Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Olive's Ocean (MG)

Olive's Ocean. Kevin Henkes. 2003. HarperCollins. 224 pages.

"Are you Martha Boyle?"
Martha nodded.
"You don't know me," said the woman at the door. "Olive Barstow was my daughter. I was her mother."

Who was Olive? That was a question difficult to answer in life, and it becomes even more difficult in death. At least for Martha, the heroine of Kevin Henkes' Olive's Ocean. So who was she? She was a classmate of Martha's. But. She was invisible. No one paid any attention to her at all. Well, except for a few who picked on her now and then. She wasn't worth anyone's time or notice. A nobody. What happened to Olive? She was hit by a car while riding her bicycle.

Martha was surprised to find Mrs. Barstow at the door. She comes bearing a page from Olive's journal. It seems that while Martha didn't notice Olive all that much, Olive noticed Martha. She wrote, "I hope I get to know Martha Boyle next year (or this summer). I hope that we can be friends. That is my biggest hope. She is the nicest person in my whole entire class." Of course, the journal entry says much more than that. It shows Martha that Olive was a real person with hopes and dreams and fears, a person who in many ways is just like her.

This note changes Martha. It changes how she sees herself in a way. It makes her a bit more introspective and thoughtful. As Martha prepares to go on her family vacation to the ocean, many things are on her mind. Can she find peace by the ocean? by spending time with her grandmother? by spending time with the cute boy next door?

It's a summer of change for Martha. No doubt about that!

I'm not a big fan of the cover. I think it's taken me this many years to read it--despite it being a Newbery Honor book--because the cover just didn't do much for me. I do think the book is worth reading by the way!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Emidy 10:40 AM  

I've never heard of this book! It interests me, though. And I agree with you - the cover doesn't do much for me either. It's a bit strange.

from Une Parole

Suko 11:30 AM  

I've thought about reading this book. I first encountered it on a list of banned books, because of the mature theme, I think. How sad that no one ever noticed Olive!

Bethany 1:38 PM  

Really? I LOVE THE COVER! I was very drawn to the cover and it would definitely have made me interested to read!

Ms. Yingling 6:19 AM  

This has never been a popular title in my library. I think the frequent comment is that "nothing happens".

Serena 6:52 AM  

wow, this sounds like an interesting book.

Jeane 7:39 AM  

I kind of like the cover. But if it doesn't really match the content of the book, that's another story.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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