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Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson

(I'm not really a big fan of the cover)


Sometimes you have to get lost.

The Girl: Clio, seventeen, wants to spend the summer smooching her art-store crush, not stuck on a boat in the Mediterranean. At least she'll get a killer tan.

The Mission: Survive her father's annoying antics. Oh, also find some underwater treasure that could be the missing link to a long-lost civilization.

The Crew: Dad's absentminded best friend Martin, his scary girlfriend Julia, her voluptuous daughter Elsa . . . and then there's Aidan, Julia's incredibly attractive, incredibly arrogant research assistant.

What's going on behind Aidan's intellectual, intensely green eyes, anyway?

As Clio sails into uncharted territory she unveils secrets that have the power to change history. But her most surprising discovery is that there's something deeper and more mysterious than the sea—her own heart.


This book was different to anything I’ve ever read before, and I think a lot of other people would feel the same way, because what other YA book do you know of which features, scuba-diving, treasure-hunting, a cruise around Greek islands and (this is expected) a hot guy. Obviously, with a premise like this, what could go wrong? Here is the time to say the quality of writing was rubbish- but it wasn’t! Johnson wrote eloquently and smoothly, and Clio’s personality came through strongly through the book.

Relationships were explored well such as the one between my favourite characters, Clio and Aiden. I loved how it wasn’t love-at-first-sight, and how realistically Aiden was portrayed, such as when he didn’t understand why he didn’t want to be with Elsa, which is such a typical guy thing we can understand rather than, say, Edward Cullen in Twilight preferring to abstain from sex with Bella before marriage. The relationship between Clio and her father was also handled well- the embarrassment she felt when with him, the frustration she felt when he was ordering her about…these are all typical teenage emotions which rang through true and clear in the book, making it seem more realistic.

A particular character I disliked was Elsa, but that’s primarily because she was ‘stealing’ Aiden away from Clio. It’s a testament to Johnson’s writing that she was able to incite such emotion in me, showing how good her writing is.

One complaint I have is that Elsa, who was supposed to be going to boarding school in England, mentioned that she had a pub at boarding school. As far as I know, no boarding schools in England have their own pub for sixth-formers, so this was a bit unbelievable- maybe Johnson could have done more research, although I did read somewhere on her blog that she travelled to Europe to explore the islands featured in Girl at Sea.

Most of the characters, however, including Elsa, were three-dimensional and their actions were believable. Therefore, Girl at Sea is recommended to any fans of exotic places, cruises, treasure-hunting and romance, of course!

Rating: 5/5

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