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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: Sea by Heidi R. Kling

Written by Heidi R. Kling
Release Date: June 10, 2010
Putnam Juvenile
Library Pickup
Not a Publisher Requested Review

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (Courtesy of 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.

A compelling summer romance, Sea marks the arrival of a stunning new voice in YA.
Sea is a beautifully written romance story, first and foremost. It's full of love and heartbreak and makes you want to fall in love again, which is the mark of a great romance. It also deals with very real disasters and the aftermath of those horrible events, which is very inspiring. Full review after the jump. WARNING: SPOILERS!
I had a hard time getting into Sea at first. I don't know if it was because life was getting in the way or if it was because the first couple of chapters were a little ho-hum. I know we needed back story, but it felt like there was either a little too much or not enough. There has to be a balance, and I guess the first chapters of this book weren't there for me. Once I got into it, though, I fell in love.

Sienna is easy to relate to, especially as someone who has dealt with some post-traumatic stress issues. It's nice to see things from her perspective. I felt like maybe we could have had a little more insight into her thoughts at certain times, but for the most part, Kling did a fantastic job of pulling me into Sienna's world. It was really easy to see why Sienna fell for the exotic Deni as well. He seemed interesting and beautiful, and my heart broke a little with Sienna's when she had to leave him. In spite of loving Deni's character, I was pulling for Spider the entire time. I knew he was the one who was there from the beginning and should end up with her heart, so I'm really glad he got his chance in the end. Team Spider FTW!

The way Kling wrote the aftermath of the tsunami was powerful. I wanted to just reach into the book and fix poor Elli and her friends in the orphanage, and I wanted to do even more when I read about the conditions in Aceh upon Deni's return to his home. I know this book is fiction, but the disasters described are very real in many parts of the world. I wanted to hop on a plane and do some relief work right away. I hope that this book inspires others to do good where it's so desperately needed the way it has inspired me.

All in all, Sea is a beautiful story that really tugs the heartstrings.

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