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Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes

Olive's Ocean (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Kevin Henkes

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,7531097,958 (3.78)21
On a summer visit to her grandmother's cottage by the ocean, twelve-year-old Martha gains perspective on the death of a classmate, on her relationship with her grandmother, on her feelings for an older boy, and on her plans to be a writer.
Title:Olive's Ocean
Authors:Kevin Henkes
Info:New York : Greenwillow Books, c2003.
Collections:Your library
Tags:Category: Fiction, Country: USA, Reason: Offensive Language, Reason: Sexual Content, Source: ALA 10 Most Challenged 2007, Time Period: 2000s, *Challenged Books

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Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes (2003)


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Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
Martha didn't know Olive, but her classmate died in an accident and Olive's mother brought Martha a page from her daughter's journal, in which she described Martha as nice, someone she wanted for a friend, and dreamed of seeing the ocean. Martha and her family are about to go to the ocean themselves, to visit with her grandmother, Godbee, and while she's there, she thinks about who she wants to be.

This is the sort of quiet book that is very hard to pin down what it's actually about - the summer Martha's twelve has all sorts of experiences for her as she finds her place in the world. Her family is realistic, with Martha and her mother sometimes having their tiffs, Martha and Godbee sharing secrets, and toddler Lucy being, well, a toddler. Chapters are very short, only a couple of pages each, and keep the story moving quickly. Recommended for fans of The Penderwicks. ( )
  bell7 | Dec 24, 2021 |
The author and story originate in Madison, Wisconsin. A 12-year-old girl, after the death of a classmate, seeks more information about both their lives.
  BLTSbraille | Sep 23, 2021 |
Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes is a deep book with lots to contemplate. Martha is a thinker and she analyzes what is going on around her. She is someone on the cusp of moving from childhood to the teenage years, and her experiences and thoughts reflect her age. I think this book would be especially helpful for kids who have lost a classmate or kids who are on the brink of becoming teenagers themselves. I found the story to be touching and eye-opening. Martha is going through the same thought process that other kids like her are going through, and it's helpful for kids to know that they aren’t alone in their thoughts about their first crush, betrayals, and new grown-up worries. I especially liked how the beach was a backdrop for Martha. Through her experiences there she grew and reflected on her life. I always find that the beach helps me to think and clear my head, so I felt it was easy to relate to Martha. The book has some sadness, but through the story we are reminded that, although life has its ups and downs, it's important to appreciate each other, our differences, and to follow our heart. We can’t lose sight of what it important. I would recommend this book to kids in fourth grade through middle school because of the insights that Martha has and what she is going through. Also, although it didn’t bother me because I found it fit Martha’s emotions, there were a couple instances of mild bad language throughout the book (but it does go along with Martha’s up and down feelings throughout the book). It is a story that settled over me and wormed its way into my mind. I liked the slow way it made me think about life and to appreciate each day.
( )
  Robinsonstef | Jul 10, 2019 |
“Her life was a measly mess that could be contained in a closed fist. But her sadness could not be contained, and so she cried and cried.”

Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes (217 pages),/b> is about a twelve-year-old, redhead girl named Martha. A girl who went to her school, Olive, gets killed by a car. To Martha’s surprise, she finds out from Olive’s journal that the girl wanted to be her friend. This news confuses Martha, and she finds her thoughts consumed with Olive. Martha spends the rest of her summer vacation at her paternal grandmother’s house, thinking about death and her family.

What I like about this book is the writing. Everything Henkes seems to write in Martha’s narrative is poetic.

I also like romance a lot, even if it’s just sprinkled throughout a book. Innocent preteen romances are always fun to read because they are pure and awkward. Awkward and pure. It’s before the broken marriage, the cheating scandal, or the nasty dm (direct message). Preteen romances remind people of much simpler times, and I’m no exception to that. It’s adorable that Martha’s clueless about boys.

I can’t say that there was anything I disliked about this book. If I had to be nitpicky, the book could be considered anticlimactic throughout because the story reads like a kid’s normal day.


There’s nothing startlingly interesting about Martha. She’s just a normal kid, but I like that. Martha’s like thousands of kids anyone might know in real life, curious and thoughtful.

Godbee, the grandmother, is wise and just a little bit feisty. She reminds me of the God-like characters played by Morgan Freeman. I like the conversations Martha and Godbee have the most.

I wish I could have seen a bit more of the Manning boys, Tate in particular. Still, their presence was just enough so I did not forget about them.

This was a good read, nothing too obscene (there is a minor reference to Morning Sex), and the perfect length. If you want a book for a lazy afternoon then this book is for you!
( )
  DestDest | Dec 31, 2018 |
Book about a young girl navigating through life after her classmates passes away.
  chn3 | Aug 13, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
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On a summer visit to her grandmother's cottage by the ocean, twelve-year-old Martha gains perspective on the death of a classmate, on her relationship with her grandmother, on her feelings for an older boy, and on her plans to be a writer.

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Book description
The book centers around Martha Boyle who gains perspective after a classmate, Olive, dies in a tragic accident. The two girls had many parallels in life, and could have been friends, but were not. The book follows Martha's many reflections and revelations about life and her path as she vacations at her family's beach house and begins a relationship with an unlikely neighbor boy.
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Average: (3.78)
1 7
1.5 3
2 14
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3 88
3.5 21
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