Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew is a young adult book that focuses on a young girl who is trying to survive in a dark and scary world. You follow Kel who plans to kidnap a girl in order to fund her trip to America to receive help for her heart. Whilst doing this not everything goes to plan and they both end up stranded in the middle of the ocean with only the hope of surviving. Due to this time spent together they grow close and become friends which is unusual for someone from the ‘swamps’ and the other from the ‘towers’.
There are two main characters in this book, both young girls named Kel and Rose. They are from completely different world and you can see that throughout the book. The way that Kel talks in comparison to Rose show the difference in class and education alone. They are an unlikely friendship however as the book goes on and they learn more about one another you can see they begin to bond. I did like these characters and did feel as though they fit the story well even if it want my favourite book.
I did find it took a little while to get into the book as the dialogue takes some getting used to. The writer used a lot of slang and phonetic words. This can become confusing at times however the narration in between the dialogue cleared things up and you could follow the story.
I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, this is just a personal opinion however as many others do love it. I feel it lacked action for me and didn’t necessarily keep me engaged. It also seems unrealistic in a way. I know it is a fictional book however I find it hard that they did survive on the sea for so long when it was described as being so wild. I also felt that the baby being in the book was pointless. I didn’t feel it added to anything and that at times I felt the writer had forgotten about it. I know the premise was that Kel didn’t like the bay however I feel as though the baby wouldn’t have survived these events. At one point when they come across a ship that they went aboard to look for food the baby seemed to just disappear for a while.
The characters went through a lot however everything went back to normal very quickly. For example, Rose suffered a bad injury on her leg after their raft capsized yet despite spending days with an open wound on an island then on the sea it seemed to just be fine.
Overall, I would say that this book wasn’t for me. I liked the characters and felt the fit the story however I personally didn’t enjoy it. I felt that it was long and drawn out with a few events along the way with a disappointing ending.
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please comment your opinion of this book if you have ever read it or if there are any other comments you want to make)