{Review} Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

{Review} Carry the Ocean by Heidi CullinanCarry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan
Also by this author: Lonely Hearts
Series: The Roosevelt #1
Published by Samhain Publishing on April 7, 2015
Genres: M/M Romance
Pages: 268
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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.

Erin: Heidi Cullinan is one of my favorite authors of any genre, no question. Every word she writes is pure gold and no matter if her stories have faeries and demons or a cappella groups and drag queens, I love her and love her hard. Carry the Ocean is something really different for her though, still classic Heidi, but this one is just a little bit more. It covers a wide range of topics: autism spectrum disorder, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, prejudice, homophobia—and even more in between. Emmet and Jeremey (with 3 e’s, never 2) have to fight and fight hard to be together and forge their paths, but it’s a journey you’ll never forget. And along the way, you’ll learn about things that maybe you didn’t know before.

Carry the Ocean is about believing in yourself, believing in love, and believing that anything is possible, no matter the obstacles.

What We Loved: In a nutshell, everything. Even the hard stuff … and there IS hard stuff to get through. Given the topics addressed, that is hardly surprising, especially knowing how Heidi usually puts her readers through every emotion possible. There are plenty of light moments in Carry the Ocean, Emmet’s straightforwardness will make you laugh plenty and the Blues Brother’s impersonations are total win. Mostly, what I loved is how Heidi can take such serious topics and treat them with respect and truthfulness and make the reader understand and experience things that they might not have ever encountered before. She has a true gift for that, it’s magical the way she can immerse us into lives and characters and TEACH while she entertains. I also loved this quote from the book because well, it’s just perfect (and maybe a tiny bit sad).

my emotions feel loud and big. its hard for me to keep hold of them. they weigh me down.
make me heavy and tired and overwhelmed. sometimes I feel like everyone else is carrying a bucket of water but I’m trying to carry an ocean. its very hard. sometimes I would rather not carry my ocean, even if it meant I couldn’t be alive.

Heart. Clench. Right?

I also loved the dual POV throughout the book. Seeing both Jeremey’s and Emmet’s sides let us REALLY see both characters and gave us a much deeper insight into both. I loved the trains, life lessons via Elwood Blues, how sweet these boys are with each other, even when, or especially when the world around them is sometimes cruel. I loved their true, deep friendship as well as their romantic relationship. I loved Emmet’s dad.

Um, not so much: First and foremost, Jeremey’s mom. She’s heinous and mean. Of course, you’re not SUPPOSED to love her or even like her so kudos to Heidi for making it so easy to hate her. The thing is though, as awful as she is, there are plenty of people out there that think and act like she does which I definitely don’t love either.

The Guys:

Emmet David Washington. I’ll let Emmet describe himself because he does it so much better than I ever could.

My name is Emmet David Washington. I’m nineteen years old, and I’m a sophomore at Iowa State University studying computer science and applied physics. I got a perfect score on my ACT. I’m five feet nine inches tall with dark hair and blue-grey eyes. I enjoy puzzles and The Blues Brothers. I’m good at computers and anything to do with math. I remember almost anything I read and see. I’m gay. I love trains, pizza and the sound of rain.

I also have autism spectrum disorder.

So to sum up—Emmet is awesome. He’ll tell you so, many times as a matter of fact. He’s sweet and loving and brilliant and what he wants more than anything is Jeremey … and to be independent. He fights hard for both things and his bravery and courage will make you cry. He’s difficult at times, but he’s also real and though I don’t know anyone personally with autism, I feel like I do now. I learned so much from him, through him.

Jeremey Sansom. Oh Jeremey. He’ll break your heart. Quiet and shy, suffering so silently, so alone until Emmet storms into his life and shakes it all up. At first glance, it’ll appear as if he’s the normal one (though as you’ll see throughout the book, normal is definitely relative) but the farther along you get, the more you’ll realize how broken Jeremey truly is. It’s difficult at times to understand Jeremey, to get why he’s so down on himself and how come he just can’t “get over it” but that, I believe, is one of the main lessons of Carry the Ocean. Depression is no joke, and to the people who suffer from such a debilitating disease, life sometimes is just … hard. Jeremey is lucky to have Emmet. These two boys are SO sweet to each other and the foundation of their friendship gives them the tools to move onto boyfriends as well. Emmet forces him to see the good things in life, sometimes something as simple as watching a train go by. Jeremey’s growth in the book was very rewarding to witness.

What We Think Will Happen Next: Well, we already know this only Book One of the Roosevelt series so there is definitely more to come. Our guess (and we’re pretty sure Heidi has already mentioned this) but David’s story is next. I CAN’T WAIT for that. Not only is David straight (and at first REALLY unlikable!) but as a paraplegic it will be SO interesting to see what Heidi does with his character and where he goes. I also hope to get a peek into the lives of Jeremey and Emmet as they learn to live with one another and see how their relationship grows.

The bottom line: Everyone should read this book, even if reading M/M isn’t normally your thing. You won’t be sorry. It will teach you, inspire you, and most of all, leave with you with a sense of contentment you won’t soon forget.

There is no normal, not really. Not a right and a wrong way to be. But there is belonging.

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    Overall: 5

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