Friday, September 10, 2010

Review: Sea

By Heidi Kling
Publication date: June 10, 2010

My review:

Sienna "Sea" Jones suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after her mom's plane disappeared over the Indian Ocean. Since that day she has nightmares and her life is lived in fear. For her fifteenth birthday, her dad surprises her with a plane ticket and convinces her to go with him and his team of volunteers to Indonesia to help the kids at an orphanage deal with the aftermath of the tsunami. Sienna grudgingly agrees to go and the experience proves to be lifechanging. At the orphanage, she meets Deni, a young man who lost everything in the tsunami. Sienna is immediately drawn to him and they seem to understand each other's pain. Through her time in Indonesia Sienna begins to heal from the devastating loss of her mom but what will she do when she must leave Deni at the end of the trip?

Sea is far more than a romance. It is a story about loss and hope. At the beginning of the book, Sienna is surly about having to go to Indonesia with Team Hope. She has shut even her friends out of her life to a certain extent. It isn't until she is faced with kids who have lost everything that she begins to realize how much she still has. Deni and the other kids at the pesantren survived unspeakable horror and the descriptions of this very real tragedy were moving.  I liked how art was used in the novel to help the young girls relate their experiences and share their feelings.

Sienna is a relatable character. I thought her feelings were portrayed realistically throughout the book, from her grief over her mom to her fear and her anger at her father. I really felt for Deni and the other Indonesian characters. Deni is a fantastic guy and the romance between Deni and Sienna is sweet. Spider, Sienna's other love interest, is also a likeable guy but I felt that we didn't really get to know him as well. I liked the moments of humor as Sienna adapts to life in Indonesia and I loved learning about the culture.

The tsunami affected so many people around the world and seeing that devastating disaster through the eyes of young people was particularly gut wrenching. There is a message of hope though that I found to be inspiring and uplifting. Even in the midst of the tragedy there were miraculous stories of survival and courage. Sea is one of my favorite YA reads of the year. It stands out to me because of the subject matter and the way in which it was written. Heidi Kling's debut novel proves that she is an author to watch.

Readalikes:  Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler


  1. I'm not too big on romance books, but this one sounds fascinating - great review.

  2. Sea is definitely in my top 10 books for this year. I agree that Heidi is an author to watch.

  3. I've heard a lot of really good things about this one, but I hadn't heard what the story was about. I'll definitely have to add it to my TBR list. Thanks for the review.

  4. It's great to hear that Sea is much more than simply a romance - that's what I was afraid of! Excellent review, though. I'll be on the lookout for this one!


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