by Kevin Henkes – 217 pages – a Newbery Honor book
for middle readers interested in considering how life unfolds
Olive’s Ocean is a book to sit with for a while. It is gentle and challenging at the same time. It is about bravery. It is about thoughtfulness. It is about relationships, truth, regret and trust.
“Martha Boyle, you think too much. And my dad says when you think too much, that’s when the trouble starts.” Martha does think and wonder – why did Olive, someone she didn’t really know or talk to, think she was nice; the kind of person she would like to be friends with? How come someone only twelve dies? What does it mean confront your fears?
Everything in Martha’s life is rough and scratchy right now. She doesn’t particularly like her family. Dad yells all the time or leaves. Mom is totally focused on her work. Vince is too old to bother with her and she’s tired of taking care of Lucy all the time. The usual summer routine at Grandma’s house on the cape isn’t the same. Everything is complicated and changing.
What do you do to bring normal back? Can you? Not really, but you can come to know yourself better and discover that life is complicated no matter what your age – it is full of a entire ocean of questions and puzzles to ponder.