*A copy of this book was provided by Verona Booksellers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
Publication Date: August 21st 2015 by Verona Booksellers
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Number of Pages: 267
My Rating: ★★★✩✩
Jay Murchison believes he is a nobody at his high school in Oklahoma. Coming from a conservative family of affordable luxury, Jay has an overwhelming desire to become something great. After a mysterious girl named Saphnie in North Carolina mistakenly texts him, an unlikely relationship develops that affects Jay’s self-perception and influences the rest of his sophomore year. This correspondence leads him to a group of thrill-seekers who provide a grand departure from the quiet life Jay is familiar with and eye-opening experiences to witness first-hand the truth behind the loose morals his fellow classmates have come to know.
In a story filled with injustice, hope, hatred, love, grief, and understanding, readers will ask themselves what it truly means to hear the ocean sigh and learn of the dire consequences that come with its responsibilities.
To Hear The Ocean Sigh is a coming-of-age novel about Jay Murchinson on his sophomore year. It started with him talking about how unpopular and lonely he is which made me think “Crap. Not this again.”, but I read on. And damn, was I surprised.
During the first few chapters, I found it difficult to connect with the story as well as the characters. I mean, it’s very easy to read, but you just have no idea where’s it’s headed to so you have to keep guessing. The pacing takes a bit of getting used to, but as the story progresses, it gets more and more interesting, mysterious, and exciting.
I also didn’t like how inconsistent some characters were and the immateriality of their fates in terms of relationships. (Tag: SMALL WORLD)
In John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Hazel’s favourite book An Imperial Affliction served as a vital part of the story. In To Hear The Ocean Sigh, there was Rudderless at Sea.
The Fault in Our Stars:To Hear The Ocean Sigh
An Imperial Affliction:Rudderless at Sea
Rudderless at Sea, a book within a book, is highly discussed all throughout the story, but I thought it lacked a decent introduction. It was frustrating for readers like me to read only parts and connecting the said parts. Understanding the message of the book is another thing. Do I know the characters? No. Do I understand what happened? No. Would I like to know? Of course. BUT THE BOOK DOES NOT EXIST.
On the things I enjoyed, the writing. God, the writing is just fantastic. Can you imagine he was only 14 when he wrote the first draft? It is simple as it is deep. Also, the characters felt so real. I really love the uniqueness of each character’s voices; it was so easy to identify them from one another.
*SKIP THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T LIKE SPOILERS*
Saphnie was my favourite character. She was the popular girl who everyone knew but didn’t really know. Wherever you go, there’s a notion that popular girls are dumb and all about the things that don’t matter. People don’t realise that they are people, too, and have feelings. They are preempted to have perfect lives. “Why are you sad? You have everything!”, “Why the long face? Everyone loves you!”. It’s just sad.
To Hear The Ocean Sigh is one of those books that you just have no idea what is about, but you want and need to know what happened, so you just keep reading. There were only 267 pages, but each was filled with meaningful words all leading to a wonderful—not perfect—story. It’s a beautiful book in its simplest way.
I recommend it to every teenager.
We all live in a society that profits from self-doubt. We allow “likes” and “comments” to validate ourselves. Despite this book’s imperfections, I am giving it 3 stars for the message it delivers and the tears I shed while reading it. Dammit.