Review | Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

Carry the Ocean

About the Book: 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.

The Roosevelt #1
Contemporary Romance
Samhain Publishing | April 7, 2015
amazon2 bn2

It’s like Elwood Blues says: everybody needs somebody to love.  I’m an everybody.  I get a somebody.

really like Heidi Cullinan.  I know I’ve only read 3 of her books so far, but I have loved all three of them!  Personally, I think that one of the hardest obstacles an author faces is the ability to breathe real life into a written character.  In television and movies the screenwriters come up with a character, creating the basic mannerisms and personality traits, but then they pass those details to someone else whose job it is to become the character.  An author has to make the magic all by themselves.  Heidi Cullinan makes magic.

Both Jeremey and Emmet were believable sympathetic characters.  In particular I could relate easily to Jeremey’s depression and anxiety.  The panic attacks and fear, and the paranoia that everyone is looking at you, talking about you, thinking you look stupid, is overwhelming.  I know that weakness.  I have my patterns and comfort zones.  I know which stores are ones that I feel comfortable going to.  I’ve never been as crippled by anxiety as Jeremey but it wasn’t hard to imagine how it could get that bad, especially having the parents he did.  They were without compassion for any disability, let alone the invisible ones.

Emmet was actually my favorite part of Carry the Ocean though.  It was obvious that Heidi spent a lot of time researching autism and behavior modifications.  Emmet was so honest.  It was his chapters that made me cry, but not because I was sad.  I cried because he was so amazing.  Even when he struggled he was so strong and kind.  He fought so hard to prove that he was his own kind of normal, and that it was okay.  He helped Jeremey recognize that we are all our own normal, and that we need to embrace it.

Heidi Cullinan took these two characters and gave us a slow moving, beautiful love story.  There wasn’t any angst, no 3rd party forces trying to destroy them (other than Jeremey’s mother).  It was a story of two young men who struggled with their own disabilities but found true happiness in each other.  They were best friends first, and then they were more.  It was beautiful.

I’m so sad that I read Carry the Ocean as fast as I did.  I wish I could have paced myself more, stretched it out longer than just two days.  Unfortunately I wasn’t in control.  The book had it’s claws deep inside me; all I could do was hold on tight as it took me on a ride.

Goodreads says this is a series, and that there will be future books that take place in The Roosevelt.  I’m thrilled!  I’m also so thankful Heidi Cullinan has a large backlog of books for me to discover while I wait, and seeing as I’m 3 for 3 I’m pretty confident the my odds are good and I’ll like a lot more of them!

I am normal.  I belong.  I have a friend who can kick ass from a wheelchair.  I live independently and get good grades.  I’m an excellent lover.
Like I said.  I’m awesome.  I’m Emmet David Washington.  Train Man.  The best autistic Blues Brother on the block.


About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

6 Responses

  1. Wow. Just WOW! This is the best review of yours I’ve ever read. You are so articulate. I can easily see how you fell in love with Emmet (and the rest of this book). You mentioned Cullinan’s research — do you think she does an accurate job portraying both autism and clinical depression?


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