This kind of a fun topic. I get to talk about a book I hated. There’s actually not many books I hate. When I read, I can usually find at least one redeeming feature. However, there’s a few books that I just can’t stand. The one I’ll be talking about today is called Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes.
I read this book a long time ago, way back in 2005. My library had it as a part of a collection of books that students would vote on to win the Bluebonnet Award. It’s about a girl named Martha whose classmate, Olive, dies. Olive’s mom gives Martha a journal entry that talks about how much Olive looked up to Martha. This makes Martha feel bad because she basically ignored Olive. Then Martha’s family goes on vacation to the ocean, where various things such as family fights and adventuring with the neighbor boys happen. Martha brings back a bottle of ocean to give to Olive’s mom, because apparently it was always Olive’s dream to see the ocean. However, Olive’s mom has moved. So she leaves the bottle of seawater on the doorstep and then forgets about Olive.
I really disliked this book. Nothing happened at all. There was no plot, no purpose. Martha, the main character, was infuriatingly selfish. I really don’t know how this book won the Newberry Honor. Maybe my memory is skewed since it’s been so long since I’ve read it, but still. I read some other really excellent books during that competition and this was just not one of them.