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Drawing the Ocean Hardcover – October 3, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596430923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596430921
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,276,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Since her family's move to the East Coast from California, Sadie has tried to fit in and have everyone think she's normal, which is something that outcast Fryin' Ryan of the weird T-shirts is definitely not buying. Ollie, Sadie's twin brother who died four years earlier, keeps appearing, and it's so hard not to talk to him. Sketching and drawing are her real love, but Sadie does well in academics too, using her competence to make friends with Lila, who sets the guidelines for cool at Pioneer High. Good-looking football star Travis seems to be paying attention, and Sadie is sure that if she can just keep her act together she'll have it all. Characters of every age come to life with vivid descriptions and dialogue that make this spare mood piece work. The pain of the parents who want to overprotect their last child, the friendly principal, Lila's mother's cryptic style that never masks her suffering, the sleazy coach who teaches driver's ed, and even deadpan Lila's uncharacteristic emotional outburst all fuel the fugue that is Sadie's gradual connection to what truly matters to her.—Carol A. Edwards, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

MacCullough's third novel is narrated by 16-year-old Sadie, a painter who has drawn the ocean every day since her twin, Ollie, was hit by a car four years earlier. The family never discusses Ollie's death, but he is not wholly dead to Sadie. He still visits and chats with her, although it's more a haunting than a relationship. Sadie has just moved to a new school, and after meeting the popular and daring Lila, she quickly gets drawn into the popular crowd with all its advantages: the parties, the beer, the pot, and the affection of the hot football player with the metaphorically resonant name Travis Hartshorn. But two things keep her from happiness: the painful memory of Ollie's death, and the briefcase-carrying, poetry-writing loner known in school as Fryin' Ryan. Ryan is a loser par excellence, but Sadie finds him absolutely fascinating. There are some overwrought passages here, but Sadie's narrative voice is absolutely authentic, and the story of her quirky, endearing relationship with Ryan is memorably poignant. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Carolyn MacCullough was born and raised in Connecticut and found her way to Scotland, Sicily, Iceland, and even the wilds of New Jersey before settling down in New York City where she writes and teaches creative writing. Once a Witch is her fourth novel for teens. For facts about witches, quizzes, an excerpt, and much more visit www.onceawitch.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Miss Print VINE VOICE on November 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Drawing the Ocean is Carolyn MacCullough's third novel. Like her others it is geared toward a teen audience. But, like most of the books I review here, I can argue confidently that the writing has enough depth to entertain even snobs who refuse to pick up a YA or Children's novel under any circumstances.On to the actual review:

After moving to a new town with her parents, Sadie is desperate to fit in. Even if certain aspects of her personality seem determined to keep Sadie from calling herself normal with any degree of honesty.

Sixteen-year-old Sadie is a gifted painter. She spends part of every day at the beach, trying to draw the ocean for her twin brother, Ollie. Sometimes Ollie will pop up to keep her company and offer advice. The problem: Ollie died four years ago.

Soon enough, Sadie makes friends Lila, a girl with her own problems to deal with. She also catches the eye of Travis Hartshorn, the popular boy everyone loves. But, in midst of all this, Sadie continually finds herself reaching out to a loner known to the rest of the school as Fryin' Ryan, begging the question is being normal more important than being a friend?

At its core, Drawing the Ocean is a story about choices. About how certain choices can change everything in an instant. And how the right choice isn't always the easy one. MacCullough writes about all of these dilemmas masterfully. In addition, she also tackles the issue of dealing with a death in the family. As the story progresses, she shows how Sadie and her family are trying to move on. This becomes an underlying theme throughout the rest of the novel.

MacCullough manages to creates a compelling story without making it melodramatic. In fact, the prose is surprisingly understated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on June 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed reading this wonderful book.

DRAWING THE OCEAN is the story of Sadie, a high school student, whose family moves from California to the East Coast. Sadie is an artist who loves to draw the ocean, hence the title of the book. It is almost a spiritual thing for her.

She is very nervous about starting a new high school. You know, she is worried about being behind in her studies and having last month's hair. She should be nervous, though, because she keeps seeing and conversing with a ghost.

It is the ghost of her twin brother who had been killed four years earlier in a car accident. Sadie blames herself, and the subject of her brother is a forbidden one in her family. She meets a strange young man while drawing on the beach and later finds out that he is the outcast at the high school with the name "Frying Ryan." She also draws the eye of the hot football star, Travis.

Soon Sadie has a choice to make about who she wants to be. She can recreate herself, but does she want to be cool or kind?

This is a short story with a lot of emotional punch. I strongly recommend this book!

Reviewed by: Marta Morrison
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Carolyn MacCullough's DRAWING THE OCEAN tells of Sadie, a gifted young painter trying to fit in at a new school, but who instead catches the eye of the school loner - as well as the school dreamboat. Which can help her achieve her dreams - and why does her dead twin brother keep appearing in her life? A haunting story on many fronts emerges.
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Format: Hardcover
Sadie, a 16-year-old girl in a new town, has lost her twin brother due to an auto accident four years prior. Their father takes a job transfer from California to Boston, uprooting the family. Sadie is alone and scared, but her brother is still lingering. Because the loss of the child was so tragic for both parents, no one ever discussed their feelings about losing a child. Sadie and her parents all try to lead their own lives as best they can, never broaching the subject of death or losing Ollie.

When Sadie finds herself in an area where no one knows her, she tries very hard to be "normal" or to fit in with the A-crowd. Along the way, she makes friends with the cool group of girls and finds herself strangely attracted to the one guy in school who marches to the beat of a different drummer. Sadie has to deal with fitting in, keeping promises made to her brother and her attraction for the guy no one wants to be friends with.

Overall, the story is well written but it took until the end of the book to find out why the obsession with drawing the ocean and and why Sadie was constantly sitting on the beach trying to capture the colors of the ocean.

I didn't like how Sadie's brother appeared at the most appropriate or inappropriate times (in Sadie's mind) to help her through her dilemmas, although the ending was sad and brought me to tears. There are many sad moments in Sadie's life but they are balanced with the happy ones.

Armchair Interview says: A nice young adult about good days and bad days--and very bad days.
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