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2 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Highest Tide


The Highest Tide Cover


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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.
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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.
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(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.
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(16 of 32 readers found this comment helpful)
leb1231, April 4, 2007 (view all comments by leb1231)
This book's got me writing my beau mashnotes covered in entanged squid staring longingly into the other's eye.

Miles O'Malley is a nice kid -- a good kid and a smart kid. He takes shockingly good care of the decrepit old lady who lives on the beach, and he's got a reverent, encyclopedic understanding of the aquatic ecosystem at his doorstep. Of course, all of his kindness and intelligence can't save him from or prepare him for the chaos of adolescence; I finished this book in less than 24 hours because he's sympathetic and charming as he struggles to understand & cope with divorce, dying, and the bizarre deep-sea wildlife that keeps washing up in the bay.

I love coming-of-age novels, and this one hit the spot; the powerful juxtaposition of the mysteries of the ocean and the mysteries of adolescence has left me in greater awe of both. I closed this book with a wistful smile on the my face & some Rachel Carson on my reading list.
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(24 of 36 readers found this comment helpful)
carmen, March 22, 2007 (view all comments by carmen)
I stumbled across this book on this website as a recommendation from another book I was looking up - (you know, the 'you might also like...'). The recommendation was correct! Although I cheated a bit and listened to this book on disc during a road trip, it is a fabulous tale of this young man finding himself through something he loves to do. It has great characters and wonderful descriptions of the Sound.
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(6 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Lynch, Jim
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Teenage boys
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
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
$5.95 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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