The Ocean in My Ears

Meagan Macvie. Ooligan, $16 (300p) ISBN 978-1-932010-94-7
Set in the early 1990s, Macvie’s debut novel follows 17-year-old Meri Miller during her last year of high school in (very) small-town Soldotna, Alaska, yet the year turns out to be anything but uneventful. As she seeks a way to leave Alaska for college, she navigates her first sexual encounter, the loss of her grandmother, a friend who drifts away, and the stifling rules of her religious parents. The novel is interspersed with pages from Meri’s diary, as well as letters she exchanges with friends and family, demonstrating Meri’s careful work toward becoming a writer. The writing is raw and occasionally verges on melodramatic in its true-to-life capturing of an adolescent voice, as when Meri’s will clashes with her mother’s (“I want to tell Joquin the truth about dating Brett and what happened, but I don’t want to wreck what I have now with him”). As Meri learns to trust her gut instincts in a variety of situations, Macvie movingly explores the ever-shifting highs and lows of adolescence. Ages 14–up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2017
Release date: 11/01/2017
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