Book Review – Surf Wax & Vodka Jelly

Book Review: Surf Wax and Vodka Jelly


Lucy Clarke was this month’s Boardseeker Babe, so we know she can windsurf, looks good in a bikini and can fit in a remarkably small space; but she is also the author of the university reference book, Student Survival Guide. This month she’s released her second book – a novel this time – called Surf Wax and Vodka Jelly. Well, we wanted to find out whether there might be some link to windsurfing in there…

Turning to page one of Surf Wax and Vodka Jelly, I panicked: it’s the diary of an 18-year-old girl! (OK, I panicked for a particularly short time, as far as general panics go.) Was this going to be chick-lit? Would I be psychologically damaged by the experience? More importantly, would I learn how to carve gybe?

The answer was ‘no, I wouldn’t’, but I did get to meet Josie Williams, a hot 18-year-old student living with a flat full of dysfunctional flatmates. The novel opens with her moving into student halls alongside a comic-book fanatic, a sexist porn-enthusiast, an elusive surfer and her best friend, Tamara. Throwing themselves into the student lifestyle the flatmates encounter beer races, bunny girls, breakdancing, oh and the odd lecture, too.

Josie decides to join the Surf Club – lured in by the ‘fit boys in tight wetsuits’ – and soon she’s trying to hang ten with the best of them. There’s a hilarious account of her learning to duckdive and a brilliant incident with a wetsuit in the shower. But as the blurb says, it’s when a shy flatmate starts behaving suspiciously and an ex-lover turns up in halls, that life on campus really starts to get interesting.

Although probably written with students in mind – I think this novel will capture the imagination of anyone who’s enjoyed the heady experience of moving away from home for the first time. Surfing isn’t a massive theme in the book – more surfers! – but this isn’t a problem as by then I’ve already considered jacking my job in and rejoining university to go for Student Immortality. It’s a page-turning, fun read that wittily observes the student experience and although not really linked with windsurfing, it’s better than some that are…!


“A page-turning, fun read, that wittily observes the student experience – and makes me wish I could be a fresher all over again!”


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