Monday, July 5, 2010

Review: Sea by Heidi R Kling

Title: Sea
Author: Heidi R Kling
Genre: Young Adult

Sea is one of those rare gems of a book that stays with you long after you have finished reading it and inspire you to help others in need. Words seriously can not describe how great this book is. It's so much more then a teen romance/coming of age story. It has so much heart in it, that I'm not sure where to begin, except to say that I really wish I had a book to read like this when I was a teen.

Sienna Jones is fifiteen, and still has nightmares from when her moms plane disappeared over the Indian Ocean three years earlier. She really doesn't want to go with her fathers volunteer team to Indonesia where the tsunami had hit 6 months before. Her father is a psychiatrist who did international relief work before her mom died, and Sienna just doesn't think she'll be able to fly after what happened to her mom and doesn't know how her dad can go back to doing relief work since that was what he was doing at the time of her moms disappearance. Her dad tells her all the good they can do working at an orphanage for two weeks, but she still isn't sure-even when she sees a video of the kids she would be helping. All she wants to do is hang out with her best friend Bev, and then there is Bev's brother Spider who has the potential of becoming more then a friend.

Sienna doesn't really have a choice, and goes with her father to volunteer at the orphanage, and is immediately drawn to 17 year old Deni.  The two might have grown up worlds apart, but have more in common then they could imagine and help each other heal with ghosts from their past. Do to local customs, Sienna knows she shouldn't be spending so much time with him, but she just can't help it. Being in Indonesia brings makes Sienna deal with her mothers death, but she wonders why her dad won't tell her more about her mom's accident. The longer she's at the orphanage, the more Sienna finds out about herself, her father and those who lives have been turned upside down by the tsunami.

I know that this book sounds like it's just another teen romance set in an exotic setting, but it's not. As someone who has lived in a Muslim country before (Morocco, Peace Corps) I loved the attention to detail that was given to the customs of Indonesia, and the differences of living in a major city vs. a rural one-there is such a huge difference in attitudes with regards to how closely customs are followed and the way of life is just vastly different.  I also loved how Sienna's view on the customs changed with time-two weeks might not seem like a long time, but you'd be surprised. It brought back so many memories of my time spent overseas. I could go on about how much I loved this book forever-but I don't want to spoil anything about this great book. All I know is that when I finished this book I found myself wanting to do more, and wondering why I haven't. This book is one that has lived up to all of the hype it's gotten.