Monday, October 09, 2006

Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes


Just finished Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes. It’s one of those books that I’ve been meaning to read for ages; or at least since it came out in 2003. It was a Nerwbery Honor Book, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults for a very good reason. It’s really really really good.

To start, I loved the cover which is simultaneously soothing and provocative; so like the story. Twelve year old Martha opens the door the day before she and her family are to leave for summer vacation to find a stranger, with a disturbing message from the grave. She is Olive’s mother and she is there to thank Martha for befriending Olive, and to deliver a page from Olive’s diary. But Martha barely knew Olive, a classmate who was recently killed when she was hit by a car while riding her bike. But, with a page from Olive’s life before her, Martha realizes that they might easily have been friends. Thus Olive becomes a messenger from the grave; a catalyst to changes in the way Martha looks at herself, and her world, including her aging grandmother.

A stolen kiss, a near drowning, baby food jars of coloured water that refract the ligh, a stolen video tape, and sea water in a jar. These are the materials that Henkes weaves into a most poignant of novels.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This book is one of the best books in th world. It is well worded and has a wonderful idea.

readingkidsbooks said...

I really loved it too. I thought it perfectly captured that sometimes wobbly transition between being a kid and being a teenager. It also dealt so well with some of the biggest issues in life. Kevin Henkes is a marvel. Sheryl

Mel said...

I loved it! It had all I love. The ocean, romance, beauty. I could visualize what was happening very well, and it suprised me!
~Mel

readingkidsbooks said...

I agree Mel, but the hurt of discovering that you're being used was pretty powerful too! I really liked that the main character finally figured out that the less flashy brother was the one who really cared about her. That was awesome. Sheryl

Anonymous said...

I loved this book too ! I used it as my book review in school!

izzy said...

i just finised it andi loved the book. was sad what jimmy did to her but i was good. i hope kevin makes anthor one to see if see finds olives mum
-Izzy