“Her life was a measly mess that could be contained in a closed fist. But her sadness could not be contained, and so she cried and cried.”
Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes (217 pages) is about a twelve-year-old, redhead girl named Martha. A girl who went to her school, Olive, gets killed by a car. To Martha’s surprise, she finds out from Olive’s journal that the girl wanted to be her friend. This news confuses Martha, and she finds her thoughts consumed with Olive. Martha spends the rest of her summer vacation at her paternal grandmother’s house, thinking about death and her family.
What I like about this book is the writing. Everything Henkes seems to write in Martha’s narrative is poetic.
I also like romance a lot, even if it’s just sprinkled throughout a book. Innocent preteen romances are always fun to read because they are pure and awkward. Awkward and pure. It’s before the broken marriage, the cheating scandal, or the nasty dm (direct message). Preteen romances remind people of much simpler times, and I’m no exception to that. It’s adorable that Martha’s clueless about boys.
I can’t say that there was anything I disliked about this book. If I had to be nitpicky, the book could be considered anticlimactic throughout because the story reads like a kid’s normal day.
There’s nothing startlingly interesting about Martha. She’s just a normal kid, but I like that. Martha’s like thousand of kids anyone might know in real life, curious and thoughtful.
Godbee, the grandmother, is wise and just a little bit feisty. She reminds me of the God-like characters played by Morgan Freeman. I like the conversations Martha and Godbee have the most.
I wish I could have seen a bit more of the Manning boys, Tate in particular. Still, their presence was just enough so I did not forget about them.
This was a good read, nothing too obscene (there is a minor reference to Morning Sex), and the perfect length. If you want a book for a lazy afternoon then this book is for you!