The Ocean in My Ears

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On the last summer before her senior year of high school, Meridith “Meri” Miller sets off to find what Soldotna, Alaska has to offer, which is not much. She spends time with her best friend and Charlie–who is quite the character–and explores relationships with boys, goes to parties, to work, and to the movies. Aside from those activities, she dreams of the day she can pack her bags and move the heck away from this small Alaskan town. And she sees college as this escape.

Macvie beautifully captures the raw spirit of young love, friendship, and family through the interactions and the mixed writing methods she uses to characterize Meri. Meri’s voice is sharp and engaging, making the book’s narrative strong. And the charm of Dairy Queen-hopping and other aspects of small-town life are endearing. Macvie made another excellent choice in placing the novel in the 1990s, allowing for letter writing and landline phone calls instead of the texting that takes place in a lot of recent YA novels. For me, part of the appeal of this book arises from the normalcy of the events. While not every teenager deals with the same family issues, friend drama, or boy problems, the day-to-day nature of the novel aids in the reader’s understanding of Meri’s reality and in relating to her circumstances. But, for some readers, this pacing could draw out the experience of the book and might make it a multi-day read (not a bad thing). The only major pitfall for me as a reader was that I felt as though some of the stakes raised in the second half of the novel were life happening to Meri, and not Meri experiencing life. Too much almost happened too fast, and some of it seemed like it was placed just to add another experience for Meri to go through instead of to build on the natural feeling mentioned early. That being said, I rather enjoyed the book and found it suitable and a good read for older young adults.

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Star Count 3.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 300 pages
Publisher Ooligan Press
Publish Date 2017-Nov-07
ISBN 9781932010947 Buy this Book
Issue April 2018
Category Young Adult


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