopted, and renamed after her parents’ first child – also named Faith – died when she was seven. The four of them consider the streets of Sea Cliff to be their own, but it’s Eulabee and Maria Fabiola that know the ins and outs of the ins and outs of the beaches.

Their daring, audacious approach as a group is unlike their more compliant, good-girl behavior when they’re not together. And teenage girls can be fickle, sometimes requiring unquestioning loyalty – backing up lies told to parents, teachers, and adults in authority. And when a lie is told, and one doesn’t back up that lie, then hell hath no fury like a teenage queen bee that feels betrayed.
Looking back years later, as this story draws to a close, we see the changes brought about over the years of their lives, as well as the changes in Pacific Heights, and other neighborhoods now in the hands of Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists. But those are not the only changes that have come to pass.

Life, circumstances change people, sometimes childhood friends remain lifelong friends, and sometimes they lose touch and when they reunite through circumstance or happenstance, we barely recognize who they’ve become. And yet, our memories remain seemingly untouched.

Published: 09 Feb 2021

Many thanks for the ARC provided by Ecco

#WeRuntheTides #NetGalley
June 30, 2022

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I impulsively bought WE RUN THE TIDES without really knowing what it was about when it went on sale because it's set in San Francisco (which ended up being a huge treat for me, because I've been to about 90% of the places mentioned in this book). It was just languishing on my Kindle until my friend, Heather, told me that she was just about to read it, and then we decided to do an impromptu buddy read.

WE RUN THE TIDES is a coming of age work of literary fiction. Some people are shelving it as YA because the heroine and her friends are 13-14, but even though I'm sure this would be accessible for teens, it's really a book for adults. Eulabee is the daughter of an American father and a Swedish mother. She has three friends: Faith, Julia, and Maria Fabiola, her beautiful best friend.

The four of them attend a private school for girls, and in an era before TikTok or internet, there isn't much to do but to roam the streets of San Francisco and get into shenanigans. But as with any horror novel involving children, everyone knows that when kids get bored, they can become quite cruel. And these girls are no exceptions. As they discover themselves and their sexuality, they start to become incredibly dangerous-- but the world also becomes dangerous for them. And the book ends up tackling some pretty heavy subjects, like toxic friendships, predatory behavior, and lies.

I don't want to say too much about this book because less is definitely more, but it's pretty dark. Also, I think there's a rule in literary fiction that all sex scenes have to be gross, and there has to be at least one gnarly scene involving private parts that makes you cringe (this one had at least two). The heroine is a sort of unreliable narrator; she's cold and self-serving, and you can tell that she's definitely spinning the narrative. And since her friends are as manipulative as she is, sometimes the heroine is left in the dark, too. I think people who enjoy Megan Abbott's work will really enjoy this because she really captures the intense mean girl friendship dynamics that occur between teen girls, and how quickly it can turn toxic.

Unfortunately, since all the kids are such jerks, it means that there isn't really someone to root for. This is largely a character-driven novel, and it's as much about the city of San Francisco in its "heydey" before all the tech people moved in and gentrified it, as it is about these girls who get into things way over their heads. It's also probably going to be triggering for some people, because the author examines how creepy dudes (apparently most dudes) could be in the era before #MeToo. Literally every boy and man in this book says or does something skeevy. So there isn't really much of a plot beyond exploring that, and the girls interacting with their environment.

Despite that, I liked the book. It did some daring things and the ending was great. I could see this becoming an indie movie or a Netflix movie. It has that kind of retro cinematic vibe.

3.5 to 4 stars
Profile Image for Barbara**catching up!.
1,397 reviews806 followers
March 7, 2021
I absolutely adore the voice of Marin Ireland when she reads stories about apathetic women. If you have heard her narration of “Nothing to See Here” and “Anxious People”, you will know what I’m talking about. She narrates “We Run the Tides” by Vendela Vida, giving voice to thirteen year-old Eulabee.

Eulabee narrates the story of her middle school friendship with her best friend, Maria Fabiola. That is how she is called, by her full name, Maria Fabiola. Ireland does a stellar job getting the almost flat voice of Eulabee. Anyone who has spent time around eighth-grade girls knows that Ireland’s performance is perfect. In fact, if I had read this instead of listening to Ireland, I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much.

This is a coming-of-age story about teen/middle school girls. And that is the worst age/stage of girls. It’s the cruelest age where girls can ostracize a girl at the drop of a hat. All it takes is one mean Queen Bee, and the world of a girl can be destroyed. Sadly, this happens to Eulabee when she refuses to agree with Maria Fabiola when Ms. Fabiola spreads a fictious story about a man in a white car exposing himself to the girls as they walk to school. Author Vendela Vida creates a reality fiction story of that critical time in a girl’s life where one second you are confident and hopeful, and in the next instant a social pariah all on the whim of one girl.

And Vida takes it further when a boy spreads rumors about a sexual encounter that he made up regarding Eulabee. Yes, eighth-grade is a time when one’s social standing determines your emotional health. A boy can make up a rumor, with nary proof, and the character assassination begins. But what Vida does, is create a Eulabee who is strong enough to withstand the pressure. And in fact, Eulabee’s inner musings are clever and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. This story takes you back to that cruel time, with the intensity of emotions and the confusion that follows.

Maria Fabiola is that girl with a huge imagination, bordering on sociopathic. She doesn’t just stop at lying about the man in the white car. She ups her lies as the story progresses. The drama of that age group is immense, and Vida writes it perfectly.

This part of Eulabee’s life is pivotable. Even as a married woman in her fifties, she still hasn’t processed that period in her life. As adults, some of us still have pieces of our history that remain enigmas. Growing up is hard to do.

This is a fantastic audio book and I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Lisa (NY).
1,550 reviews603 followers
February 18, 2021
Although reading about adolescence is not my top choice, I found this novel about the turmoil of girlhood very entertaining. I loved Eulabee's quirky personality and was invested in her struggle to navigate a difficult friendship. And the 1980s setting in San Francisco was great. (I lived there then!) A warm, satisfying novel that felt authentic.
Profile Image for Lark Benobi.
Author 1 book2,135 followers
November 12, 2021
I tend to read more literally than many readers, and for me a first-person, present-tense voice demands a high level of consistency or it falls apart like a house of cards. We Run the Tides is told in a narrative voice doesn't work for me because of its inconsistencies. It keeps making me aware, sentence by sentence, that it's  words on a page; a manipulation.

At times the voice is literary and almost elegiac, and at others it's too naive and too young even for a 13 year old girl. The inconsistencies wouldn't be a problem for me if the story were written in past tense, where a narrative voice is less literally time-bound and can slip back and forth from a child's point of view in the 'past' and her adult perspective in the 'present'.

I know this tense problem barely registers with most readers. They can just move past the literal meanings on the page. But for me, writing in present tense is like a contract, one that promises me that I'm being told a story by the narrator as she is literally in the moment, in medias res. As such she must sound like herself, and behave consistently, for me to buy it. 

First person/present tense has become the default choice of many contemporary fiction writers, maybe because of the energy boost that writing in present tense can inject, even into lazy sentences. And maybe, like most readers, most writers don't hear the logical/narrative problems that this narrative choice poses. But alternatively, I don't think writers always exploit the intensity that can be achieved, when 1) this voice/tense choice is chosen deliberately, 2) supports the needs of the story, and 3) is applied consistently.

Zero stars so as not to be included in the book's rating--I'm aware I'm an outlier on this subject of voice and tense.
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews326 followers
April 11, 2021
In a word, wistful. For a time lost in time, a place that is now out of reach, a young girl straddling the edge of adolescence and adulthood. This is a captivating and entertaining story of lost innocence and female friendships on the precipice of change.

Our narrator Eulabee’s distinctive voice is observant, quirky and often very humorous and managed to keep this reader focused despite several narrative threads. Adolescent cliques, Queen Bees and the recklessness of youth are handled deftly and with insight. The sense of place as nostalgic as the feelings it evoked.

I was only going to read a few pages, not sure that I was in the mood for a coming-of-age story, and instead breezed my way through to the end. To say this was addictive seems cliché, but it was, in the best sense of the word. 4+++
Profile Image for Dianne.
567 reviews935 followers
April 24, 2021
I loved this unexpected little gem! Beautifully written from the perspective of a thirteen year old girl in 1984 San Francisco who is trying to navigate so many things - developing her sense of self and identity, her budding sexuality, peer pressure, and realizing that adults can be imperfect and totally disappointing human beings.

Vida creates truly memorable characters. There’s the wonderfully fierce but vulnerable narrator, Eulabee; her enigmatic, troubled friend Maria Fabiola; her idiot English teacher, Mr. London (“How this man is teaching literature is a miracle, a debacle.”). Honestly, this book took me right back to my teenaged years - all the snarkiness, insecurity, anguish, confusion......all that stuff you’d just as soon forget!

I loved the epilogue, which takes place thirty-five years later. Even though it hinges on a huge coincidence, it is a pitch-perfect denouement to Eulabee and Maria Fabiola’s stories. It felt so right.

Highly recommend this one. If I keep thinking about it, I might have to come back and give this 5 stars.
Profile Image for Michelle.
637 reviews505 followers
February 8, 2021
I feel really bad saying this, I'm kind of underwhelmed by this book based on the many glowing reviews I've seen. I guess I went in thinking there would be more? I love coming of age stories, but this one lacked that certain something to take it to the next level.

I think the writing was good and the deep dive into the many aspects of how girls interact with each other was pretty spot on. I also enjoyed Eulabee's dark sense of humor. The book moved quickly and I read it in a day so it definitely held my attention. Maybe I went in expecting too much? Either way, I don't want to dissuade anyone from reading the book so if this is something that sounds up your alley, I encourage you to check it out for yourself.

Thanks to Ecco Books and Vendela Vida for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review!

Review Date: 02/08/2021
Publication Date: 02/09/2021
Profile Image for Esil.
1,118 reviews1,363 followers
February 16, 2021
A high 4 stars

There was something mesmerizing and addictive about We Run the Tides. The story is set in San Francisco in the 1980s, told from the perspective of 13 year old Eulabee. Eulabee is both so so smart and so so deluded as only 13 year old girls can be. She goes to an elite private school, feels on top of the world, in awe her best friend Maria Fabiola. In no time, everything turns upside down. I loved how Vida managed to convey the melodramatic headspace of a thirteen year old girl without telling a melodramatic story. I loved the last chapter when we catch up with Eulabee at age 50. Vida is an original story teller and her writing is smooth as silk. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
Profile Image for Scott.
1,799 reviews131 followers
March 13, 2023
"On the street where you live, girls talk about their social lives -
They're made of lipstick, plastic, and paint - a touch of sable in their eyes
All your life all you asked when is your daddy gonna talk to you -
But we're livin' in another world, tryin' to get your message through . . ."

-- lyrics to 'Runaway' by Bon Jovi

Now here was a spellbinding novel that kept me so engrossed that I read it completely within a 24-hour period. Vida's We Run the Tides - referring to the young protagonist's boast about skillfully navigating a section of the beach without getting drenched by incoming waves - shadows thirteen year-old Eulabee during her time experiencing the highs and lows of both puberty AND attending a private all-girls' school during her eighth-grade year circa 1984. Much like my own memories of junior high (or middle school, as the title will vary by district), it is occasionally akin to hell on earth.

Eulabee - a lovely and unique name, don't you think? - is part of a quartet of friends residing in suburban San Francisco, although she is middle-class while the others come from upper crust or moneyed families. Two of the girls are sort of secondary characters, but the queen bee - as well as being Eulabee's longtime 'BFF' - of said clique is Maria Fabiola. (And she is ALWAYS referred to by her first and last names . . . although local teen boys stuck her with the moniker 'Maria Fabulous.') Maria physically developed earlier and/or more noticeably than her friends and fellow classmates, and it's clear she is able to wrap grown men around her quasi-duplicitous and manicured finger like a siren lurking by the sea. The drama is courtesy of a few events - some alarming, some depressing - which drive a firm and unrepairable wedge between Eulabee and Maria. Author Vida has done some tricky work here - the nostalgia factor (as in the "bittersweet yearning for the past" definition) is kept at the appropriate tone / level, as the story is really about Eulabee simply navigating this somewhat difficult, uneven, and heartbreaking time in her young life. Much like Dana Czapnik's outstanding debut The Falconer from 2019, there is something that feels deeply authentic about this book.
Profile Image for Anne .
455 reviews376 followers
April 4, 2021
This is a coming of age story, about two 13 year old girls, that is very well written and kept my interest. However, the story had some elements (character and coincidence) which I couldn't believe. . Perhaps this book suffered by comparison to the book which I'd read just before, Cat's Eye, which deals with some of the same themes in a remarkable and seamless manner.

There are many stronger reviews for this book so please read those and take my few words with a grain of salt.
Profile Image for Kasa Cotugno.
2,413 reviews494 followers
September 5, 2020
Vendela Vida writes like no one else. She writes in a distinct style with an ability to get far under the skin of her characters. Most of this book is a memory piece of growing up in privileged circumstances in the early 1980's San Francisco in the community of Sea Cliff where everything "... is about the view of the Bridge." What truly sets Eulabee and her friends apart is that they don't see their situation as being anything but normal, that the exclusivity of their lives only becomes apparent when a possible kidnapping takes place and they are made aware of how they are perceived by the outside world.

Although Eulabee has been friends with these girls since kindergarten, a disagreement causes her to be ostracized, most notably by her charismatic best friend, Maria Fabiola who has a laugh that "makes you laugh because you don't want her to laugh alone." Eulabee is cleareyed about herself, however, honest about her "sinister side," but also quite innocent in earthly matters.

A coda set in 2019 brings the story to a satisfactory conclusion, concluding Eulabee's history and those of her friends as well as the well known transformation of the City by the Bay and its current status as Silicon Valley's exclusive bedroom community.
Profile Image for Lucy.
455 reviews87 followers
October 13, 2021
This is a dark, honest, and oddly funny coming-of-age story. It takes place over the span of the 1984-1985 school year; 8th grade for Eulabee and her BFF Maria Fabiola. The girls have been childhood friends, but it's during this school year that it becomes apparent they're completely different.

This is a story full of teenage angst, drama, and mystery. Told through Eulabee's POV, it's her thoughts and observations that make this story unique and engaging. While I would've been happy if the story had ended at the end of 8th grade, I'm glad the author chose to jump to 2019 to include an account of everyone's whereabouts.

I highly recommend the audiobook, which is narrated by Marin Ireland.
Profile Image for Roman Clodia.
2,491 reviews2,728 followers
May 26, 2021
This feels distinctly sub-Megan Abbot tracing those dangerous teenage years of influential friendships, burgeoning sexuality, confusion and misplaced confidence - a loss of innocence story. But it lacks depth and doesn't always make sense . The 13 year old narrator often feels older, not least in the things she's allowed to do: one minute her dad's checking out what music she's listening to, the next she's out buying a low-cut dress and high heels by herself and goes to a party with minimal supervision.

I found this quick and easy reading, but really I wanted more depth, more complexity, a story that cohered better.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,483 reviews7,780 followers
February 18, 2021
It’s the mid-1980s and Eulabee and her friends are at the age between childhood and adulthood. Not yet in high school, but ready to spread their wings and enjoy some more freedom in their upper-middle-class neighborhood of Sea Side overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s the time where girls turn on each other and long-term friendships fall apart for seemingly the smallest of reasons. A time where one misstep can get you labeled a freak or a slut. A time where one girl’s disappearance leaves questions for all.

I don’t fancy myself some sort of wordsmith (maybe a gifsmith on occasion hardy-har-har) and generally have a hard time coming up with anything aside from “it was guuud” when summarizing a book. The one thing I do attempt every now and again is to find an apples to apples type of comparison. The book that kept popping into my head the whole time I was reading We Run the Tides was . . . .

But I’m not quite sure why. The obvious reason would be the female coming of age aspect, but I think this time it was more about the feeling I had while reading. Being enraptured by the storytelling. Knowing I was experience a fresh voice who has a real future ahead of her. Breaking the norm of me trying to remember if I had read this or not within six months because I won’t be forgetting this one anytime soon. As always, who knows if this will resonate the same for any of you? I hope it does, but since this is my review space for my feelings I can’t make any guarantees. I can only tell you the truth about my reaction and my reaction was . . . .

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!
Profile Image for Bkwmlee.
405 reviews309 followers
February 9, 2021
Vendela Vida’s We Run the Tides is a coming-of-age tale set in the 1980s, about two teenagers and their experiences growing up in the privileged, wealthy enclave of Sea Cliff in San Francisco. Eulabee and Maria Fabiola are best friends who’ve known each other since Kindergarten – more than that though, they also know every nook and cranny of the oceanside neighborhood they grew up in, even down to the history of each house and its current as well as former occupants. Now in eighth grade, the two of them attend the elite all-girls school Spragg, where their circle of friends includes two other girls from their neighborhood, Faith and Julia. One day, as the 4 of them walk to school together, they encounter an “incident” involving a man in a white car that becomes a huge source of contention between Eulabee and Maria, to the point that it ruptures their friendship. Then later, their relationship suffers further setback when Maria suddenly disappears for a period of time, claiming upon her return to have been kidnapped, which Eulabee finds hard to believe. With their friendship becoming increasingly fraught, can Eulabee and Maria Fabiola overcome the rift that separates them to salvage a once close relationship?

I found this to be an interesting read that captivated me from the first page. I was invested in the story early on and even though I didn’t particularly like the characters (more on this later), I still felt compelled to keep reading because I wanted to find out what happens to the characters and how things pan out for them. Vendela Vida’s portrayal of the mercurial and sometimes confusing relationships between teenagers in the midst of navigating their adolescence was spot on. The teenage angst, that overwhelming desire to belong, to be accepted and liked, petty grievances that change from one day to another, the self-discovery and gradual realization that all actions have consequences, etc. — so much of this is explored through the lens of Eulabee’s coming of age.

A unique aspect of this story is that it provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the rich and privileged, but through the perspective of an adolescent who has known no other way of life. As a reader, I felt like an outsider looking in, observing a way of life that I can’t even begin to relate to. For me, stories revolving around the trials and tribulations of the wealthy elite are a slippery slope, as the attitudes and behaviors of the characters are ones that I usually find difficult to reconcile, which more often than not turns me off to the story. In this instance though, the story worked, for the most part — despite Eulabee’s sporadic bouts of naïveté and ignorance (which, if I’m being honest, did annoy me quite a bit), I still couldn’t help feeling a certain amount of sympathy for her at various parts of the story.

One thing that surprised me was how well-developed the characters came across, especially given the limited insight we get into the characters due to the story being narrated entirely from Eulabee’s first person point of view. We see all of the characters — Maria Fabiola, Julia, Faith, all the parents, etc. — through Eulabee’s eyes and yet, we still learn quite a bit about the characters, enough to determine how I feel about them. I thought this was an interesting way to tell the story and appreciate how Vida was able to pull this off given that almost all the characters were largely unlikable (at least to me).

Vida is a “new-to-me” author whose work I wasn’t familiar with before but I’m glad to have discovered. I’m definitely interested in exploring her backlist and hopefully get a chance to read another novel of hers at some point.

Received ARC from Ecco via NetGalley.

Profile Image for Mari.
708 reviews5,599 followers
July 2, 2021
Why you may not like this book: It's weird. It's a coming of age story that really sits in the awkwardness of those early teen years and adds some additional "what the hell" elements as our pretty and privileged main characters lie their way through almost outlandish situations. Also, the main characters are 13, but I feel like they'll read older to lots of readers. I don't like to comment on whether or not that is "believable" because plenty of us have met 13 year olds who could talk circles around older teens, but if that's the kind of thing that bothers you, beware.

I'd call this book a snapshot book-- it's not plot driven and I don't think it's character driven either. We don't see a character arc for Eulabee. Instead, we are just experiencing a few formative months in Eulabee's life. The end of the main timeline was a little sudden and jarring. I'm not sure that I liked what it did. And while the very end does jump ahead in time, I wouldn't say that it provides much closure, or at least it didn't to me. This is not a book you go into for thrill of the plot.

Finally, there also seemed to be a bit of musing at the end about the way their (upper) middle class neighborhood in San Francisco had changed with time. Some woe is me at these characters not being able to afford to live where they grew up. It's the kind of thing that felt a little hollow especially as the rest of the story seems to acknowledge the privilege the main characters grew up with.

CW: sexual assault of a child (on page), murder, presumed kidnapping

Why I liked this book: It's weird. Weird, but very well-written. There was something very atmospheric and haunting about it. I truly couldn't look away. Even in writing this strange character, Vida has a way of making them feel real, or at least imbuing them with very real and relatable qualities. I felt awkward and a little off balance while reading, and in focusing on those feelings, it would be easy to miss that Vida made me feel that way on purpose. It was incredibly effective.

I love coming of age stories, though, my typical fare is a little more hopeful and feelsy. Is a gothic coming of age a thing? Because I think this is what it is. I kept thinking about this story after I read it, and though I'm not sure I'd read it again, I feel like it will live strongly in my memory.

For more reviews, find me on:
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Profile Image for Kelli.
851 reviews403 followers
May 21, 2021
I stand there on the cusp of the ocean and listen to its loud inhale. And then it recedes and takes everything from my childhood with it-the porcelain dolls, the tap-dancing shoes, the concert ticket stubs, the tiny trophies, and the long, long swing.

I have been there. I have stood there and watched it all wash away. My childhood played out on the opposite coast at the roughly same time with a similar sense of innocence and none of the money. Adolescence is a minefield. The rumors and urban legends alone were stifling. The disappearances/murders that took place locally during my childhood have colored every aspect of my life thereafter and influenced every decision I have made since. I felt this book in my bones. This story is imbued with everything it was to grow up female in the early eighties. It was painfully accurate with a perfect ending. 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Toni.
660 reviews203 followers
January 18, 2021

We meet four teenage girls in San Francisco, CA in the mid-1980’s, living in the wealthy neighborhood of Sea Cliff. The houses are unique and built high up on the cliffs, with perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge, with steep paths down to China beach. The people here now are before the big Tech companies that will take over Silicon Valley; so, they are wealthy but not billionaires.

The girls are all thirteen years old and attend the nearby private, girls’ school. They have all known each other since kindergarten and walk to school as a group every morning, as young girls do. It’s a ritual that must not be broken, as it’s part of the unwritten rules teen girls endlessly develop and would take a major insurrection to alter.

Eulabee is our main character and narrator. She is intelligent and articulate, and her family is financially comfortable but not as wealthy as some of the others. Her parents work outside the home but are involved in their children’s lives. Maria Fabiola, who’s first and last name are also stated aloud, is Eulabee’s best friend, but comes from a very wealthy family, who’s parents give her quite a bit of independence and don’t seem to be that involved with her life or her younger twin brothers. We know Maria Fabiola is pretty and popular and loves attention. Julia and Faith are also members of the group.

One morning as the group walks to school an incident will occur that will change the dynamics of the group for ever more. A man sitting in a car calls the girls over and asks, if they have the time. They answer him and walk away. Maria then says, “Did you see that?” Without hesitation, Julia and Faith say, “Yes!” Eulabee says, “What?” Maria describes what she thought she saw, and Julia and Faith concur. Eulabee disagrees. Not another word is spoken as they complete their walk to school.

After they arrive at school, they are each called to the Office and are questioned about the incident. Eulabee is the only outlier and thus shunned from the group making her young life miserable. A few days later, Maria is missing from school and home. Everyone is frantic except Eulabee because she knows her best friend’s penchant for attention. What happens in this part of the book is smart, and witty, with a bit of dark humor that just seems to fit the circumstances perfectly. I love how Vendela Vida handles the drama of thirteen-year old’s here. Her writing is fabulous. We know as adults, to the girls, this is the end of the world, but really, it’s not. We can trust Eulabee’s instincts here because she’s shown us how mature and intelligent, she is, so if she says Maria is hiding and not really kidnapped, we can believe her. (Don’t want to reveal spoilers!)

Eventually Eulabee will confront Maria about her disappearance, privately, but Maria will not engage.

In 2019 Eulabee is in Europe, she’s married and has children. She runs into Maria Fabiola and her husband, and the separate conversations are the icing on the cake of this book. Meaning, you have to read all the way to the end to get the reward!

In my opinion, the location of San Francisco is lovely, but this “happening” could have taken place in any wealthy suburb in the country. (ex. Connecticut, Ohio, New York, Georgia, etc.) I will bet some of you have seen some Middle School, ‘mean girls’ yourselves. (It’s unfortunate, but it’s not new.)

Highly recommend.

Thanks to Netgalley, ECCO, and Harper Collins, and Vendela Vida
Profile Image for Mary Keane.
Author 4 books3,196 followers
April 14, 2021
This is one of the best novels about girlhood and female friendship I've ever read.
Profile Image for Cule.Jule.
84 reviews64 followers
April 2, 2022
3,5 von 5 Sterne

Die Mädchen Eulabee und Maria Fabiola werden eines Tages auf dem Weg von einem Mann in einem weißen Auto angehalten und nach der Uhrzeit gefragt. Laut Maria Fabiola hat sich der Mann angefasst. Eulabee ist nicht ihrer Meinung und widerspricht ihr. Plötzlich ist Maria Fabiola verschwunden. Wurde sie eventuell entführt?!

Eulabee entdeckt nach und nach die Wahrheit und sieht ihre angebliche Freundin auf einmal mit ganz anderen Augen.

283 Seiten, die sich um das Erwachsenenwerden und den Themen Verrat, Lügen und Freundschaft drehen. Ein Roman, den ich anfänglich noch mit großer Begeisterung gelesen habe, jedoch zum Ende immer zäher für mich wurde. Schade, denn ich mochte die Idee mit der Kulisse der 80er Jahre in San Francisco sehr.

Ein Roman, der seine Leserschaft finden wird.
Profile Image for Sheena.
614 reviews277 followers
November 15, 2021
There's no way these kids are only 13 - I find that so hard to believe. Her thoughts are too mature and also a little odd. There's some weird sexual encounters in this book that I feel like we added for shock factor. This could've been a good coming of age book but it didn't really work out for me.
Profile Image for Lee.
352 reviews8 followers
July 8, 2021
Reminded me a little of Douglas Coupland. Great fun; nothing new but perfectly executed.
Profile Image for Holly R W.
360 reviews39 followers
March 11, 2021
"We Run the Tides" is an edgy, coming of age story about a thirteen year old girl (Eulabee) in the 1980's. Eulabee lives with her Swedish born mother, father, and younger sister in San Francisco. The author does a lovely job in making 1980's San Francisco come alive for the reader. It's a fascinating era in a fascinating city. The mother's Swedish sensibilities add an interesting layer to the story.

The book is an outgrowth of the author's original attempt (unrealized) to write a nonfiction book about Trump's lies. Vida then decided to write fiction about young teens and the lies they tell. She wanted to look at the teen age experience: their immaturity, their self-consciousness, their attraction to boys and their trying on different identities for themselves. The meanness of girls towards each other is on full display.

I found the book to be absorbing and hard to put down. The writing is creative and thought provoking. Some suspension of disbelief is required when reading the book. To me, all the various pieces do not quite fit together - there are some jarring events, not fully explained. I will be interested to see what the author writes next.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzjgw... - An interview with the author
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