crowyhead, August 18, 2006 (view all comments by crowyhead)
Miles O'Malley is thirteen, small for his age, and obsessed with Rachel Carson. He knows more than anyone else about the intricate workings of the small stretch of tidal mud flats along his part of Skookumchuck Bay. His best friends are Phelps, a wannabe bad-boy 13-year-old who blows smoke rings and plays air guitar like it's an artform; Angie, his former babysitter and current crush who's now a screwed-up young woman with a rock band; and Florence, an elderly neighbor and wildly inaccurate psychic. When Miles discovers a giant squid beached on the flats near his home, suddenly everyone is as fascinated by the mud flats as he is, and it precipitates a whirlwind summer that will change everything for Miles.
I loved this book to pieces! I'd heard great things about it, but I approached it cautiously, as I do for all books labeled "brilliant" and "life-changing." I wouldn't quite call it "life-changing," but I did think it was brilliant. Miles is a wonderful, falliable narrator; if he was just a hint more precocious, he would be unbelievable, and if he was just a hint more average his intelligence and obsessions would seem out of place. Instead he just feels like a very intelligent kid who is nonetheless a thirteen-year-old boy.
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"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."
by Jill Owens
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 Publishers Weekly,
"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.)
by Kirkus Reviews,
"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."
by Library Journal,
"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."
"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
"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
"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
While the sea continues to offer him discoveries from its mysterious depths, such as a giant squid, a teenaged boy struggles to deal with the difficulties that come with the equally mysterious process of growing up.
"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
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 gawky 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, In this beguiling novel, we witness dramatic changes for both Miles and the coastline that he adores over the course of one unforgettable summer.
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