Author: Heidi R. Kling
Published: June 10, 2010 from Putnam Juvenile
My edition/number of pages: ARC/325
Age group: Young adult
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 knew Heidi Kling’s debut novel would be good but I had no idea exactly how good. From the very first sentence I was captivated and that is unusual for me. I normally have a super hard time getting drawn into contemporary lit but that was not the case with Sea. There are no dull moments in this book and it is ridiculously hard to put down.
Sienna Jones has changed in the three years since her mother’s plane went down over the Indian Ocean. She used to be Sea, a carefree girl with nothing to worry about. Now she is just Sienna, a girl with no real joy in life and only one true friend. All that changes when she goes to Indonesia with her dad to help out in an orphanage full of survivors of the tsunami. With the help of one traumatized boy, Sienna just may become Sea again. But how will she survive back home when she has to leave him behind?
You know, I honestly don’t think there was a single thing that I didn’t like about Sea. The plot, the characters, the writing, everything was perfect for me. It was nothing like other contemporary books that I have read in the YA genre and I loved that. I loved being away from the high school scene and I loved watching Sienna grow with the help of the orphans. The setting of Indonesia was so unlike all other YA books and I loved learning about the culture through Sienna’s interactions with the people. It was definitely a bit depressing because of the destruction of the tsunami but it was so much more than that. It was a story about facing your fears, getting past your grief, and coming back to yourself.
Sienna was a great character. At the beginning she was scared and alone but by the end she had changed so much. She was no longer alone and she was no longer afraid. She faced her fears and she managed to beat them. By the end of the book she was a brave girl that I loved. Deni was great too but I didn’t feel like I really knew him until the end. I thought that I wouldn’t like that but it just kind of added some mystery to him. He was intense and traumatized but so good to Sienna. Although I loved both Deni and Sienna my two favorite characters were Elli and Spider. Elli was the cutest little girl ever and I felt so bad for everything that she had to go through. Spider was pretty much the opposite of everyone else. He never went through anything bad so he was kind of the happiest person in the book. He was sweet and funny and just a pretty cute guy. Pretty much every character was amazing.
Overall, Sea is a beautifully written debut that deserves every bit of praise that it has been given. I don’t know what Heidi Kling has in store for readers next but I am eagerly awaiting it’s release.
First line: I’m sitting alone on the other side of the world talking to a sea turtle that might be my mom.
Cover: 5=A++ (I think it’s absolutely stunning!)