Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends. But they weren't, and now all that is left are eerie connections between two girls who were in the same grade at school and who both kept the same secret without knowing it.
Now Martha can't stop thinking about Olive. A family summer on Cape Cod should help banish those thoughts; instead, they seep in everywhere.
And this year Martha's routine at her beloved grandmother's beachside house is complicated by the Manning boys. Jimmy, Tate, Todd, Luke, and Leo. But especially Jimmy. What if, what if, what if, what if?
The world can change in a minute.
Olive's Ocean was a 2004 Newbery Medal Honor Book.
©2004 Kevin Henkes; (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
"With his usual sensitivity and insight, Henkes explores key issues of adolescence." (Publishers Weekly)
"Rich characterizations move this compelling novel to its satisfying and emotionally authentic conclusion." (School Library Journal)
"Like Henkes' Sun and Spoon, this is another lovely, character-driven novel that explores, with rare subtlety and sensitivity, the changes and perplexities that haunt every child's growing-up process....Its quiet art and intelligence will stick with readers, bringing them comfort and reassurance as changes inevitably visit their own growing-up years." (Booklist)
An American Library Association Best Book of 2005 and a Newbery winner. I highly recommend this book. It is a wonderful character study of a young girl dealing with the loss of pre-pubescence, lost of a potential friend and the potential loss of a dear family member. A great story full of hope.
My friend read this book, but I don't think she quite understood how deep it was. She read the words, but none of it soaked in. I, however, was compelled! It was so. . . magical, in a way. Those are the kind of books I love. Mysterious, magical, I get a little tingle up my spine just thinking about it. Sometimes I get so upset that these books aren't true. The authors have wonderful touches, though! I only hope to follow in their footsteps some day!
- Faith, 5th Grader
Although this book wasn't awful, it wasn't terrific either. The characters are wonderful, very believeable in their realities. She captures teenage moodiness, sibling rivalry and grandmotherly love. I didn't quite like the parenting she put out. But my frustration was that there were several themes, none of which she gave enough attention or detail to. The missed opportunity with Olive is the most central but also the most uneven. The ending accentuated that. The sea water was for naught, the mother having moved was more like a cliff hanger... Come on! I can see someone moving away after a spouse dies, and there is certainly untold trauma after a child dies but why the move?
But also left out there hanging was her entry into liking boys and her discovery of her grandmother having a life of her own. Both of those themes were very pleasant and real but did not get to go far enough. It seems like the author did not or could not keep this story going any longer. He ran out of steam. Maybe because it was an adult man writing about an adolescent girl.
Regardless, overall it was okay. Narration was good, nothing outstanding either positive or negative.
While I loved the story and the performance of Olive's Ocean, I found the intermittent violin quite distracting and unpleasant. It was a bit too loud and really jolted you out of the story. Perhaps this was an intentional artistic hypocrisy however I found that it took away from the story rather than added to it.
Sensitive, reflective, well written, but dull. My kids would have been very happy to turn it off and not finish it but I made them listen to the end. We kept waiting for a payoff that never came...
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