Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BR: Sea

by Heidi R. Kling

I’ve been dying to read this book since summer, and after ages of waiting, the library finally got it in and I was first in line!

Summary (goodreads)

Still haunted by nightmares of her mother's death, fifteen-year-old Sienna Jones reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father's relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder—something Sienna knows a lot about. Since her mother's plane went missing over the Indian Ocean three years before, Sienna doesn't do anything if it involves the ocean or planes, so this trip is a big step forward.

But the last thing she expects is to fall for Deni, a brooding Indonesian boy who lives at the orphanage, and just so happens to be HOT. When Deni hears a rumor that his father may be alive, Sienna doesn't think twice about running away with him to the epicenter of the disaster. Unfortunately, what they find there could break both their hearts.

My Expectations: extraordinarily high, I totally expected mind-blowing
Delivery: *sad face* I was disappointed
Put-down-ability: the story definitely picked up over the second half, 5/10

My Thoughts

I feel kind of terrible that I didn’t love this book. After all the praises surrounding it, I fully expected a story that will move me to tears but honestly, I was very underwhelmed by Sea.

The thing I absolutely adored was the setting. I feel Kling created this rush of power when she transported the novel to the disaster-torn Indonesia after the tsunami of 2004. The descriptions about the beaches, the orphanage, the customs, it was all done very well and definitely created a great atmosphere. I could feel the humidity and the sweat on my skin— definitely a good point.

At the heart of the novel is Sienna, a 15 year old girl still grieving her mother, but in this new environment has the potential for extreme personal growth. I feel that looking completely objectively, Kling did manage to convey this development but come on, I’m not an objective reader (who is?). I could never connect at an emotional level with Sienna and there a lot of times I wanted to throw something out of annoyance.
  • Eye-rolling commenced from the insta-connection with Deni. Oh, please.
  • Then, their various (somewhat cute) escapades... just wasn’t feeling it, dawg (ala Randy Jackson).
  • Continued with the how-can-I-live-without-you spiel. *sigh*

Eye-rolling finally ended with the last 30 pages or so pages, I actually really liked the ending. I prefer spoiler-free reviews so I won’t say exactly why I enjoyed it so much, I just think it was, yeah, perfectly done.

I feel shallow wanting to discuss the boys in this novel, but whatever. Spider: I think through the majority of the book I couldn’t really see the point in even including him, but alas, questions are answered. Deni: I never warmed to him, never swooned for him, and never felt the insta-connection he had with Sienna. It felt like more lust than love, partly because it felt like the only thing drawing the two characters together was Sienna’s blonde hair (mentioned far too many times).

I just wanted to mention I really liked reading about the various things that the relief team did at the orphanage (like the art therapy). I wish there could have been more exploration about the children’s development and the PTSD, I was very interested in that aspect.

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: fans of YA contemporary
Acknowledgements: excellent, 5/5

7/10 – because it disappointed me. Despite some great potential and a fantastic setting, I felt the basic character relationships never rung true. Sienna was hard to sympathize with, and I also she focused less on hormones and Deni Deni Deni. I really loved reading about the kids and the work that Team Hope was doing there, and I think Sea is a great novel that brings awareness to important causes.

source: library
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see: rating system

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  1. I want to love this so bad, but recent reviews have pretty much said what you did. I have a feeling I will feel the same, but I am going to give it a go. Thanks for the honest review! :)

  2. Yes, I agree. I like the honest review here. I haven't heard too much about this one, but I am thinking I might just go for it anyway.

  3. Aww, I actually really loved this one, haha. Looking back, I actually agreed with you on the characters' naivety in my review, but it wasn't as big as a detractor for me. I absolutely LOVED the setting though.
    So basically, despite me giving Sea 5 stars, I agree with you on your review, LOL. Honesty is always refreshing - great review, Audrey! :)

    Btw, I'm also emailing the $5 Amazon.com gift card code~ <3

  4. I read this when it first come out. I remember loving it at the time but as I have read a lot more contemps my feelings toward this has changed. I think my favourite aspect was learning about another culture and the setting.

    Great review :)

  5. I have been putting this off. I am not sure why. It did have a ton of great reviews. Maybe later this week I will get around to this one.

  6. So now you are officially, hacked in my head?

    Sorry, lame joke.

    And since when is talking about boys in books shallow? LOL

    Sorry this one missed the mark for you. I think you are right, if more had been explored with the PTSD, it might have been a more interesting tale. ;)

  7. Glad to hear this honesty. I was really looking forward to this too, so when I read it I'll know not to get my expectations up too high. Thanks for dissecting this thoughtfully, Audrey. :)

  8. I loved SEA, but I had lower expectations. Of course, not everyone can love the same things.

    The setting is so wonderful, though. I totally agree there.


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