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8 Reviews
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4 star:
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a young adult novel--a book for everyone, March 1, 2005
This review is from: Wave Watcher (Paperback)
I was one of the first readers of this novel as Johnson was developing it, and have used it several times in the creative writing classes I teach. I have been teaching for twenty years. I tell my students before they read it that this will be one of the best stories they have ever read, ever will read. They usually respond with something like, "You're just saying that because it's Mr. Johnson." Then they read the book. And they are changed. For Johnson's novel awakens us to what is family, what is love, what is survival. Johnson's novel awakens us to life, so that we walk away from it more appreciative of what it has to offer, what its possibilities are.

This is a story for every reader -- boy or girl, man or woman.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, April 22, 2005
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This review is from: Wave Watcher (Paperback)
A heartwarming tale of love and appreciation for the simple things in life that most of us take for granted. You'll fall in love with the characters in this book. Definitely, a page turner!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful story on the power of redemption, hope, and love, July 4, 2008
By 
Amit Garg (Menlo Park, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wave Watcher (Paperback)
How can I do justice to this book? I was saddened, redeemed, my soul touched. Ray reminded me of Scout from "Killing a Mockingbird" in his maturity and in how he cuts across deeper and deeper layers of human experience and emotion.

Like every single review so far here, I strongly endorse this novel with 5 stars. For me it was especially moving because I have known the author (Craig Johnson) as my teacher in high school, who taught me many things including the power of ideas and thoughts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mayra Calvani - The Compulsive Reader, December 3, 2006
This review is from: Wave Watcher (Paperback)
Wave Watcher is a beautifully written first novel about a thoughtful, sensitive young teenager who one night decides to write the "story of his life," as well as the tragic event which has been haunting him and keeping him awake at night for the past year. Under one hundred and fifty pages, this is one of those little gems which, under the author's gifted pen, manages to accomplish so much in so little space.

It is through this young narrator, Ray, that we listen to the story. "I have difficulty sleeping at night. Everybody thinks it's because I have bad dreams, but it's not. Little do they know, I don't even get far enough towards sleep to dream," Ray writes in his journal in the simple yet lucid, sparkling language which characterizes the book. "I wish I did, but I can't. My mind is too full of thoughts, thoughts that are just bits and pieces of so many things that I have seen or read or done. I relive them all over again, with more life, when the lights go out. Actually I relieve them larger than life when it's dark. I think the darkness makes them faster and deeper, colder and definitely clearer than they were with the lights on."

In this honest, fresh prose, Ray tells about his family, his childhood, and how he came to live in a house by the beach in Brazil. He tells about his special relationship with his little brother Louie, who was born with an enlarged heart and only one lung. His past and that of his parents are no ordinary ones, and his tale includes places as far as India, where his father lived for many years. But most importantly, his father is a writer; this has a great impact on Ray, who is also talented with words. The special relationships between Ray and Louie, and Ray and his father are the core of this book.

An intelligent young "man," Ray spends long hours watching the waves and finding a pattern--a strong metaphor in this book. "Nothing can stop a wave from breaking," he writes. "It's like a wick in a candle. The wave will break, just as the wick will burn." He later adds, "Respect the consistency, respect the pattern, respect the truth."

The reader will come across many lovely images and philosophical, sometimes poetic passages about waves, such as "Like your heartbeat, so are the waves. At times they are faster and harder and much more exciting, like when the sun hides behind dark and heavy clouds or when the hills let the winds blow through to lift the waves higher. And when the nights are bright, when the sky is crowded with stars and the trees are still, the waves are slow and drowsy, as quiet as an arm of driftwood lying in a shallow pool upon a tranquil beach, as soft as the sight of a gliding gull in the light of the rising sun." The serene, contemplative, almost healing tone exemplified in this passage permeates most of the book.

It is not until the end that Ray finally recounts the devastating event that changed his life one year ago, and which impelled him to write this journal overnight. The ending is sure to have an emotional impact on most readers.

Author Craig Alan Johnson has done such an excellent job in bringing the character of Ray to life that the reader will at times forget that the author of the book is other than this young teenager. The narrator's voice shines with innocence, insight, a delicate touch of humor, and an awe and respect for the mystery of life. It is an eclectic read, rich with metaphors, and quotes and allusions from such works as To Kill A Mockingbird, Hamlet, Of Mice and Men, Huckleberry Finn, and A River Runs Through It.

The only negative aspect of this book is it's cover. I urge the reader not to be put off by its cover. It simply doesn't do justice to this beautiful book. There is a reason for this cover, one the reader will understand as soon as he begins reading, but a better cover would have attracted those browsers at a store who have no idea of the reason for it.

A touching, healing book about the special love between father and son and between brothers, Wave Watcher comes highly recommended from this reviewer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wave Watcher is a love letter, August 23, 2005
This review is from: Wave Watcher (Paperback)
Wave Watcher is not only a moving book, but a love letter to all families. The language is simple enough to appeal to almost any age, yet the story is complex enough so that you can find new elements in it every time you read it again.

Wave Watcher can make you cry, laugh, think and remember. Johnson does not weave a story, but braids it with such skill that you'll want to read the book from the first page to the last without stopping.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wave Watcher by Craig Alan Johnson a journey that inspires., October 20, 2013
By 
Sean Rayshel (Palm Springs, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wave Watcher (Paperback)
Craig Alan Johnson's first novel 'Wave Watcher' takes the reader on an unexpected life journey as seen through the eyes of a twelve year old named Ray. 'Wave Watcher' is targeted towards a young-adult audience, and offers a beautiful example of accepting differences as illustrated by Ray's bond with his accident-proned "Special Needs" brother Louie , as well as a positive example of a loving family dynamic that runs through the novel. Ray's life journey ultimately teaches the reader to appreciate your loved ones and to value every moment that you have with them.

While I find the themes of acceptance and family unity desperately needed for today's youth, I am still not sure the other "heavy" themes of death and dying will be attractive to the audience (how does one present these themes in an attractive manner to youth?). My other concern is that this novel will only resonate with a small percentage of youth, those mainly from a Baha'i background, and Baha'i youth from a Pioneering background in particular. I do applaud Craig Alan Johnson for writing a novel targeted towards a young-adult audience (be it Baha'i or otherwise), they deserve novels that offer positive virtues with an optimistic outlook on living our life to the fullest.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Baha’i Publishing Trust through its Bloggers Network book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” [...]
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST Read, September 25, 2012
This review is from: Wave Watcher (Paperback)
Wave Watcher is a Must read for young adults as well as adult readers! It is a touching and moving story that will have you laughing, crying and you will not be able to put it down. Craig Johnson's first novel should be made into a movie and I look forward to his next.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing style and a moving read, June 25, 2005
This review is from: Wave Watcher (Paperback)
One of the most emotionally moving stories of the year, Craig Johnson reaches into the deepest part of your soul and touches the things that really matter in life. This is the story of a family that draws you in and beckons you to become a part of it while making you feel it is somewhere where you belong. This story will help you remember what it means to be a child and see the world through a child's eyes. Be prepared for a spiritually refreshing read. Wave Watcher is highly recommended.
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Wave Watcher
Wave Watcher by Craig Alan Johnson (Paperback - Jan. 2005)
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