4.4 68
by Heidi R. Kling

Still haunted by nightmares of her mother's death, fifteen-year-old Sienna Jones reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father's relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder—something Sienna knows a lot about. Since her mother's plane went missing over the Indian Ocean three years before, Sienna doesn't do anything if it

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Still haunted by nightmares of her mother's death, fifteen-year-old Sienna Jones reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father's relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder—something Sienna knows a lot about. Since her mother's plane went missing over the Indian Ocean three years before, Sienna doesn't do anything if it involves the ocean or planes, so this trip is a big step forward.

But the last thing she expects is to fall for Deni, a brooding Indonesian boy who lives at the orphanage, and just so happens to be HOT. When Deni hears a rumor that his father may be alive, Sienna doesn't think twice about running away with him to the epicenter of the disaster. Unfortunately, what they find there could break both their hearts.

A compelling summer romance, Sea marks the arrival of a stunning new voice in YA.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In debut novelist Kling's somewhat implausible and exotic tale of summer romance, 15-year-old Sienna travels from California with her psychiatrist father and his colleagues to Indonesia to work with children orphaned by the 2004 tsunami. Sienna's mother died years earlier during a similar goodwill trip, and Sienna has yet to come to terms with her loss. She identifies with the orphans, particularly with the nightmares experienced by the handsome Deni, who has lost his family to the tsunami. To her, he is both a kindred spirit and, with his "hite T-shirt sticking to his chest, water dripping from his hair... HOT." Their unlikely dalliance--he is Muslim and there are strict rules about dating--takes her to his hometown after they sneak away from the orphanage, using her father's credit card to fund the excursion (for which there are few repercussions). While the book should appeal to fans of the teen romance genre, the parallels Sienna draws between her mother's (admittedly tragic) death and the catastrophic losses the orphans suffered in the tsunami feel uncomfortable at best. Ages 12-up. (June)
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
On her fifteenth birthday, Sienna receives an unexpected gift—an airplane ticket to Indonesia. Reluctantly, she accompanies her psychiatrist father and his international relief team as they travel to the tsunami-ravaged region where Sienna's mother was lost at sea three years earlier. Shocked by the harsh realities of the place and the traumas suffered by the children around her, Sienna finds herself drawn to the handsome Deni, a boy who leads the drum circle and commands respect and obedience from his peers. Exoticism runs rife in this well-intentioned but uneven debut novel. Primitive living conditions and simplistic renderings of differences between cultures compete for attention with the temple at Borobodur and expositions on Islam and Buddhism. Sienna seems at times a stereotypically clueless American teen: she refuses to do more than glance at the Indonesian guidebook on the long flight, and somehow fails to assimilate the critical fact that there will be no toilet paper at the pesantren, the Islamic boarding school where the orphans are housed. In contrast, images of the seascape, before and after the tsunami, are lyrical and evocative. The final revelation about the mother feels surprising and inevitable, as we see in it shades of Sienna's own impulsiveness. The novel works best as light romantic fare, with Sienna's character growing into new realizations through her relationship with Deni. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
VOYA - Angie Hammond
Kling captures the innocence and heartbreak of first romance superbly in this tender love story. Ever since losing her mother to a plane crash three years ago, Sienna has been hiding from herself and from her friends. On her fifteenth birthday, her father surprises her with plane tickets to join his relief medical team headed for tsunami-wracked Indonesia. Battling her fear, Sienna agrees to go. While there she finds not only healing for her soul but love, in the form of Deni, a beautiful Indo boy who has lost even more than she has. Facing one of the most painful moments of her young life, she must come to terms with giving Deni back to his fiance, whom he had imagined lost in the ocean. Returning home, Sienna finds that sometimes losing something can actually be a step toward finding your own true path. This page turner is evokes the harshness of disaster as well as the beauty of the young soul. The emotions of most of the characters are implicitly portrayed, and some cultural differences are superficially presented. Religion is touched on briefly, but only to emphasize the importance of tolerance. Sure to be a hit with romance readers, this book is perfect to present as a summer beach read. Reviewer: Angie Hammond
VOYA - Bethany Jones
Sea, by Heidi R. Kling, is a very interesting love story that follows a girl named Sienna traveling across the world to help tsunami orphans with her father. While in Indonesia, she meets a boy and things start to happen. This book is very charming and not quite as predictable as one might assume. The main character, Sienna, is somebody you really root for and get emotional for. One of the best qualities about Sea is the character development of Sienna, who the reader just cheers along with on every page. Any pre-teen or teen girl would enjoy this book; not necessarily one of their favorite books, but definitely one that any young girl would want to read. Reviewer: Bethany Jones, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Sienna is afraid—of airplanes, of the ocean, of life. She has had these fears for three years, ever since her mother's plane disappeared over the ocean while on a humanitarian aid trip in Thailand. On her 15th birthday, she gets the worst present she can imagine: a plane ticket to accompany her dad and two other doctors on a two-week trip to an Indonesian orphanage—one housing children and young adults who are survivors of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Sienna doesn't want to go, and the cultural differences and deprivations do not make her any happier once there. On her first night, during a welcoming program hosted by the orphans, she meets Deni, a 17-year-old from Aceh, the tsunami's epicenter. Their relationship develops quickly and leads to actions and decisions that are ill-considered and dangerous—both in a Muslim culture and during a state of civil unrest. Sienna loses her fears much faster than one would expect, and her return home to a friendship that is evolving into a romance, so soon after she was in love with another boy whose life was filled with tragedy, makes her seem emotionally shallow. Teens who like relationship novels will overlook these flaws, but the book is definitely an additional purchase.—Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL
Kirkus Reviews
Disaster tourism masquerading as romance. Three years after the disappearance of her mother's plane over the Indian Ocean, California girl Sienna is still barely functional. She's curtailed surfing, friendships and travel. Sienna's psychiatrist father is off to Indonesia to do relief work with tsunami orphans, and he's dragging Sienna along. He claims he needs her help, but he clearly believes in philanthropy as therapy. Once in Indonesia, Sienna is assaulted by difference: Islam, Indonesian culture, race and poverty merge in her perceptions into a sometimes-disgusting mess of exoticism. The exotic becomes appealing when she meets Deni, the super-cute orphanage bad boy. Deni calls her rambat kuning, "yellow hair," and sneaks her out of the orphanage for forbidden tours of town. If only she can help Deni-and squeeze in a few secret alleyway makeout sessions-Sienna will be happy. Convenient resolution brings healing to Sienna and family to Deni, returning each to his and her God-given lot in life. Well-meaning, but ultimately about slumming in disaster zones for a summer's recuperative fun. (Fiction. 12-14)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
HL610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Heidi R. Kling lives in Palo Alto, California.

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