Ocean of Secrets/Sea Change
July 5th 2012
Many are drawn to Selkie Island.
Few know why.
When Miranda Merchant escapes her lonely, hot summer in New York City, little does she know what awaits her. She steps off the ferry on to an island rife with legend and lore.
She isn't expecting to feel a connection to this unusual place. And when she meets Leo, a mysterious local boy, she finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship, reality . . . and love.
But is Leo hiding something she never could have imagined?
Ocean of Secrets was a different book to what I thought it would be, less of an outright paranormal romance and more of a, well, normal romance. There are hints the whole way through that maybe Selkie Island and Leo are not all that they seem, but nothing is ever proved which I kind of liked.
Miranda was refreshing for me as a heroine because she is a pure scientist at heart and it kind of saddens me that there aren't as many science geeks in YA. It gave a new perspective on the whole 'I think my love interest is a merman/vampire/werewolf ect' situation because she has a more scientific mind and doesn't want to belief in this stuff without solid evidence (though, to be fair, I think most people would want that before they started to believe in this stuff, unless you're Luna Lovegood.) Plus, I also really liked the way that the situation with the other sort of rich, Selkie Island Heirs as they call themselves, was handled. It could have so easily been passed off that the three girls who she was sort of put together with were all horrible people or whatever as they almost always seem to be, but they weren't, and I liked the fact that they and Miranda were just different kinds of people, and that that didn't make them bad, and that they were still friends.
The romance between Miranda and Leo was sweet, too, and it didn't really ramp up to the sort of intensity, I guess, that I expected of a book of this genre. They hit a few bumps along the road, of course, as Leo was a local from Fisherman's Village which is sort of a no-go for the Heirs that only go to Selkie on holidays, and also Miranda felt uncomfortable with the speed by which their relationship was going at on point, as well as the fact that she was only there on holiday, and it would probably be a long time before they could see each other again, if they ever did, so it wasn't just the whole 'I think he might be a merman' situation.
Also, what I really liked about Ocean of Secrets was the relationship between Miranda and her mother. It was a fairly complex one, and it's always nice to have a parents presence in a YA book, even if it is a cause of problems. Miranda and her mum had always been close, but her mum starts to change when she goes back to Selkie and reconnects with her old friends from the island. She starts to become the sort of Southern Belle Debutant person that Miranda has never known her mother to be, and also starts to interfere more in Miranda's life in the way that parents seem to do and that kind of pisses Miranda off. But, again, it's kind of like just because she's different, doesn't mean that she's bad kind of thing, I guess?
Selkie Island itself was a really interesting setting and evoked the whole atmosphere of the novel, with it being all foggy and mysterious and surrounded by these myths about merfolk and sea serpents when we are first introduced to it. I just really liked the fact that it wasn't all about finding out whether all of these stories were true, just about accepting the mysterious for what it is instead of trying to puzzle it out and make it fit your preconceptions. Which was difficult for a scientist like Miranda to do, which was part of her growth as a character, I think.
Ocean of Secrets wasn't a stand out book for me, but I did enjoy the way it sort of twisted my expectations of it to be and turning out to be something else. It was just sort of a gentle book, but a good summertime read.