OLIVE’S OCEAN by Kevin Henkes
Kirkus Star

OLIVE’S OCEAN

Age Range: 10 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

On her family’s Cape Cod vacation, Martha is haunted by a journal entry left by a dead classmate. Olive, an unremarkable loner, hoped to have Martha (“the nicest girl in the class”) as a friend. This summer 12-year-old Martha is noticing her grandmother’s aging, experiencing adolescent alienation from her affectionate family, and feeling the self-consciousness of yearning for her neighbor Jimmy. Jimmy, 14 and an aspiring filmmaker, surprises Martha with his attentions, inquires whether she has ever been kissed, and asks to film her for his video. Their kiss captured on film, as it turns out, is the result of a wager. Well-plotted, the working out of Martha’s feelings of humiliation, her renewed connection to family, and her final gesture towards the dead Olive are effected with originality and grace. Henkes’s characters never lack for the inner resilience that comes from a grounding in the ultimate decency of family. Characters and setting are painted in with the deft strokes of an experienced artist. Few girls will fail to recognize themselves in Martha. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-053543-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2003




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