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Olive's Ocean

Olive's Ocean

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Olive's Ocean

4/5 (63 évaluations)
181 pages
2 heures
Jul 2, 2013


"Olive Barstow was dead. She'd been hit by a car on Monroe Street while riding her bicycle weeks ago. That was about all Martha knew."

Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends. But they weren't -- and now all that is left are eerie connections between two girls who were in the same grade at school and who both kept the same secret without knowing it.

Now Martha can't stop thinking about Olive. A family summer on Cape Cod should help banish those thoughts; instead, they seep in everywhere.

And this year Martha's routine at her beloved grandmother's beachside house is complicated by the Manning boys. Jimmy, Tate, Todd, Luke, and Leo. But especially Jimmy. What if, what if, what if, what if? The world can change in a minute.

Jul 2, 2013

À propos de l'auteur

Kevin Henkes is an award-winning author and illustrator of many books for children of all ages. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten’s First Full Moon; Caldecott Honors for Waiting and Owen; two Newbery Honors—one for Olive’s Ocean and one for The Year of Billy Miller—and Geisel Honors for Waiting and Penny and Her Marble. His other books include Egg, Old Bear, A Good Day, Chrysanthemum, and the beloved Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. Kevin Henkes lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin. www.kevinhenkes.com

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Olive's Ocean - Kevin Henkes



A Beginning

Are you Martha Boyle?

Martha nodded.

You don’t know me, said the woman at the door. Olive Barstow was my daughter. I was her mother.

Martha heard herself gasp. A small, barely audible gasp.

I don’t know how well you knew Olive, said the woman. She was so shy. The woman reached into the pocket of the odd smock she was wearing and retrieved a folded piece of paper. But I found this in her journal, and I think she’d want you to have it.

The rusted screen that separated them gave the woman a gauzy appearance. Martha cracked open the door to receive the pink rectangle.

That’s all, the woman said, already stepping off the stoop. And thank you. Thank you, Martha Boyle.

The woman mounted a very old bicycle and pedaled away, her long, sleek braid hanging behind her like a tail.

Breathing deeply to quiet her heart, Martha remained by the door thinking about Olive Barstow, unable for the moment to unfold the paper and read it.


An End

Olive Barstow was dead. She’d been hit by a car on Monroe Street while riding her bicycle. Weeks ago. That was about all Martha knew.

A sad image of Olive rose in Martha’s mind: a quiet, unremarkable girl, a loner with averted eyes, clinging to the lockers when walking down the hallways at school.

The image that flashed next was imagined and worse: Olive flying through the air, after impact, like a bird, then scraping along the pavement and lying in a heap at the curbside, never to move again.



Slowly, Martha unfolded the piece of paper. Olive’s handwriting was perfectly formed—small, dense, controlled—like rows and rows of pearls. Martha read, hearing the words in Olive’s thin, hesitant voice.

June 7: My Hopes

I hope that I can write a book someday. Not like the kind we did in writing lab. A real one, like in a library or bookstore. And not a mystery or adventure one, but an emotional one. Maybe I can make kids change their opinions on emotion books like some authors did to me. Most kids at school call the kind of book I want to do a chapter book, but I call them novels. Maybe I could be the youngest person ever to write a novel. Maybe I can develop a unique style of writing that no other authors have. I already know the first sentence of my novel: The orphan’s secret wish was that her bones were hollow like a bird’s and that she could just take off and fly away.

I also hope that one day I can go to a real ocean such as the Atlantic or Pacific. I like Madison with all the lakes (especially Lake Wingra), but I think it is not the same. When I’m eighteen I want to live in a cottage on a cliff that looks over the sea.

What else do I hope?

I hope that I get to know Martha Boyle next year (or this summer). I hope that we can be friends. That is my biggest hope. She is the nicest person in my whole entire class.

An eerie feeling invaded Martha’s body. She was holding a piece of paper that had come from the journal of someone her own age, someone now dead. But there was more. Martha would be leaving with her family the next morning to visit her grandmother at her grandmother’s house on the Atlantic Ocean (Martha’s favorite place in the world). Also, she had recently decided that she was going to be a writer—and this was still such a private thought that she hadn’t even told her best friend, or her brother, or her parents. And, what, she wondered, had she ever done or said to Olive Barstow that would compel her to write that Martha was the nicest person in my whole entire class? Most eerie—she would never know the answer.

Minutes earlier, she had been packing her bags for vacation, feeling completely happy, and now she felt different—altered. The longer Martha mulled over the coincidences, the more startling they became.


Martha’s Father

Who was at the door? asked Dennis Boyle, Martha’s father. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.

Oh, no one, Martha replied, shrugging. Just someone for me. Nothing, really. She folded the paper and hid it in her palm. Really. Nothing. No one.

Well, that surely clears things up, said her father. He tipped his head and half smiled. His expression was hard for Martha to interpret; she read it as: I love you, but I don’t understand you.

Listen, her father continued, I need your help. Lucy’s still napping, and I have to go to the store to get a few new things—toys, books, whatever—to keep her occupied on the airplane tomorrow. I need you to watch her when she wakes up.

Sure, said Martha.

Your mother should be home soon. And Vince is at Robbie’s house. If anyone asks about dinner, tell them I said it’s a carryout night. Too much to do before we leave for Godbee’s. He was holding a laundry basket heaped high with all sorts of things: clothes, newspapers, a rubber ball, dirty dishes, CDs, bottles of sunscreen, Lucy’s plastic sandals. This basket represents my life, he said in a slightly numbed tone, placing the basket solidly on the coffee table. I’ll be back.

And he was gone.

The summer seemed to be taking its toll on Martha’s father. Whenever possible, he found an excuse to escape from the house by himself. He admitted that he was looking forward to the end of summer and the beginning of school; Martha and her older brother, Vince, would be away most of the day, of course, and Lucy would be going to nursery school three mornings a week.

It was the middle of August. After Martha and her family returned from their vacation, there would be just one week for her father to get through before he’d have more time alone.

Dennis Boyle had quit his job as a lawyer when Lucy was born and had been taking care of her full-time for the past two and a half years. He also had been trying to write a novel during this time, although no one in the family had read a word. Periodically, and with growing frequency, his face was darkened by thought. The novel, he’d say. I’m thinking about my novel.

Martha hadn’t told anyone about her decision to be a writer yet, mostly because she didn’t want her father to think she was copying him. But she had given herself a deadline—she would tell him before they came back home from Godbee’s.



In her bedroom, leaning into the wall, Martha started punching the buttons on the telephone automatically. She was calling her best friend, Holly, to tell her about Olive Barstow’s mother and the journal page, but stopped before the last digit and switched the phone off. She wasn’t ready.

After slipping the folded journal page into one of the side zippered compartments of her backpack, Martha walked to Lucy’s room. She tried to be as quiet as possible. Lucy was such a light sleeper that stepping on a creaky floorboard or speaking in a normal voice near her could easily rouse her. I breathe too loudly and she wakes up, their father had often complained. Other people’s kids sleep through train wrecks.

From the door frame, Martha peeked at her sister. Lucy slept on a queen-size mattress on the floor that took up most of the room. The window shade was pulled, the room shadowy.

It was almost like a game or puzzle to find Lucy—she was curled up against a pillow and nearly hidden by five other pillows, her quilt, a sheet, and dozens of stuffed animals and dolls. One doll in particular was Lucy’s match in size and hair color. More than once, in a similar situation—in bed, in the dark—Martha had, for an instant, confused the two.

Martha couldn’t shake Olive Barstow from her thoughts. She felt a stab of loneliness, the source of which she couldn’t name. She cleared her throat, first softly, and then noisily. She coughed.

Lucy rustled, twisting herself into the sheet. Her eyes flew open. Blinked. Like a fish surfacing, she seemed to be quickly making her way through layers, from sleep to wakefulness.

Lucy-poo, Martha sang. Oh, Lucy-poo. Martha lay down beside her baby sister and nibbled at her soft pink ear.

Lucy’s head popped up. I wake up, she chirped.

You did and I’m glad, said Martha, twirling and twirling a strand of her sister’s curly red hair. You are the most beautiful baby in the world.

"I two," Lucy said emphatically. With a bounce, she rose to her feet, holding both hands, ten fingers splayed. Two.

Almost three, said Martha. And how old am I?


No, I’m twelve. Say twelve.

Telve, Lucy replied, cocking her head and beaming.

I need to change your diaper, Martha said, scooping up her sister and squeezing her, and then I’ll take you for a ride in your stroller.

Two, said Lucy.


The Corner of Knickerbocker and Monroe

Because she had a purpose, Martha walked briskly, pushing Lucy’s stroller through the neighborhood. The sun was hidden by clouds, then in full view, then blocked by trees or a house, then in full view again, so that it felt to Martha as if she were passing through a series of rooms, each room lit differently. It was very hot, and the humidity was high. One house they passed on Fox Avenue had beach towels draped over the front bushes to dry, reminding Martha that she hadn’t packed her beach towel yet, or her bathing suit. What else had she forgotten? She felt scattered. There was a break in the sidewalk that Martha hadn’t noticed; the stroller lurched.

Sorry, said Martha.

Eeeee, Lucy squealed, thrilled by the bump and the

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Ce que les gens pensent de Olive's Ocean

63 évaluations / 52 Avis
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Avis des lecteurs

  • (4/5)
    Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes is a deep book with lots to contemplate. Martha is a thinker and she analyzes what is going on around her. She is someone on the cusp of moving from childhood to the teenage years, and her experiences and thoughts reflect her age. I think this book would be especially helpful for kids who have lost a classmate or kids who are on the brink of becoming teenagers themselves. I found the story to be touching and eye-opening. Martha is going through the same thought process that other kids like her are going through, and it's helpful for kids to know that they aren’t alone in their thoughts about their first crush, betrayals, and new grown-up worries. I especially liked how the beach was a backdrop for Martha. Through her experiences there she grew and reflected on her life. I always find that the beach helps me to think and clear my head, so I felt it was easy to relate to Martha. The book has some sadness, but through the story we are reminded that, although life has its ups and downs, it's important to appreciate each other, our differences, and to follow our heart. We can’t lose sight of what it important. I would recommend this book to kids in fourth grade through middle school because of the insights that Martha has and what she is going through. Also, although it didn’t bother me because I found it fit Martha’s emotions, there were a couple instances of mild bad language throughout the book (but it does go along with Martha’s up and down feelings throughout the book). It is a story that settled over me and wormed its way into my mind. I liked the slow way it made me think about life and to appreciate each day.
  • (3/5)
    A good read!
  • (5/5)
    As the book opens, 12 year-old Martha is greeted by the mother of a classmate she barely knew, who was killed being hit by a car a few months earlier. The mother gives Martha a page from Olive's diary, which says, among other things, "I hope I will get to know Martha Boyle next year. I hope we will be friends. She is the nicest person in my whole entire class." Shortly after this, Martha and her family go to visit her grandmother for a few weeks of the summer. The events take place there, involving her family, and a neighboring family with five stair-step boys. Martha ponders live and death, aging, and first love.More thought provoking than most YA books.
  • (4/5)
    A wonderful story about a teenage girl learning about who she is becoming and developing a bond with her grandmother as she does. There are some who are offended by the language in the book, but I thought it was mild in comparison to what most young readers are exposed to in movies and television today.I felt that this book captured much of what it felt like to be a growing teen, when everything from family to friends and life itself seems to turn upside down as your body and mind seem to shapeshift without your willing them to. I loved the relationships developed in this story and thought the writing was well deserving of the Newbery Honor.
  • (4/5)
    That was so realistic. Believable. Written very well. Like I was a child again. I would say there is a HUGE MINUS that I don’t understand why author put there! Why?! Why in the world he put that remark about sex of parents? Now all the children who read the book and will see their parents being nice to each other will think that they had some sex! Why to spoil such a nice book with such a details of private life of parents for 12 year oldThat was a big disappointment.
  • (4/5)

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    Bittersweet coming of age story. I remember reading it and recommending it to my Not-so-fond-of-reading friends-- and they loved it!

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • (4/5)
    It's kinda cool that this girl had her first 'romance' when she was only 12 & during a busy summer week - and learned, from it, not to be blindly trusting of boys - she's all set now, with the first big lessons already learned.

    Note that the romance is actually just a smallish part of the story, but I'm sure other reviews, about the rest of the book, are more worth reading than anything I can say. To me, this is just another lovely MG story by one of my very favorite authors.
  • (5/5)
    Perfect ratio between romantic and growing up stories with little twist.
  • (4/5)
  • (3/5)
    Audiobook performed by Blair Brown

    From the back cover - Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends, but they weren’t. Weeks after a tragic accident, all that is left are eerie connections between the two girls, former classmates who both kept the same secret without knowing it. Now, even while on vacation at the ocean, Martha can’t stop thinking about Olive. Things only get more complicated when Martha begins to like Jimmy Manning, a neighbor boy she used to despise. What is going on? Can life for Martha be the same ever again?

    My reactions
    The intended audience for this novel is the middle-school crowd, and I think 9- to 12-year-olds would respond really well to it. Henkes did a good job of showing tweens on the cusp of growing up – conflicted between loving and wanting to be with family, and wanting to explore and go out on their own. Martha does a lot of thinking and worrying over what Olive is missing, whether her dreams are really her own, whether her grandmother will die soon, whether Jimmy really likes her, whether her father and mother are happy, etc. I like that she feels comfortable confiding (somewhat) in the adults around her and listening to their advice. I particularly liked the way her relationship with her grandmother is portrayed.

    However, on the whole, this novel just didn’t do much for me. It was a perfectly good book, but not great. I do think that’s my failing, not the author’s. I’m just too much past the intended audience to appreciate it.

    Blair Brown does a fine job performing the audio version. I thought she really brought the characters to life.
  • (4/5)
    Was interested to read this book, as it is often on banned books lists. Complaints of "explicit sex" apparently referred to a teenage boy character's guess that his parents were kissing because they'd had sex recently.
  • (3/5)
    The story tells of a young girl Martha who grieves in her own way of a girl at her school's death. They were never friends, but Olive's death changed Martha's life.The book was easy to read with some amazing imagery and scenes that were breath-taking. The author did a great job with developing the main character and shaping her to be who she is. I like how smooth the storyline is and how nice it flowed and the discoveries that she made. Most of the characters in the book were realistic which I thought was good, because by making them realistic readers can find more of a connection with them.
  • (3/5)
    Kevin Henkes has always been one of my favorite picture book authors. His books (Chrysanthemum, Lilly's Plastic Purple Purse, Wemberly Worried and more) were books that I read frequently with my children. He seemed to be able to capture friendship, bravery and so many of the traumas associated with growing up in an heart warming style and illustrated with adorable pictures of his many mice characters. When I saw that Henkes had a chapter book that was also a Newbery Honor Winner, I couldn't wait.

    Olive's Ocean is the story of Martha, a 12-year old girl who learns that Olive, a classmate, has died in a car accident. Although she has never been close to this girl, she is given a page from Olive's journal that describes Martha as the nicest girl in the class. Over the summer Martha and her family take their annual vacation to Cape Cod, where Martha contemplates Olive's death and the mortality of her aging grandmother, as well as has her first summer romance.

    The writing in this book is good - great descriptions, good realistic dialog. I just kept on expecting the plot to reach an "ah ha" type of climax, but instead it seemed to fall flat. The book was a short enjoyable listen, but not that memorable. One thing interesting about this book is that it was banned for language and sexual content. I discovered after I read it. If there was foul language in this book, it did not make an impression on me. And there was NO sexual content other than Martha's brother making an offhand remark about her parents' morning kisses as examples of After Sex Behavior. Seems a bit harsh to ban a book for that!

  • (5/5)

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

    This book starts off with Olive's mother bringing one of her journal entries to Martha. Olive was it when she was riding er bike and died. Martha knew Olive but they weren't friends. Olive said she wanted to be Martha's friend in the journal because she was nice and that she would also love to visit the ocean. Martha goes to the ocean to visit her grandmother with her family. She goes thru many changes while she is gone. She decides she wants to become a writer, forms a crush on a boy, and thinks about Olive a lot. She takes some ocean water back to Olive' mom. She finds out that her Mom has moved away. She writes Olive's name on the step with the ocean water and a paint brush. She can not wait to return to her Godbee's for anouther visit.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • (4/5)
    I'm sure I was already in high school before I heard of a classmate's death. Of course, I didn't spend many years in any one school and perhaps that made a difference. Reading the papers now in the small town where I live, it seems that having a schoolmate die must be a fairly common occurrence. So it's not surprising that this event would be a catalyst for more than one children's book.Olive's Ocean starts with the death of a child in a bicycle accident, but it is not a typical "problem novel" that would appear in a list under "Books to Give Kids Who've Lost a Classmate to Death." The death of Olive Barstow, a classmate that protagonist Martha Boyle scarcely knew, is a catalyst for her 13-year-old voyage of self-discovery. When Olive's mother comes to Martha's door a month or so after the accident, she brings one of Olive's journal entries. Olive wrote that she had three wishes: to be a writer, to live by the ocean, and to make friends with Martha. "the nicest girl in my whole entire class." Martha is stunned and a bit spooked by this, for she herself has formed an ambition to be a writer and her family is just about to leave Madison, Wisconsin for their yearly vacation at her grandmother's place on Cape Cod. She feels that all this is meant somehow, and throughout the book keeps returning to thoughts of Olive.Yet, Martha also has fun, gets to know her grandmother better, gets through an embarrassing situation with a slightly older boy, cares for her little sister, and bickers with her older brother. Some of the chapters are short and reflective, others are longer and filled with incident. The dialogue rings true whether the speaker is 82-year-old grandmother "Godbee" or 2-year-old Lucy. The book's ending is, in a way, more like the ending of a short story than that of a novel. I wish I could have a chance to discuss this with a twelve-year-old girl or two to see how they liked it and what their thoughts would be. I thought this was an excellent book and well deserving its honor.
  • (4/5)
    Listened to the CD edition this time and the tracking is simply too long with tracks at 10 and 13 minute lengths and since this was made in 2004 they should have been able to do better than that. The narrator, Blair Brown, did a fine job; although Martha sounded whiny at times she's at the age when that makes sense. The addition of a solo violin playing somewhat mournful music between some chapters fit the mood of the book, but I'm not sure how much it would appeal to the upper grade school and middle school audience this is aimed at. The story is contemplative and will most appeal to readers who like books that make them think; this would be an excellent choice for a book discussion. Previously read.
  • (4/5)
    This book is about a girl (Martha) that faces the death of a classmate, experiences her first kiss and first broken heart frustration, deals with family issues, and tries to understand herself. It is a nice realistic fiction novel that can be read around 5th/6th grade. It teaches about problems that young teens face and how one can deal with it. I would recommend to my students for sure.Reading Journal: counts as 1 Children's Novel
  • (5/5)
    5Q 5PA beautiful and poetic story of a 12 year old grappling with the death of a schoolmate during a summer at her grandmothers seaside home. Short paragraphs and lovely bursts of introspective musings will captivate readers, especially those who appreciate strong characters.
  • (5/5)
    I haven't read a book this fast in years! This is the kind of book that creates "young magic" that we all have had at some point in our lives. The author of this book Kevin Henkes, surely has retained that magical imagination that is found in Olive's Ocean via Martha Boyle and her family summer vacation at Godbeys coastal home. I enjoy reading again!
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book!! It was so touching. I loved the description of the smells of Godbee’s house as she was leaving to go home. I can remember how much I loved the way my grandmother’s house smelled. Each time I would leave her house, I would walk through and breathe in deep so that I wouldn’t lose the smell. Although I really enjoyed this book, I would not read it to my students because of some of the language that Vince used. Olive’s Ocean is about a twelve year old girl, Martha, whose life is touched by a girl that she barely knew. Olive, a classmate of Martha, had died a couple weeks before; she had been hit by a car while riding her bicycle. As the story begins, Olive’s mother brings an entry of her daughter’s journal to Martha. The entry states some of her dreams and mentions that she wants to be friends with Martha because she was so nice to her. Martha feels very guilty because she barely even spoke to Olive. As Martha is packing to go on vacation to see her grandmother, Godbee, she cannot stop thinking about Olive. When the Boyle family gets to Godbee’s house, Vince, her older brother, runs off to his friends’ house (The Mannings), so Martha is able to spend time with her grandmother. They agree to share one secret that no one else knows to each other each day they are there. While on vacation, Martha starts to like Jimmy Manning and she gets her first kiss. She is so excited until she learns that she was just part of a bet; she is heartbroken and embarrassed. Tate, Jimmy’s younger brother who really does like Martha, understands her humiliation and steals Jimmy’s video tape that he recorded the kiss on and gives it to her so that she can destroy it. While she is on vacation, Martha learns many things about herself and her grandmother and begins to develop a deeper understanding for her family. One of the things that Olive said in her journal entry that she wanted to do one day was go to the ocean. While on vacation, Martha puts ocean water in a baby jar and brings the ocean home to Olive’s mother. When she gets home from vacation she learns that Olive’s mother has moved. Martha takes the water and writes Olive’s name on the front steps of her house where she always sat and wrote before she died. Martha finally forgave herself for not being a friend to Olive and finally learns how lucky she is to have her family.
  • (5/5)
    I liked this story because Olive is very smart and down to earth. It's a coming of age book that can relate to girls everywhere.
  • (5/5)
    Olive’s Ocean is about a girl named Martha that visits her grandma, Godbee in California. Right before Martha lives home she got a letter in the mail from a fellow school mate Olive's mother telling her that Olive has died. Martha didn't really even know Olive. During her summer at Godbee, Martha learns so much more than she could have ever imagined. Martha soon develops a crush on one of neighbor boys while at her grandmother’s. Martha get revenge on a crush and before Martha leaves she gets a bottle and fills it with the ocean to give to Olive's mom. It said in the letter that Olive's mother had given her that she had always wanted to go to the ocean. This would be "Olives Ocean." This story was great because it made me feel like I was watching a movie. I was able to imagine every scene and it brought many emotions to mind. I never thought that I would enjoy a story like this, but as I began to read I couldn’t stop. This is a great story to have a discussion session over.This is a story that could help younger girls deal with appreciation, crushing on boys and learning something new about growing up.
  • (1/5)
    Olive's Ocean is a 2004 Newbery Honor award winning book.While many of the Newbery Medal and Honor books are insightful, this one zipped right on past, leaving me with a hollow feeling. The story is somewhat typical of a YA book wherein the main character has a coming of age experience that changes them, however, the characters in this book seem one dimensional and limp like.Martha is 12 years old when she learns that her classmate Olive died in a bike accident leaving behind a journal wherein she mentions that while other classmates paid no attention to her, Martha was kind.Martha and her family vacation at the cottage of her grandmother in New England. During this particular vacation, Martha is drawn to a young man who in turn leads her on and embarrasses her.Martha has a wonderful relationship with her grandmother and as they spend time together, the beauty of the elder teaching the younger is a theme of the story.All the events listed above were portrayed in a cookie-cutter fashion wherein the events are noted, stamped out and then moved along -- no sugar on the cookies, no fancy shape-- just the process of robotically going through the motion of doing a job.Not recommended.
  • (4/5)
    This is a bittersweet novel with very real characters. I particularly loved Martha's relationship with her grandmother, but I thought all the characters and their relationships were very realistic. There are way too many "Olives" in the world and hopefully young readers will respond with more sensitivity to the "outsiders" in their own social milieu after reading this book. The book could facilitate some great classroom discussions in several areas and on several levels.
  • (3/5)
    I listened to this book on my ipod, and I chose it because (a) I had wanted to read it before, and (b) I have enjoyed this narrator's work before (Blair Brown). The story begins when 12 year old Martha learns that a classmate (Olive) has been killed while riding her bicycle. Olive appeared to have very few good friends, although Martha seemed to be unsure why. She spoke with Olive occasionally in school, but is surprised when Olive's mother brings Martha some of Olive's writing. Martha's family spends the summer at her grandmother's house on the beach in New England, where Martha continues to wonder about Olive as well as her own destiny. I thought the story was well-written (and narrated), but it is not an on-the-edge-of-your-seat page-turner by any means.
  • (3/5)
    Martha goes to Cape Cod and thinks about a school friend who recently died, and deals with boys (some nice: Tate, some not: Jimmy) worries about her grandmother dying, and deals with her parents and wanting to be a writer. A lot to deal with a short book, but well done.
  • (3/5)
    3starP. Ages 10 and up. When Olive Barstow dies, her mom brings Martha a page from her journal, where Olive has written I hope that I get to know Martha Boyle next year (or this summer). I hope that we can be friends. That is my biggest hope. She is the nicest person in my whole entire class."Now Martha's world as taken on a whole new meaning. She realizes anyone can die at any moment and when she slips into the ocean and almost drowns, she realizes she doesn't have a second to lose.No RC.
  • (4/5)
    Ages 10-13, 3starP. Beautifully sad book about a girl who has a classmate who dies, and then goes to spend the summer by the ocean with her Godbee. I think this book does exhibit some qualities of Radical Change, as it deals with a few really tough subjects (death, falling in love for the first time) in a way that kids can really relate to. Perhaps fits into changing perspectives. Most children's books are very story-based, and this one is much more character/emotions based.Passage for discussion: "I'm drowning, she thought, and it was the very thought that made her kick and stroke and kick and stroke until she broke through the surface of the water and made her way back to shore oh so happy to be alive and coughing and coughing and coughing" (164).
  • (5/5)
    I was very familiar with Kevin Henkes' work before Olive's Ocean - I read many of his picture books when I was "The Storybook Lady" at Barnes & Noble. I am therefore not surprised at all that he has written such a beautifully realistic yet lyrical account of adolescence. Olive's Ocean is a charming tale about life, love and friendship. It is a very quick read - I read in in just a couple of days - but I know Martha and Olive will stay with me for a long time to come.
  • (4/5)
    This wasn't my favorite book of Kevin Henkes though I know it has received a great deal of praise. However, Henkes did do an excellent job or portraying the realization of mortality and young girl goes through and many of the experiences that contribut to growing up.