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The Highest Tide (2005)

by Jim Lynch

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0754514,297 (3.76)73
A mesmerizing, allegorical, and beautifully wrought first novel about one boy's fascination with the sea during the summer that will change his life. One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley slips out of his house, packs up his kayak and goes exploring on the flats of Puget Sound. But what begins as an ordinary hunt for starfish, snails, and clams is soon transformed by an astonishing sight: a beached giant squid. As the first person to ever see a giant squid alive, the speed-reading Rachel Carson-obsessed insomniac instantly becomes a local curiosity. When he later finds a rare deepwater fish in the tidal waters by his home, and saves a dog from drowning, he is hailed as a prophet. The media hovers and everyone wants to hear what Miles has to say. But Miles is really just a teenager 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. While 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. In this mesmerizing, beautifully wrought first novel, we witness the dramatic sea change for both Miles and the coastline that he adores over the course of a summer - one that will culminate with the highest tide in fifty years.… (more)
  1. 00
    Flight by Sherman Alexie (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: If you like Pacific Northwest literature, like 'The highest tide', you may also enjoy 'Flight', which shares these qualities and is also about teenage boys.
  2. 00
    Falling from Grace by Ann Eriksson (Scrabblenut)
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» See also 73 mentions

English (41)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
This book was such a sweet break from all the heavy topics surrounding me (Racism, Covid-19, parents with Dementia) and I loved it. Miles is a young boy who absolutely lives for his daily ocean shoreline discoveries. That and his crush on his next door neighbor. And his best friend, the elderly housebound woman. He is awkward and utterly brilliant and I loved the mix of wry humor, human connections, and the beauty of tidal marshes and its strange inhabitants. As Miles makes astonishing discovery after discovery, the local news station takes note and he soon becomes a celebrity, whether he wants to be or not. It didn't hurt that the book takes place in the state next door to me, Washington. ( )
  Berly | Jul 6, 2020 |
A bit of a disappointment after Border Songs, but taking into account that this was Jim Lynch’s first novel it’s understandable that the writing wasn’t as polished. Also, I’m not a big fan of coming of age novels and this one threw in all the standards, especially the adolescent male fixation on sex trope. But the descriptions of the marine life and ecosystem of Skookumchuck Bay, where this is set, were fascinating and I got thoroughly caught up in the friendship between Miles and Florence and her prediction about the highest tide. It was easy to feel the author’s deep attachment to the northwest coastline and its sea life through Miles, the teen Rachel Carson fan whose quotes from the famous environmentalist led me to add The Sea Around Us to my TBR list. ( )
  wandaly | Dec 27, 2019 |
(Didn't these reviews used to ask: what did you learn from this book? But almost answered that question. So here's the new one, which I noticed today: What did you think? Here's what I thunk.)

After reading this delightful book, I want to walk along the shore regularly. I am nearly resolved to do so. By paying attention to the shore and what we see, we might feel as if we are witnessing a moment that matters. (pg.14, top line.) There are some utterly beautiful passages; on page 44 one begins:"The bay was as calm as a waiting bath". (Google that and up pops the paragraph.) I learned from this book to pay better attention to the shore - and to teenagers - and to the elderly.
( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
I'm not really sure why I wanted to read this. Oh well. ( )
  CarynPic | Nov 14, 2017 |
Interesting if slow story of a 13-year old boy fascinated with the bay he lives beside and the sea creatures he finds there. Anyone interested in sea life would love this book. To me it was a bit slow, with little story to keep you reading. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jim Lynchprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stevens, FisherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Denise
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I learned early on that if you tell people what you see at low tide they'll think you're exaggerating or lying when you're actually just explaining strange and wonderful things as clearly as you can.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Paru dans une autre collection sous le titre : A marée basse
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Wikipedia in English (1)

A mesmerizing, allegorical, and beautifully wrought first novel about one boy's fascination with the sea during the summer that will change his life. One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley slips out of his house, packs up his kayak and goes exploring on the flats of Puget Sound. But what begins as an ordinary hunt for starfish, snails, and clams is soon transformed by an astonishing sight: a beached giant squid. As the first person to ever see a giant squid alive, the speed-reading Rachel Carson-obsessed insomniac instantly becomes a local curiosity. When he later finds a rare deepwater fish in the tidal waters by his home, and saves a dog from drowning, he is hailed as a prophet. The media hovers and everyone wants to hear what Miles has to say. But Miles is really just a teenager 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. While 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. In this mesmerizing, beautifully wrought first novel, we witness the dramatic sea change for both Miles and the coastline that he adores over the course of a summer - one that will culminate with the highest tide in fifty years.

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Book description
When thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley discovers a rare deep-sea creature stranded in the mud of the tidal flats of Puget Sound, he finds himself thrown into the limelight, but when he continues discovering rare ocean creatures, some begin to wonder if he is an unlikely prophet.
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