Saturday, March 8, 2014

Contributor Review: "Girl At Sea" by Maureen Johnson

Greetings, my blizzard babies!

MLIS Midterms are OVER, which means I can get back to reading books that have nothing to do with HTML5 of Dublin Core. *happy dance*

Here to bring us some little hint of summer is the glorious Tori W.

Enjoy!

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Tori W. 
AuggieTalk Contributor

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Review: Girl at Sea

357105Title: Girl at Sea
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: June 1, 2007
Pages: 323



Synposis:
Sometimes you have to get lost . . .


The Girl: Clio Ford, seventeen, wants to spend the summer smooching her art-store crush, not stuck on a boat in the Mediterranean. At least she'll get a killer tan.

The Mission: Survive her father's crazy antics. Oh, and also find some missing underwater treasure that could unlock the secrets of civilization.

The Crew: Dad's wacky best friend Martin, his bizarre research partner Julia, her voluptuous daughter Elsa . . . and then there's Aidan, Julia's incredibly attractive, incredibly arrogant assistant.

What's going on behind Aidan's intellectual, intensely green eyes, anyway?

As Clio sails into uncharted territory she unveils secrets that have the power to change history. But her most surprising discovery is that there's something deeper and more cryptic than the sea-her own heart.

. . . to find what you're looking for



When it’s chilly outside and you are ready to walk barefoot in grass that is not crunching with cold, it’s time to get warm with a little summer romance. Of the book variety of course, my dears. I went in search of one such book that would drag me out of my heavy winter thoughts and put some color back in cheeks. I ended up staring at Girl at Sea. With its coral title blazing among bland bindings, I decided to rescue it from the bookshelf dedicated solely to impulse buys. No judging. We all have them. This book is undoubtedly a good solid teen read. The necessary angst, the waited first kiss, and the boy…of course the boy is there. While I did find a good amount of fluff, there was a genuinely interesting story.

When Clio Ford was a little girl, she and her eccentric father created an adventure board game that became so popular that her life turned into an adventure as well. Trips to Japan, Peru, and Greece. But such money and grandeur doesn’t last forever. After a scuba diving accident leaves Clio with a scar on her arm (that her father allows her to cover with a tattoo from a Japanese comic book artist), things inevitably change. Her parents fight and separate. Now years later, Clio is an artistic and independent 17-year-old and is once again offered the chance to jet halfway around the world. She is going to spend the summer on a yacht in the Mediterranean...with her father. But in Clio’s mind, this just won’t do. She wants to spend the summer working at an art supply store with a handsome boy who’s dripping with Southern charm.

Now don’t misunderstand me, as a woman from the Deep South…I understand the appeal of a smooth talking country boy with a soft side for the arts. But at first, I found it a little hard to sympathize with her current predicament of a free vacation placed neatly at her feet that she was determined to refuse. I wanted to shake her. But then that moment of begrudging clarity hit. I couldn’t get angry at her. She was in the timeless predicament of being the nearly adult-child of a child-adult. Her father was impulsive and single-minded to the point of recklessness while she was growing up. Now he has assembled an eclectic crew to accompany him on a mysterious expedition off the coast of Italy. Now bear with me for a few, while I segue into my tiny little rant on cover art. The image on the cover is neither an accurate depiction of the main character nor any other character in the book for that matter.

Clio is supposed to be an inked teenager of 17. However, the girl on the cover is ink free and 12 years old. Okay maybe…just maybe…13. I will never understand just taking a theme from the book and slapping both it and a random girl on the cover. I’d rather just have a picture of the ocean over a generic looking pre-teen in a tight tank and shorts. It just simply adds no extra curb appeal if you ask me. Time to move on to bigger, better, and more artistic venues.

I give the book a 3.5. It just couldn’t quite make the 4 quills cut.

Johnson weaves a few good plot twists throughout the story with flashbacks from another adventurous father and daughter from 100 years ago. The search for a missing artifact is the premise of the ocean excursion and I found that to be the most intriguing part of the book. The romantic interactions, while well written, were just a tad too predictable for me. Moody and aloof guy pretends not to care about girl while actually secretly liking her…it’s been done. But it’s a tried and true example of the boy meets girl dynamic.

Now that I have gotten my irritations out of the way, I do have to say that there are some beautifully written scenes in this book. It’s a quick read with some shallow depth and it’s an easygoing novel best suited to a lazy afternoon.

Until next time, happy reading!



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