Book info

Girl At Sea (2007)

Girl at Sea (2007)
Rating
3.73 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
006054144X (ISBN13: 9780060541446)
languge
English
genre
publisher
harper teen
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Girl At Sea (2007)
Girl At Sea (2007)

About book: Before I get started on this review, I would like to share something that I just discovered about Maureen Johnson: as of 2012, she is the Queen of Teen for the UK (aka Young Adult Literature Queen). After reading several of her novels, I have to say that I quite agree with her nomination and election (can queens be elected?). She is very skilled at writing from the perspective of a teenager, obviously not being a teen herself. For some authors who write YA, this struggle is quite obvious with their dialogue, main character's inner thoughts/actions, etc. Many succeed though and despite the large age difference between themselves and their characters, the tone and dialogue is amazingly accurate. One great example of an author who struggled but did NOT overcome would be Alyson Noel who wrote Evermore (I have not read any of her other books however, so I can only base my opinion solely on this first Immortals book).While I would not say that Maureen Johnson is my favorite author, I have consistently enjoyed every book written by her, which is quite the accomplishment. 13 Little Blue Envelopes is tied with this as my favorite of hers to date.First off, Maureen creates a character that I would love to be friends with. For me this is important. Not all good books need relatable and likeable characters, but it does make it easier to get into the story. In Girl at Sea, the main character is Clio. Aside from I myself being in love with the name (Clio being named after the Greek muse of history), right off that bat I find that I like her attitude. I appreciate wit and sarcasm in both daily life and with my heroines. When we are first introduced to Clio, she is fawning over a local boy who works at the art store: "She was standing straight, so she slumped a little and arranged her face into a mask of minor melancholy. She approached slowly." Ya... so, that would definitely be the way I would react in a similar situation, especially as a teen. I overanalyzed everything (alright, so I still over analyze everything. Nothing has changed except for my age). These analyzations and introspective thoughts make for a very realistic teen character and really show off the author's skill at character development. Then we find out Clio's backstory. I won't go into much detail here because that provides a lot of the plot in Girl at Sea, but let's just say she has daddy issues. Not in a "my daddy doesn't love me" or "my daddy hits me" type of way (nothing wrong with those characteristics, it just wouldn't be right for this particular story). Instead, Clio's daddy issues have arisen from a number of questionable decisions that he has made (#1 Having is daughter get a tattoo at a very VERY young age. #2 Oh, and being pretty reckless with their money that results in her parents' divorce before the book even begins).The newest questionable decision that her father makes is to take Clio away from her home for the summer and force her to come with him on a wild adventure with people she has never met, and on a yacht that he can definitely not afford.Another reason why I think Maureen reigns as the Teen of Queen is that she doesn't just feed her readers the information. I absolutely despise an author who gives you all of the details upfront with a long backstory and an exhausting introduction to absolutely everything that is going to go down. Even in a non-thriller novel, we need a little suspense. Plus, it is a chronic problem that authors underestimate their readers. Give us a little credit.Girl at Sea includes some historical fiction aspects which make for quite the compliment to the modern day story and setting. Instead of force feeding us all of the facts we need to know right at the beginning of the group's grand adventure, we learn along with Clio. That is the way a good young adult story should read. There also needs to be some compelling characters aside from the main character of course. Here enters the cast: Clio's dad (the scuba diver and trip-funder), Clio's dad's girlfriend Julia (the archaeologist), Martin (Clio's dad's friend and the only sane adult on this trip), Elsa (Julia's daughter who translates and mostly sunbathes), and Aidan (the assistant who provides a potential love interest for the girls).Each of these characters have their flaws. They also have endearing qualities and storylines that make them well-rounded. None are static and all gain something from the trip. I would argue that Clio gains the most. She learns about love, adventure and family. What else could you ask for from a book?My only caveat with Maureen is her sometimes too quick climax and resolution. Let us enjoy the epicness of your endings once in a while Maureen! They are over too soon. Still, as I said before, there is a reason that she is the Queen of Teen. This book is quite the adventure in both mental and physical capacities. It's not a long or particularly heart-wrenching read, but it's a great story nonetheless.

Ok. I have to comment on the cover. WTF? That girl on the cover could never, ever be Clio. I’ve noticed a pattern with Maureen Johnson’s books: Find a picture of a pretty, slim girl (with no face). Put her in tight pants and a tank top. Add in a few pieces of plot-related decorative flourishes. And Voila! A cover girl that has nothing at all to do with the strong heroines Johnson writes. (At least Suite Scarlet seems to have broken this pattern)I’m probably overreacting, but this really bothers me. This cover is so generic that it short-changes what’s inside. I’m glad I didn’t judge this book (or 13 Little Blue Envelopes) by its cover. If I had, I likely would have assumed the novel would have been another formulaic teen romance drama. Which it definitely is NOT. If I wasn’t lazy, I’d start a petition to stop this cover design travesty. :)Ok, onto more serious matters... Girl at Sea has a great pace and likable characters. There’s a bit of everything here: mystery, romance, drama. It was a great book to read while stuck in winter misery. I’m quickly growing into a huge Maureen Johnson fan, almost entirely because of her heroines. Johnson does not write stereotypical teen girls- they are all fully fleshed out young women with diverse talents, desires, and motivations (which is why the covers bother me so much). Clio is highly relatable, even though many girls probably can’t even imagine living the life Clio has cruising around the Mediterranean. But Clio’s feelings, her relationships, her fears, and her weaknesses are all very real. The exotic locale is just that: a setting. It adds interest to the story, but does not serve to alienate readers. While most readers might not be able to imagine how it would feel to jump off the deck of a yacht into the dark sea, most can probably relate to being hurt by a friend or fighting with a parent. Another thing I like about Johnson’s heroines is that they have romantic interests but do not need to be rescued. Clio does not need a boyfriend or a kiss to complete her. Clio needs to find something inside her- even though crushes and first kisses seem to take priority in her life, it’s not really what she’s looking for. While Clio gets what she wants in the love department, the other things she gets, the things she didn't know she was looking for, are so much more meaningful, satisfying, and life changing. The inclusion of old letters keeps the mystery going and clues readers in on details related to the secret search that Clio is not yet aware of. I highly recommend this book.
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Reviews
Antonia
It so pissed me off. First of all, the description was weird. I mean a lot of unecessary infos, and things that made you confused. I loved the cover, the Romanian one :D Let's start with the characters. Clio, just so you know it, I can't remeber how she looked, bbecause it's not specified. Whatever. She is confused and never really acts how she should. I mean she should get mad and scream and all that. Well, no. She gets a little upset, than she's not upset anymore. Clio's father-an idiot. Julia, the girlfriend of Clio's father, well, not so much to say about her. Aidan, Julia's employee, a weird asshole. Elsa, another weird character, but at least I know how she looks like. That's about it. Clio should've had the summer she always dreamed. But her father messes up her plans when he takes her to Italy to a strange trip, without saying her a word about what is going to happen on that trip. I liked the mystery from the beggining, and the scene when Clio meets the jellyfishes, and the final scene. That's all. Either the translation was stupid, either the author didn't know how to use the verbs.
xAmaryllis
Stephanie Perkins and "Titanic". This book is like a "titanic" version of Anna and the French Kiss, featuring the amazing writing style of Stephanie Perkins!! That's enough said. Okay, so the cover is ugly I KNOW. And YES, the cover has nothing to do with the actual novel. You should picture a cover of a girl with long honey-like hair blowing in the wind, staring at the sea, if you actually wanna find a cover that would FIT this book. Okay.And no, the story is not a simple retelling of "Titanic" if this is what you're thinking about. This story is slightly different. NO SPOILERS AHEAD, keep on reading:So, basically this book starts with an old kind of.. letter thing from.. '90 and something. And then, the next chapter is the actual first chapter of the main book. Just to clarify that. But yeah, just read everything. You should know what I'm talking about, when you get into it. Now, cmon. Go and grab a copy of this. It's summer-y, and perfect and everything you want to read, trust me. xoxo
Paola Gabriella
Este es un buen libro, un tanto predecible, pero bueno para pasar el rato, es una lectura ligera, típica Maureen Johnson.Me gustó el paralelismo de las historias, me gustó el hecho que está desarrollado en Italia y no es Roma ni Milán ni ninguna ciudad grande y conocida y cliché.Los personajes eran realistas, tan realistas que sentías como si fueran personas reales porque no tienen este aura de perfección o grandeza como otros personajes en otros libros.De nuevo, no es la maravilla del mundo pero es entretenida y algo graciosa. Eso si Cloe (la protagonista) es demasiado insoportable en la vida. Es esa clase de lecturas que haces para distraerte un rato, pero en línea general es sólo buena.
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