Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Book Review: You, Me, & the Sea

Oh guys. I feel like I'm not giving you the books you absolutely must read right now as of late but that stops today because this one? Had  me all over the place with feelings.

You, Me, & the Sea - Meg Donohue

To find her way, she must abandon everything she loves…

As a child, Merrow Shawe believes she is born of the sea: strong, joyous, and wild. Her beloved home is Horseshoe Cliff, a small farm on the coast of Northern California where she spends her days exploring fog-cloaked bluffs, swimming in the cove, and basking in the light of golden sunsets as her father entertains her with fantastical stories. It is an enchanting childhood, but it is not without hardship—the mystery of Merrow’s mother’s death haunts her, as does the increasingly senseless cruelty of her older brother, Bear. 

Then, like sea glass carried from a distant land, Amir arrives in Merrow’s life. He’s been tossed about from India to New York City and now to Horseshoe Cliff, to stay with her family. Merrow is immediately drawn to his spirit, his passion, and his resilience in the face of Bear’s viciousness. Together they embrace their love of the sea, and their growing love for each other.

But the ocean holds secrets in its darkest depths. When tragedy strikes, Merrow is forced to question whether Amir is really the person she believed him to be. In order to escape the danger she finds herself in and find her own path forward, she must let go of the only home she’s ever known, and the only boy she’s ever loved....

You know I don't give out 5 star ratings willy nilly but I'm telling you right now, I'm giving this a 5 and it is going to end up in my top 10 books of 2019. Maybe even top 5. It's that good, you guys. I'm also saying this knowing I've read a previous book by this author (How to Eat a Cupcake) and I didn't like it. Also! This book is kind of a retelling, with liberties, of Wuthering Heights and I very much did not like that book and I threw it across the parking lot of the public library. Obviously, I went back to get it because I was too poor for a fine, but I thought it was just the worst.

Turns out, if it had read more like this one, I would have loved it.

The book revolves mostly around Merrow, who grows up without a mother (who died when she was an infant), with a brother who is abusive and awful to her, and a dad who seems kind of lost since the mother's death so family friend Rei kind of helps out when she can. When she turns 8 her dad becomes the guardian of Amir, the adopted son of her mother's friend who tragically died, but she wanted her son to go to Merrow's dad. Why? I have no idea because they are literally living in a shack, can't afford to eat or clothe themselves and water is a commodity. Yet here we are.

The brother (Bear) is just as awful to Amir, if not worse, so Merrow and Amir form a unique bond that helps them get through the nightmare that is this childhood. Only they don't really see it as a nightmare because they live in this uniquely beautiful area that they feel connected to, like this is really where they belong. On occasion they travel to town and break into houses just to see how other people live, not to rob them. On one such excursion it goes wrong and suddenly they meet the Langford family. Things really take a turn for Merrow and suddenly her and Amir are apart, years go by, etc. I really can't keep telling you what happens because it ruins it, BUT I have to tell you that this book hooked me immediately.

I really had one train of thought when it came to Amir, what happened to make him go, opinions on Bear, and I knew exactly what Merrow should do. Instead, I was so completely wrong on every point and I felt like I was falling off a cliff as I raced to the end. It was so good and out of nowhere I realized all along, this was a love story. I think. I mean, I guess that's how I'm interpreting it.

I loved the writing, I loved the setting, I loved the characters. I loved how you had very strong feelings for the characters almost immediately and by the time you get to the end of the book you realize you saw them all wrong and it's masterful because had you thought of them this way... the book wouldn't have been the gut punch that it is. This book is absolutely lovely and if you need a vacation book? You've just found it.

Luckily for you it's available on Amazon but it's also available directly from the Harper Collins website. I'm so excited for you to read this and tell me what you thought about it.

Thank you to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for my ARC for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


jn said...

You got me hooked !

Vicki said...

This sounds good. I've only read one of her books, Dog Crazy: A Novel of Love Lost and Found, and I loved it!

Laura's Reviews said...

This sounds wonderful. Adding it to my "to read" list is 3, 2, 1 . . .