REVIEW: To Hear The Ocean Sigh by Bryant A. Loney

I received a copy of this book from Verona Booksellers in exchange for an honest review.
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*may include minor spoilers*

Title: To Hear The Ocean Sigh

Author: Bryant A. Loney

Publisher: Verona Booksellers

ISBN: 978-0-692-41552-8

Pages: 248

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis: “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.”

To Hear the Ocean Sigh is a coming-of-age book, written by Bryant A. Loney and it is about a boy named Jay. Jay is not known at his school; he is not popular, he doesn’t have -permanent- friends, he is a “nobody”. One day, he receives a text from a girl named Saphnie, who is from North Carolina and after this text, he finds himself in a group of friends (from his school) and they make his sophomore year quite interesting.

“Some people were simply created with the right genes and the proper social skills, I figured. They ended up at a lunch table with a group of good-looking individuals, like them, who did what all good-looking individuals managed: making the rest of us feel both envious of them and sad for ourselves, intentional or not. They had activities outside of school and followers online—people of social necessity who sat at home on Friday nights and ‘liked’ popular posts in hopes that they, too, might one day be as attractive and personable.”

I don’t know if I loved liked this book or not, to be honest *grimaces*

There are a couple of things I want to say about this book but before that, I’d like to say how relatable it was. I mean, it wasn’t like I literally saw myself in Jay; but how he felt in certain situations and what he did and his fears and his thoughts were all somewhat familiar to me. For example, after a massive argument between Ethan, Lily, Megan, Ty and Jay; Jay doesn’t know what to do and there is a huge gap between them because of that -until they properly talk to each other- That’s how you feel when you don’t know how close you are with someone, as if you don’t want to be an intruder and therefore stay away, trying not to be a nosy and annoying person. That is how I -and a lot of people- feel sometimes.

Another thing (which is really, and I mean really hard to explain so I hope I will be able to express my feelings without confusing you all) is that the feeling you get when you realize your friends did something -not necessarily bad but something that is not quite suitable for your age- is also in the book. When Jay learned that his friends were smoking weed, he felt as if he didn’t know his friends at all, and it was good to see that somebody else had the same reaction as me.

“Growing up isn’t about the person you’re going to marry or what job you’re going to get. It’s not about the happy ending, either. It is about the story and savoring every step of it – who in your life you let walk with you and who you leave behind. So let’s all calm down for a change, let things go, and allow life to happen as we live it.”

So yeah, this book was nice and relatable but I want to talk about what I didn’t like about it.

First of all, there were details that were a bit unnecessary. For example, I don’t really think we needed to know the brand or the model of the smartboard (or board?) they use in classes. I also felt like they spent maybe too much time speaking about Rudderless at Sea. I mean yeah, it was basically the whole reason why Jay got those new friends in the first place, but as people who cannot read the said book from the start to the ending, we can find reading about it and only being able to get parts from it frustrating -or at least that is what I felt while reading those parts- .  Connecting those parts is another thing, it is really hard especially since I guess Rudderless at Sea doesn’t have a specific message or a meaning, each reader’s comment on the plot and the book is different.

Secondly, I didn’t think the characters, including Jay even though he is the main character, were built deeply. And what do I try to say with this? It means that the characters didn’t really feel real. I talked about how relatable Jay’s feelings and thoughts were above but besides those specific points, they weren’t described well. (again, I’d like to state that this is my opinion)

Lastly, the book was very slow-moving. I don’t particularly have a problem with slow-moving books but it takes me some time to read them and it can be very frustrating, especially when your expectations are very high. If you aren’t patient about these things, then this book probably isn’t right for you.

“If someone’s happy, why point out the reality at their expense? It doesn’t seem fair. Ignorance is bliss.”

The ending (not really the ending, the “thing” that happened right before the ending) was unexpected though. I don’t know how to explain it without giving spoilers, but I had to put down the book for a second to take a deep breath and continue without hitting something.

“The day we all learn to stop pushing each other to our breaking point is when we’ll all be saved. (…) Until then, we’re al we’ve got.”

So, I gave this book 3.5 points because of the things I wrote above. If you aren’t a picky reader and slow-moving books do not annoy you, and if you want to read about a book that isn’t about popular kids and manwhores and all, then I think you can give this book a go.

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