Jay Murchison believes he is a nobody at his high school in Oklahoma. Coming from a conservative family of affordable luxury, Jay has an overwhelming desire to become something great. After a mysterious girl named Saphnie in North Carolina mistakenly texts him, an unlikely relationship develops that affects Jay’s self-perception and influences the rest of his sophomore year. This correspondence leads him to a group of thrill-seekers who provide a grand departure from the quiet life Jay is familiar with and eye-opening experiences to witness first-hand the truth behind the loose morals his fellow classmates have come to know.
In a story filled with injustice, hope, hatred, love, grief, and understanding, readers will ask themselves what it truly means to hear the ocean sigh and learn of the dire consequences that come with its responsibilities.
Author: Bryant A. Loney
Format: eBook. Sourced from publisher.
Part of a Series: No. Standalone.
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Verona Booksellers
No. of Pages: 276 pages
Price: None. Sourced from publisher.
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age
Thank you, Wes Florentine of Verona Booksellers, for sending me an eBook copy of this book! It did not, in any way, sway my opinions about it.
The Cover: The cover features a very “Percy Jackson” approved type of color scheme. It’s extremely blue. The background is blue, the fonts are blue… But in the background, you could see the ocean, which was a big symbolism for the book. The cover’s okay for a debut novel. (3 out of 5 stars)
The Story: I never expected myself to read a coming of age story for the next couple of months. For the rest of 2015, I wanted to focus on romantic contemporaries, and fantasy novels since they are my favorite genres. But when Wes Florentine of Verona Booksellers came to me, asking me to review this book, I, being a start-up blogger, immediately said yes, and no, I do not regret my decision.
The story focused on life’s many issues: Depression, peer pressure, the advantages of being popular, and the giddy or heartbreaking feeling of making or losing friends and significant others. I loved reading from an unpopular guy’s perspective. We usually read about teen angst among women, especially in the Young Adult genre, but we never try to read or comprehend what males usually go through when they experience being alone, without a friend. It widened my literary horizons, now that I have read Jay Murchison’s story.
The characters were all very diverse. They were well blended, and each of them complemented the others. The full roster of characters were brilliantly written in terms of character developments and each and every one of them helped in making the story a whole lot more interesting.
The writing style was great. Fast-paced and simple, this [writing style] has the makings of a wonderful book. You guys know how much I love fast-paced reads, right? (Although, because of school works, it took me a week to finish this.) There is something about it that will compel you to keep on turning the pages, not knowing that you will be finished in a matter of minutes.
One thing that I didn’t like about this book, though, is that there were scenes that had too much details. Especially towards the ending. Don’t get me wrong, details are important especially in literature, but when you describe something with too many words, insignificance tend to take it’s toll and readers might get disinterested in a matter of minutes. Good thing the writing style was fast-paced and that didn’t occur in my reading of this book. (4 out of 5 stars)
The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.* I did not see that one coming. Rarely do I find plot twists like this one’s where a person is popular and yet, suicidal. I mean, I know it’s realistic, but I have read anything about it, thus, my passivity. But wow. The character death in this work of art was nowhere near predictable because the character development weren’t as evident as it is supposed to be, but it ended up being a nice twist to this book’s ending.
To me, the next few days after Saphnie’s death were very dragging. I know it was hard to move on from it, especially for Jay, but prolonging the agony doesn’t seem like a good way to move on. I get that they had to spend days on vacation where Jay and Saphnie were supposed to meet, but if you’re trying to forget about it, why would you say yes to visiting the place where your friend died? Hmm.
But everything seems great to me as the story came to a close. Everything was as it should be, even if I wasn’t able to predict it. And, I find Jay’s question to Mr. Metres extremely witty and also unpredictable. (4.5 out of 5 stars)
The Verdict: Again, To Hear The Ocean Sigh is filled with life’s greatest complications. It is with this book that I learned more about the many pros and cons of being unpopular, and the immense greatness of having friends for when you need someone to talk to about life in general. A great read for a debut novel! (3.83/4 out of 5 stars)
“A fresh start yields a greater potential at glory.”
“I’d always thought of Heaven as being a castle in the air, like I was taught. I had never before imagined it being an individualized experience–something personal.”
“Growing up isn’t about the person you’re going to marry or what job you’re going to get.”
“Jealousy is a monster born from hypnotizing flames.”
“When it comes to love, people want what they can’t have.”
“Perspective is the key to everything.”
“Strict parents create sneaky kids.”
“There is no afterlife for wilted flowers like me.”
“Sleep is the only thing I stay awake for.”
“To hear the ocean sigh is to sense the calm before the storm, and Saphnie was describing herself that day. She was tired of slamming against the same rocks over and over again. She kept having to meet the same expectations. She felt caged.”
About The Author
Bryant A. Loney is an 18-year-old growing up in the U.S. Heartland. He wrote a coming-of-age novel called To Hear The Ocean Sigh, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Google Play, Kobo, and more.