Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sea by Heidi Kling - Review

I had the good fortune to read the manuscript of Sea - and also had the great pleasure of interviewing Heidi this month (thanks Heidi!). So without further ado here's my review. I'll post the interview tomorrow or Monday.

How do you carry on when your mother’s plane disappears over the Indian ocean? This is the question that has haunted Sienna for three years. She’s scared, she won’t surf any more, is terrified of flying, and has disappeared into herself, clinging to the hope that her mother will somehow come back.

When her father, a psychiatrist, announces he is going to Indonesia to try to help children who escaped the tsunami Sienna grudgingly agrees to go with and there she meets a little girl, Ellie, who melts her heart and Deni, a charismatic boy who is the uncrowned leader of the survivors and to whom she is inextricably drawn. Despite their differences, they can’t keep away from each other. And Sienna learns so much about herself and the way forward from this boy who really seems to understand her. And then there is Spider, the friend who may or may not be waiting for her back home.

This was not the book I expected. It gives a very real impression of post-tsunami Indonesia and the problems therein. The characters are strong and three-dimensional, and you gain a wonderful glimpse into another culture as Sienna works hard to help Deni while avoiding cultural minefields inherent in crossing traditions. Not only can you lose yourself in the sights and sounds of a far away country in this book, you find yourself admiring those who give up their time and expertise to help in a crisis, only to discover they have helped themselves more than they could know.

On a personal note, this won the first line competition I held in my living room one week. I had a stack of books and couldn’t decide what to read first. So I read out the first lines and took a vote. This won by miles (and it was in a pile of some very heavy hitters!) And to save you the trouble, because I know you now want to know, here it is:

I’m sitting alone on the other side of the world talking to a sea turtle that might be my mom.

It's a nice mix of realism and romance, life in post-tsunami Indonesia and what we can do to help. And of course a great cross cultural romance, with a fantastic cover.

And I'll post my interview with the wonderful Heidi Kling either tomorrow or Monday.


Lauren said...

Wow, this book sounds so amazing and I love the 1st line too. GREAT review! =)

Linda Joy Singleton said...

Great review! Love the first line -- I already wanted to read this book, now I want to read it EVER more! Can't wait for it to come out!

Courtney Sheinmel said...

Great review! Love the first line and eagerly anticipating to rest of the book.

Heidi R. Kling said...

Thanks for the generous review!
I'm so glad people are liking the first line. Thank your family for me. =)

Bookgeek said...

Don't forget to check out my interview with Heidi that I'll post tomorrow.

(And Heidi - I'll thank my family but do know that they are a tough sell - just ask Antonia! It's a great first line)

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