THE OCEAN WITHIN by V.M. Caldwell

THE OCEAN WITHIN

Age Range: 10 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

paper 1-57131-624-8 A finely crafted first novel that looks at family and new opportunities from the perspective of a foster child. Elizabeth, 11, is completely shut down from years of foster care. She has trained herself well: she barely speaks and allows herself no pleasures. She views her adoption by Kevin and Karen Sheridan as just another temporary situation, to be endured without getting emotionally entangled. The summer opens as she goes with the Sheridan children and their cousins—nine in all—to spend the season at Grandma Sheridan’s beach house. The Sheridans are a raucous and deeply affectionate family, and Elizabeth is overwhelmed by their noise and their joy. Elizabeth’s passion is the ocean, which she has dreamed of seeing; too afraid to actually let the water touch her, she watches the ocean for hours while the others swim and play. It is four-year-old Petey who begins to reach Elizabeth; too young to be deceived, he recognizes both her loneliness and her fear. Allowing the Sheridans to be both loving and human, Caldwell is careful not to overplay Elizabeth’s walls, and her pain, which is almost suffocating; absorbed young readers will find they are holding their breath at the end. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1999
ISBN: 1-57131-623-X
Page count: 236pp
Publisher: Milkweed
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1999




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