The Ocean in My Ears By Meagan Macvie. Ooligan Press, 2017. 281 pages. $16. Available at Barnes and Noble and through Amazon.  In Meagan Macvie's debut novel for young adults, Meri Miller is a 17-year-old Soldotna girl who can't wait to get out of town and start her life. "Boring Slowdotna," she tells us, is known for two things: salmon fishing and the highest teen birthrate in the country. "Alaska's like two thousand miles away from anywhere cultured. No offense, Canada." The novel, told in Meri's voice and punctuated with diary excerpts and letters, takes us through a year in her life, from the summer before her senior year of high school to the next summer. Readers accompany Meri through her teenage troubles — with parents, best friend, boyfriends and the usual insecurities of that age. The time period is 1990 and 1991, which, for today's young readers, would place it as "historical fiction." No cell phones, no social media. The teens meet up at the local Dairy Queen, listen to mixtapes, go to movies, and lie to their parents about going to movies when they actually go to drinking parties. Meri has been raised in a religious family with a father who works as a welder on the Slope and at home spends his time tinkering in the garage or watching television. Her mother insists on church multiple times per week and her younger brother's mainly an annoyance. Meri has a part-time job at a clothing store, a Volkswagen Beetle with the freedom that assures, and a resistance to religious sermonizing about God's holy temple. At 17, she is both peculiarly innocent and unsettlingly reckless. For one thing, she has a tendency to say sexually suggestive things — what she calls "double entendres." So when she meets an older boy-man (from Kenai) at the local hang-out and hops into his Bronco, you know she's headed for trouble. "I can't believe this older guy is interested in me. His attention is intoxicating, as if the girl he sees isn't some small-town, high-school girl. Reflected in Brett's unwavering gaze, I become uncommon and fascinating and worth pursuing." As Alaskans know, our state has a very high rate of sexual and domestic abuse, if not, perhaps, the highest teen