Review – Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

Publisher: Samhain
Publish Date: April 7, 2015
Reviewed by: Heller
Where did you get this book: E-Arc from Publisher

23110300 (1)Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.

As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.

Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues

I really wasn’t sure when I started this read if it was going to be something that I was going to enjoy. I felt with it being both New Adult and one that focused on both autism and mental illness I would have a hard time connecting with the characters and their struggles but I couldn’t have been more wrong. This story just hit me on several levels. Educationally I learned so much about both what it is to have autism and what it’s like to deal with anxiety and depression. This wasn’t done in clinical way but a emotional and loving way that was realistic. There are no quick fixes here and I think that’s what really drew me in because I think I was worried we’d see a magical wand moment, we don’t and that really elevates this story for me from a good read to a stellar one. Emotionally reading about Jeremey’s everyday struggles with his illness was very difficult. Ironically it had me wishing for a magical wand moment to ease his pain but seeing him and Emmet as well both succeed and fail and succeed again was tremendously satisfying.

The build up of the relationship between Jeremey and Emmet was one of the things that I really loved about this story. These young men work hard to understand each other and actively be good influences on each others lives. They build a strong loving relationship and I’m curious to see if book two will continue to follow them or if it will expand on the other residents of the Roosevelt. David’s story is waiting to be told and the friendship that the three of them built is another part of this read that worked so well.

I loved this story and I loved the characters from the MC’s to the secondary ones and every and all in between. This was ugly and real but not grim. It’s hopeful with a hint of sexy and fun thrown in on the side. I can’t recommend it enough.

I’m giving Carry the Ocean an A+

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