Saturday, February 27, 2010

Girl At Sea by Maureen Johnson

Book Review #21
Girl At Sea by Maureen Johnson
Rating: Four stars (refer to rating system on the right) 

Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

Sometimes you have to get lost. 

The Girl: Clio, seventeen, wants to spend the summer smooching her art-store crush, not stuck on a boat in the Mediterranean. At least she'll get a killer tan. 

The Mission: Survive her father's annoying antics. Oh, also find some underwater treasure that could be the missing link to a long-lost civilization. 

The Crew: Dad's absentminded best friend Martin, his scary girlfriend Julia, her voluptuous daughter Elsa . . . and then there's Aidan, Julia's incredibly attractive, incredibly arrogant research assistant. 

What's going on behind Aidan's intellectual, intensely green eyes, anyway? 

As Clio sails into uncharted territory she unveils secrets that have the power to change history. But her most surprising discovery is that there's something deeper and more mysterious than the sea—her own heart. 

I'm almost exhausted from the crazy choppy journey I took along with Clio filled with mystery, adventure, humor, and of course romance. It took me some time to finally get into Girl At Sea, but once I did I sure wasn't disappointed. Aside from the usual teenage drama, there is an actual mystery throughout the book.The boat and crew actually have a mission, that you don't find out about just yet. Every few chapters, there are random peeks of the history of the mission. The need and desire to discover what this mission actually is will keep you on edge. Girl At Sea is a one of kind book that definitely left me wanting more.

Clio's parents are divorced, and she lives with her mother. Girl At Sea starts with Clio being forced to spend her vacation with her dad sailing on a yacht in Italy. She has a dream summer vacation all planned out. She got a job at the art store with her handsome co-worker Ollie, who is mentioned a bit too much throughout the book. Clio definitely not looking forward to spending time with her dad stuck on some boat especially since her dad is known to be unpredictable and frankly irresponsible.To her surprise she won't be spending her summer with just her father, but a crew made up of four other people. Julia- her dad's new girlfriend , Elsa- her daughter, Martin-her dad's best friend, and Aidan-Julie's assistant (who is kind of cute) become shipmates for the summer and maybe even more. 

I loved all the characters in this book. They were all very well developed and definitely realistic. I loved the crew who set aboard the Sea Butterfly. At first, no one really got along. Clio obviously didn't like Julia, the girlfriend she had never meant. She didn't really no what to think of Elsa either. Then there's Aidan who comes across as arrogant and annoying. The only person she didn't have a problem with was Martin, who was an almost better "father" to her than her dad was. In the end, Clio never expects to make a lifetime best friend and maybe possibly a boyfriend? Aside from the crew members, Clio was a very likable main character. I liked that she actually had talent and didn't let the little fact that she's seventeen and never been kissed overtake her life. One could easily relate to her motivates, desires, and weaknesses. 

The setting of Girl At Sea is what made it so different. Most of the books takes place on a big beautiful yacht that is sailing across the Mediterranean Sea. You would be surprised at how much action and drama can take place on a yacht. Some of the scenes were so powerful and vibrant that I can still picture them in my mind right now. I loved all the wacky things that happened along the ride. Without giving anything away, I have to say there were painful jellyfish involved, diving, and even attacks involved.  

There were a few tiny things that I didn't love so much about this book. First off, the beginning of the book was sort of slow. I feel like all of the major events happened near the end of the book. I wish the mystery of why they were actually on the yacht was revealed sooner. Then there was Ollie, who was constantly mentioned- Clio was kind of obsessed with him when she barely even knew him. Thank goodness Clio eventually realized that it was crazy to obsesses about someone who she wasn't even in a relationship with. The last thing, that I just wasn't used was the fact that the book was in third person. By the end, I did get used to it, but it took some time.  

Despite the minor negative sides of the book, it was definitely worth the read. I loved the ending, it was full of twists and turns. Overall, it was really nice to escape the winter blues to take a trip along with Clio and her crazy shipmates. If your looking for a book filled with just about everything, pick this one up. I'll be looking out for more of Maureen Johnson's books.


Christina T said...

This does sound like an enjoyable book. I've always wanted to go to Italy (but I probably wouldn't want to be on a yacht because I'd get sick).

Your review is fantastic. If you haven't read 13 Little Blue Envelopes yet, you might want to try it. That one also involves travel and I think you'd enjoy it.

Stephanie said...

You write fantastic reviews. They are detailed enough to give me a clear sense of what the book is like, but there are no spoilers.:-)

Girl at Sea sounds like something I'd enjoy. I love strong character-driven novels, and you couldn't ask for a more beautiful setting. :-)

Jami said...

This one sounds interesting. Being Italian, I have always wantedd to go to Italy. Someday *sigh*. Great review Sara. :)

Serpentine Librarian said...

Great review! I agree with Christina T, if you haven't read 13 Little Blue Envelopes also by Maureen Johnson you should definitely pick it up. This sounds like a fun book, reading about sailing around the Medditeranean on yacht sounds really good, especially on cold snowy days.

Melissa said...

Great review...I struggle with books that start off slowly, but this one sounds good :)

Jan von Harz said...

Fantastic review. I tend to be like you as far as books that are slow starting. I really find myself pushing to move forward. Sometimes I am rewarded and other time sorry I wasted my time. This one sounds like a good book to read while on vacation. Thanks for sharing.

Emidy said...

This sounds great! It's too bad that it was slow at the beginning, but it was obviously worth it! I enjoyed reading your review.

Une Parole

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sara. I have a blog award waiting for you on my blog.

Jessica said...

I love Maureen Johnson, and I'm on a mission to read all of her books. I haven't read this one yet, but it sounds good. :-)

The Library Lurker said...

Great review! When I read it I thought that everything happened at the end too. It was strange, but not completely bad. I really like Maureen Johnson, and this book was good.

Krista/Tower of Books said...

I have yet to read a Maureen Johnson book, although I own Suite Scarlett, but this book seems interesting.