Thursday, 1 October 2009

Review - Girl At Sea / Maureen Johnson

Summary -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.

Review - Maureen Johnson Challenge Book 3 – I quite confess that I don’t get the attraction of her writing yet. While the author contains considerable enthusiasm in her words, her characterisation and generally plotting are rather simplistic. More introspection, less whining and more grounding is needed. The whimsical nature of the adventures on the boat were great as were the issues between father and daughter. In fact, the latter could have made a better focus rather than the “treasure” that all the characters were looking for.

You finish Girl at Sea not feeling as though you have learnt anything more that surface level for any of the characters. Sure all of them have minor or major revelation but none of the sharing is really followed up on. It’s more like an uber basic YA plan - big revelation here, some URST here and voila! The problem is, it’s hard to care about any of these unlikeable, self-involved people and so revelations are next to meaningless.

The “kidnapping” near the end of the novel was particularly on the nose. It served little purpose other than to make me question why any of this story really need to be set on a boat. There’s a lack of depth to Maureen Johnson’s writing that makes it difficult for me to relate or empathise with her characters and yet I will continue to try and “get” the fascination. Until then I will just have to continue to love Maureen Johnson via her blogs as her pages don’t (currently) suffice.

Published: 2008
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Publisher: PanMacmillan
Origin: US


brizmus said...

"More introspection, less whining and more grounding is needed"

That's EXACTLY how I felt in this book. All of the characters, especially Clio, annoyed me in so many ways.
The first Maureen Johnson I read was "13 Little Blue Envelopes," and I absolutely fell in love (I think I will reread it today, actually). I have therefore read everything she wrote, and the only other book I find to be worth it is her newest, "Suite Scarlett." Actually, I thought Devilish was pretty good, too.

Okay, and I just read your 13 Little Blue Envelopes post, and I'm sad you didn't love it. I actually felt the same way and loved it despite that. Hmmm. . .

Thao said...

I'm sorry you've yet to find the attraction of Maureen Johnson's writing. I've read any of her books but I'm looking forward to.

ReaderGirl said...

Ahw, that's too bad. =/ Hopefully you'll like some of her other books. :)

Elizabeth Kaylene said...

I really like Maureen Johnson's books. Have you tried any of the Scarlett books, Suite Scarlett or Scarlett Fever? The Little Blue Envelope books are good, too.

Anyway, just to let you know, I've linked to your review from mine at, because I'm doing something new with my reviews where I link to opposing views to give my readers a wider picture of the book. I'm definitely interested in reading more of your reviews!