Book Review – Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew

only the oceanThe two girls sat at opposite ends of the boat and Kel dug and stretched the oars into the ocean like her life depended upon it because it did.

‘Just so you know,’ said Rose, ‘everything, I mean everything, is your fault.’

15-year-old Kel Crow lives in a water-logged world, with a family with whom she shares nothing but blood and a heart defect that she knows could kill her any day.

She has a plan to escape, and it’s a good one: stowaway on the ship, kidnap the girl, swap the girl to buy passage to America and a life-saving operation. But plans never go how they’re meant to

Breath-takingly fierce, smart and tender, Only the Ocean is a story of innocence (and its loss), survival, and courage in the midst of darkness.


My rating: Cyan-Full starCyan-Full starNo-StarNo-StarNo-Star

I struggled with Only the Ocean, the prose style just isn’t for me. And while I liked Kel as a main character in places, she’s not always terribly sympathetic. And the awful things that made up her life before the story starts aren’t really dealt with, and I think they should have been.

Rose is easier, but you don’t really learn much about her. Or the world in which the book is set. Really, that’s my biggest issue. What is going on around them? We get no context at all! It’s so frustrating.

The writing can be very pretty, and I do like the relationship that grows between Rose and Kel, but I think the cook could have benefited from fewer “style” choices and from being slightly longer so we could get some of that context.


Buy Only the Ocean from Amazon UK (affiliate link)

5 thoughts on “Book Review – Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew

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