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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Highest Tide

by

The Highest Tide Cover

 

Staff Pick

"Jim Lynch's fictional debut explores what's so remarkable about the squid and its unusual ocean brethren, as well as what it's like growing up by the edge of sea. The Highest Tide has much to recommend it, including the narrator himself....[A] classic, quirky coming-of-age tale with an appealingly honest voice and a mesmerizing exploration of ocean life."
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Are you captivated by stories of rare creatures living beneath the surface of the ocean? Do you like the idea of an eccentric teenage narrator handing out startlingly detailed descriptions of these creatures and other aquatic mysteries? Are you a sucker for coming-of-age tales that take place in small coastal towns? Then read this amazing book.
Recommended by David, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A mesmerizing, allegorical, and beautifully wrought first novel about one boy's wonder with the sea during the summer that will change his life, and the lives around him.

One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley slips out of his house, packs up his kayak, and goes exploring on the flats of Puget Sound. But what begins as an ordinary hunt for starfish, snails, and clams is soon transformed by an astonishing sight: a beached giant squid. As the first person to ever see a giant squid alive, the speed-reading, Rachel Carson-obsessed insomniac instantly becomes a local curiosity. When he later finds a rare deepwater fish in the tidal waters by his home, and saves a dog from drowning, he is hailed as a prophet. The media hovers and everyone wants to hear what Miles has to say.

But Miles is really just a teenager on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him. While the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths, Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally mysterious process of growing up. In this mesmerizing, beautifully wrought first novel, we witness the dramatic sea change for both Miles and the coastline that he adores over the course of a summer — one that will culminate with the highest tide in fifty years.

Review:

"The fertile strangeness of marine tidal life becomes a subtly executed metaphor for the bewilderments of adolescence in this tender and authentic coming-of-age novel, Lynch's first. As a precocious, undersized 13-year-old living on the shore of Puget Sound, in Washington State, Miles O'Malley has developed a consuming passion for the abundant life of the tidal flats. His simple pleasure in observing is tested and complicated over the course of a remarkable summer, when he finds a giant squid, a discovery that brings him the unwelcome attention of scientists, TV reporters and a local cult. Meanwhile, Miles's remote parents are considering a divorce; his best friend, Florence, an elderly retired psychic, is dying of a degenerative disease; his sex-obsessed buddy, Phelps, mocks his science-geek knowledge; and his desperate crush on Angie Stegner, the troubled girl next door, both inspires and humiliates him. Events build toward the date of a record high tide, and Miles slowly sorts out his place in the adult world. While occasionally Lynch packs too much into a small story, this moving, unusual take on the summers of childhood conveys a contagious sense of wonder at the variety and mystery of the natural world. Agent, Kim Witherspoon. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"An irresistible coming-of-age fable, dappled with lyricism, briny honesty and good humor. It's as if Carson herself (or, say, John McPhee) had turned to fiction, bringing an exacting sense of the ebb and flow of nature to the story of one largely unsupervised boy and the exploration of his surroundings." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Lynch offers beautiful descriptions filled with quiet passion....Unfortunately, when it comes to [Miles's] sexual awakening, the novel declines into juvenile mediocrity that contrasts sharply with the remainder of this exquisite tale." Library Journal

Review:

"Wryly funny, achingly sad and endearingly hopeful... the kind of book you can't put down, and the kind you'll pick up again." Denver Post

Review:

"Nerdy, vulnerable, obsessive, pure, Miles has a flavor about him of Christopher... in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time... Above all the book is blessed by a genuine sense of wonder." Miami Herald

Review:

"On land, the rickety plot could have used some shoring up....But when Miles is on the water, Lynch's first novel becomes a stunning light show...in the poetic fireworks Lynch's prose sets off as he describes his clearly beloved Puget Sound. A celebratory song of the sea." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"In stunning prose, author Jim Lynch puts sea life into a kaleidoscope where swirling shapes burst and reconfigure in continuous life-affirming wonder... The balance of elegance, groundedness and style is remarkable." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Unforgettable... [A] classic coming-of-age story, told with wry wit and quirky mating-marine-life facts." Seattle Times

Review:

"The Highest Tide is a plunge into sustained and intelligent wonder. Jim Lynch creates a richly tumultuous world on a microcosmic stage. His characters and events are as complex and surprising as the sea that surrounds them. He's got me re-reading Rachel Carson and itching for tide pools of my own." Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love

Review:

"In The Highest Tide, Jim Lynch has written a masterful first novel, gracefully weaving together the wonders of the sea and the wonders of our humanity. Seeing the world through the eyes of his narrator, Miles O'Malley, is to see the world with a rapturous freshness that is, it seems to me, the essence of a fine book. This is an exciting debut. I can't wait to see what Jim Lynch does next." Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize?winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

Review:

"Jim Lynch has written a breathtakingly beautiful first novel. At its core is a fabulous metaphor, rising from the ocean to wrap around his painful story with all the brilliance and mystery of life. That is a big statement. Lynch can carry its weight and then some." Martha McPhee, author of Gorgeous Lies

Synopsis:

"A poignant coming-of-age story and an enchanting primer on the life aquatic. The Highest Tide is as crisp and clean as a cool dip into the water, and just about as refreshing.--Entertainment Weekly

One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley sneaks out of his house and goes exploring on the tidal flats of Puget Sound. When he discovers a rare giant squid, he instantly becomes a local phenomenon shadowed by people curious as to whether this speed-reading, Rachel Carson obsessed teenager is just an observant boy or an unlikely prophet. But Miles is really just a kid on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him. As the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths, Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally mysterious process of growing up.

A national bestseller and a Book Sense pick in hardcover

About the Author

Jim Lynch has won national journalism awards, published short fiction in literary magazines, and spent four years as the Puget Sound reporter for the Oregonian. A Washington state native, Lynch currently writes and sails from his home in Olympia, where he lives with his wife and daughter. The Highest Tide is his first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Wendy C Feltham, April 9, 2012 (view all comments by Wendy C Feltham)
I loved this book, the story of Miles O'Malley, a gifted 13-year-old boy in Olympia, Washington who really notices everything around him as he explores the bay at low tide. Miles is a speed reader who has devoured many books about sea life, and he especially loves to quote the wisdom of Rachel Carson. It is the summer he is growing up, and his discoveries of unexpected sea creatures along with his interactions with his parents and other unusual characters propel the plot forward. Since I spend a couple of hours every day walking along the beaches of the Olympic Peninsula, and plan my day around low tide, I identified completely with Miles's obsession. I loved finding out more about barnacles, jellyfish, squid, and other wonders of the Puget Sound.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Peter Young, June 27, 2008 (view all comments by Peter Young)
Combining descriptions like James Lee Burke, albeit of the tidal flats rather than the Bayou, phrasing to match Richard Powers, characters reminiscent of John Irving's, and the story telling power of Norman McClean, Jim Lynch's The Highest Tide is a very good beginning. We want some more.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(13 of 22 readers found this comment helpful)
Zmrzlina, October 6, 2007 (view all comments by Zmrzlina)
I am not a huge fan of coming-of-age stories (after To Kill A Mockingbird, why bother writing another!) but this one caught my attention because Rachel Carson has a role and my city, Pittsburgh, just named a bridge for her. Also, it takes place on the Washington coast, an area of the US I'm keen on visiting.

The story is fast moving and very interesting (lots of marine biology delivered without lecture). A bit too metaphysical in places for my taste, but that is done sort of tongue in cheek and it is easy enough not to take it too seriously. You can't help but love Miles, the protagonist. He is so strangely familiar, perhaps because he is the angst in all of us when on the brink of adulthood. A fine debut novel and I hope the author makes a sophomore effort.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(16 of 32 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781582346298
Author:
Lynch, Jim
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
General
Subject:
Nature
Subject:
Teenage boys
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Bildungsromans
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date:
20060531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.24 x 5.47 x 0.76 in

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Miscellaneous Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Literature Folklore and Memoirs

The Highest Tide Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Bloomsbury USA - English 9781582346298 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

"Jim Lynch's fictional debut explores what's so remarkable about the squid and its unusual ocean brethren, as well as what it's like growing up by the edge of sea. The Highest Tide has much to recommend it, including the narrator himself....[A] classic, quirky coming-of-age tale with an appealingly honest voice and a mesmerizing exploration of ocean life."

"Staff Pick" by ,

Are you captivated by stories of rare creatures living beneath the surface of the ocean? Do you like the idea of an eccentric teenage narrator handing out startlingly detailed descriptions of these creatures and other aquatic mysteries? Are you a sucker for coming-of-age tales that take place in small coastal towns? Then read this amazing book.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The fertile strangeness of marine tidal life becomes a subtly executed metaphor for the bewilderments of adolescence in this tender and authentic coming-of-age novel, Lynch's first. As a precocious, undersized 13-year-old living on the shore of Puget Sound, in Washington State, Miles O'Malley has developed a consuming passion for the abundant life of the tidal flats. His simple pleasure in observing is tested and complicated over the course of a remarkable summer, when he finds a giant squid, a discovery that brings him the unwelcome attention of scientists, TV reporters and a local cult. Meanwhile, Miles's remote parents are considering a divorce; his best friend, Florence, an elderly retired psychic, is dying of a degenerative disease; his sex-obsessed buddy, Phelps, mocks his science-geek knowledge; and his desperate crush on Angie Stegner, the troubled girl next door, both inspires and humiliates him. Events build toward the date of a record high tide, and Miles slowly sorts out his place in the adult world. While occasionally Lynch packs too much into a small story, this moving, unusual take on the summers of childhood conveys a contagious sense of wonder at the variety and mystery of the natural world. Agent, Kim Witherspoon. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "An irresistible coming-of-age fable, dappled with lyricism, briny honesty and good humor. It's as if Carson herself (or, say, John McPhee) had turned to fiction, bringing an exacting sense of the ebb and flow of nature to the story of one largely unsupervised boy and the exploration of his surroundings."
"Review" by , "Lynch offers beautiful descriptions filled with quiet passion....Unfortunately, when it comes to [Miles's] sexual awakening, the novel declines into juvenile mediocrity that contrasts sharply with the remainder of this exquisite tale."
"Review" by , "Wryly funny, achingly sad and endearingly hopeful... the kind of book you can't put down, and the kind you'll pick up again."
"Review" by , "Nerdy, vulnerable, obsessive, pure, Miles has a flavor about him of Christopher... in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time... Above all the book is blessed by a genuine sense of wonder."
"Review" by , "On land, the rickety plot could have used some shoring up....But when Miles is on the water, Lynch's first novel becomes a stunning light show...in the poetic fireworks Lynch's prose sets off as he describes his clearly beloved Puget Sound. A celebratory song of the sea."
"Review" by , "In stunning prose, author Jim Lynch puts sea life into a kaleidoscope where swirling shapes burst and reconfigure in continuous life-affirming wonder... The balance of elegance, groundedness and style is remarkable."
"Review" by , "Unforgettable... [A] classic coming-of-age story, told with wry wit and quirky mating-marine-life facts."
"Review" by , "The Highest Tide is a plunge into sustained and intelligent wonder. Jim Lynch creates a richly tumultuous world on a microcosmic stage. His characters and events are as complex and surprising as the sea that surrounds them. He's got me re-reading Rachel Carson and itching for tide pools of my own." Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love
"Review" by , "In The Highest Tide, Jim Lynch has written a masterful first novel, gracefully weaving together the wonders of the sea and the wonders of our humanity. Seeing the world through the eyes of his narrator, Miles O'Malley, is to see the world with a rapturous freshness that is, it seems to me, the essence of a fine book. This is an exciting debut. I can't wait to see what Jim Lynch does next." Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize?winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
"Review" by , "Jim Lynch has written a breathtakingly beautiful first novel. At its core is a fabulous metaphor, rising from the ocean to wrap around his painful story with all the brilliance and mystery of life. That is a big statement. Lynch can carry its weight and then some." Martha McPhee, author of Gorgeous Lies
"Synopsis" by ,
"A poignant coming-of-age story and an enchanting primer on the life aquatic. The Highest Tide is as crisp and clean as a cool dip into the water, and just about as refreshing.--Entertainment Weekly

One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley sneaks out of his house and goes exploring on the tidal flats of Puget Sound. When he discovers a rare giant squid, he instantly becomes a local phenomenon shadowed by people curious as to whether this speed-reading, Rachel Carson obsessed teenager is just an observant boy or an unlikely prophet. But Miles is really just a kid on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him. As the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths, Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally mysterious process of growing up.

A national bestseller and a Book Sense pick in hardcover

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