By Heidi R. Kling
Genre: YA Romance/Realistic Fiction
Pages: Hardback, 336
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (June 10, 2010)
Haunted by recurring nightmares since her mother’s disappearance over the Indian ocean three years before, fifteen-year old California girl Sienna Jones reluctantly travels with her psychiatrist father’s volunteer team to six-months post-tsunami Indonesia where she meets the scarred and soulful orphaned boy, Deni, who is more like Sea than anyone she has ever met.
She knows they can’t be together, so why can’t she stay away from him? And what about her old best friend-turned-suddenly-hot Spider who may or may not be waiting for her back home? And why won’t her dad tell her the truth about her mother’s plane crash? The farther she gets from home, the closer she comes to finding answers.
And Sea’s real adventure begins.
I don’t know where to start with this one. I knew it was going to be good, but DANG! Heidi does not disappoint her readers with this amazing debut. Sienna’s journey in finding herself takes readers on a journey through things that many turned a blind eye to because it was so far away. Heidi uses Sienna to not only weave a beautiful story of love, loss, and discovery but to also show the readers the amazing power that words have. Her descriptions of Indonesia and its devastation were riveting and it felt like I was looking through Sienna’s eyes and seeing it all before me. When Deni described running from the tsunami… that was enthralling. I felt the wave coming along with the tears in my eyes when I realized what all he had lost.
Heidi has reminded us that hope lives on within us every day. Sienna had hope that her mother would return in the beginning even though she knew that her mother’s return was nonexistent. Deni had hope that he could go back and live in his home even though there would be devastation around him and constant reminders of what he had lost. In the end, however, they both found hope in ways they were not expecting… miracles of their own.
Each character and setting that you come in contact with throughout Sea are freshly written, described in such a way that you can see it all before you (even the orange converses) and you learn so much along the way. My reading journal is FULL for this book. I love that I learned things and had my interest sparked about Indonesian customs (of which I have a list of in my journal now), Buddhism, Islam, jilbab, Borodubur temple (of which I have a picture of in my journal… beautiful temple), and so much more. The writing was amazing and Heidi has shared with us a fantastic story for her amazing debut. I believe that Sarah Ockler, author of Twenty Boy Summer, said it best when she said, “Sea is a richly woven story as turbulent and beautiful as the sea itself… A touching and romantic debut.”
Congratulations Heidi on an amazing debut novel! Can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us. Find out more about Heidi on her website here.
Happy reading everyone!