~Penny’s Rating: A ~
I completely adored this book. Wow. Really wow. It’s well done and gushy and romantic and real. This book surprised me. Okay, for regular readers of this blog, it’s no secret that I am a huge Heidi Cullinan fangirl. I am, and I totally admit it. I love her adult fiction, but I’ve viewed her ventures into new adult with a bit of trepidation, because as a reader, I no longer knew what I was going to get. They’ve been great though. I should not have been worried at all! The Love Lessons series is amazing, and Cullinan has another winner here with Carry the Ocean. Cullinan has created a different world for the Roosevelt series, and it’s definitely one worth exploring.
One thing I wasn’t expecting was to personally relate so well with the MC’s. Here’s the thing, I’ve been Jeremey and I’ve been Emmet. We all have and are to some degree or another. I’ve experienced depression, and that was the part I expected to relate to on a personal level. What I didn’t expect was how much I learned about but myself from Emmet. I am not autistic, but I score on the very high-end of normal on an autism spectrum quotient test, and I was surprised by how relatable some of Emmet’s behaviors and thought processes were to me. It was kind of a revelation for me. Making sense of myself (if that makes any sense at all), was part of the appeal of this book for me. Watching Jeremey learn to cope with his crippling anxiety and depression, watching Emmet navigate his first relationship as an autistic young man, brought me courage and strength. It taught me things about myself I wasn’t expecting to find in a new adult novel.
You will probably cry if you read this book. There are some high, highs, and some low, lows. You might also want to smack Jeremey’s, parents. Or strangle them. You will probably have Pharrell’s “Happy” stuck in your head for a bit and start randomly quoting Blues Brothers. Which will make you smile, remembering the awesomeness. Carry the Ocean is the first in the Roosevelt series, and I can’t wait for the next.
CARRY THE OCEAN Book Blurb and Links
The Roosevelt, Book 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.
Add on Goodreads
Excerpt (Different excerpt from the one below!)
Carry the Ocean on Heidi’s Website
Carry the Ocean Spotify Playlist OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! So excited for this 🙂
Carry the Ocean Excerpt: Friendship
In Carry the Ocean, Emmet Washington is determined to have Jeremey Samson as his boyfriend. Read on to see part of Emmet’s first salvo in his campaign: making friends.
“You have hunched shoulders. You’re nervous. Did I say the wrong thing?”
His question drew me out of the mire enough to blink in surprise. “What? No. I’m… sorry. I’m not good at this.”
Emmet stared at the umbrella crank. “That is not specific. The word this is a pronoun, but you gave me no antecedent. What are you not good at?”
He was so intense. I wasn’t sure what to do, or say. “I’m not good at much. I have a hard time talking to people.”
Emmet nodded. “Me too. I want to talk to people, but they don’t understand me. They get mad a lot. Or they get mean, which is worse. This is because of the autism, why I can’t understand. I can’t read faces, and people say confusing things. You said, I’m not good at this, but you didn’t tell me what this is, so I can’t understand you. I try to be clear and exact when I talk, but sometimes that’s bad. Talking with people is tricky for me. Why is it difficult for you?”
It took me a second to digest the fact that he’d spoken of his disability as casually as he might a paper cut. Plus he’d given me so much information about himself, helpful information. Intense and direct. It was, honestly, refreshing. I wondered if I could dare to be the same.
“If I say the wrong thing, I’m sorry,” Emmet said. “If you tell me what was bad, I won’t say it anymore to you.”
I made myself look at his face while I answered. “It’s okay. I’m trying to find my answer is all. That’s one of the reasons it’s hard for me to talk to people. I worry about saying the wrong thing, and sometimes it means I can’t say anything. It takes me a long time to give an answer to a question.”
Emmet brightened. “This is why we can be good friends. If you say the wrong thing to me, I’ll tell you. Then you can stop, and it will all be fine.” He rocked in his chair, clearly a subconscious gesture. “Thank you for telling me how sometimes it takes time for you to answer. I will try to wait. You’ll have to tell me if I’m not being patient enough.”
He made it sound so easy. “I wouldn’t want to upset you, though, even by accident.”
“Accidents happen. Even if we all stick to a schedule, the world is unpredictable. Sometimes I’m late to an appointment because of traffic. Sometimes the power goes out because of a storm or the weather closes the roads. It upsets me, but I can’t let it ruin my life. If you said the wrong thing and upset me, I would tell you, and then you would stop, and it wouldn’t matter that you had said something wrong. We’re friends. Friends forgive each other.” He started rocking, then stopped. “Does it bother you when I rock? It bothers people sometimes, but it calms me down.”
“I don’t mind.” I watched him begin to rock slightly in his seat. “Are you nervous, though?”
“Yes, and I don’t know why, which makes me more nervous. But I don’t want to end our date. So I’m calming myself down.”
The more I sat with Emmet, the more fascinated I was. Basically he kept saying out loud what I was feeling, except where I scolded myself and felt awkward, he…rocked. Or reached for some kind of pragmatism I could barely dream of.
I didn’t want this date to end either. Though that gave me pause, that he called it a date.
Obviously he didn’t mean date.
Except, maybe he did.
Giveaway!! The Carry the Ocean Book Tour Grand Prize
Click here to enter the grand prize drawing, which according to Heidi, is going to be the best she’s ever had. The grand prize this time is a signed copy of Carry the Ocean in paperback, a Blu-ray of The Blues Brothers, an Iowa State magnet, and Carry the Ocean scrapbook art.