Beth reviews ‘Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt Book 1)’ by Heidi Cullinan – published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd. on April 7, 2015, 268 pages
Normal is just a setting on the dryer.
The Roosevelt, Book 1
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.
I am a huge fan of Heidi Cullinan’s, so when she announced this book awhile back and shared a tidbit, I was excited, and preordered it as soon as it was available. I was counting down the days until it released – happily diving right in on Tuesday morning as soon as I saw that it landed on my Kindle. I couldn’t put it down, and so, I found myself a day later, having finished the book with all the feelings swirling around my head. And I know that these thoughts and feelings will be with me for a long time. What an outstanding story. #majorbookhangover
Carry the Ocean explores a different perspective on love, told in a first-person POV alternating between the standpoint of Jeremey who has a major depressive disorder and clinical anxiety, and Emmet, who has autism spectrum disorder. Jeremey struggles with being defined by his issues, whereas Emmet does not limit himself due to autism. Emmet has a strong support group of family and medical professionals, and has a very established set of tools (he calls them modifications) that he relies on to successfully navigate through life. Conversely, Jeremey is coming to grips with his issues in this story, he does not have a strong support group like Emmet, and it’s a story of discovery for him. What happens is that he figures out how to be in touch with himself, and he grows stronger than anyone gives him credit for (except Emmet). I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but this one does end happily, with both characters in a good place and a good space. Additional happy news is that this is the first installment of a new series by Heidi, centered around The Roosevelt, which is where Jeremey and Emmet end up living. I hope that we will get to revisit these boys in the future installments.
‘Carry the Ocean’ is a very emotional and poignant story. I think I was choked up and had tears in my eyes for about the last 25% of the book. I learned so much. Carly Fleischmann has been added to my YouTube subscription list. I’m glad the memories of this book are going to stick with me for a while, emotionally, because I’m not ready to let go either. If you are up for reading something different, but beautiful, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book. Set aside some time to read it, with your tissue box, because I don’t think you’ll be able to put it down once you get started. ♥
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state’s LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.