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A Bottle in the Gaza Sea

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,126 ratings  ·  138 reviews
I'm full of fear and full of hope writing to you like this. I've never written to someone I didn't know. It feels strange. I don't know if what I'm doing is good or bad, crazy or just eccentric, useful or pointless.

When Israeli teenager Tal Levine decides to throw a bottle with a letter into the Gaza Sea, she has little idea what to expect. Against all odds, Tal longs to s
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published March 1st 2005)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,126 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This was such a quick and also lovely read. Also a bit sad. I kinda wish it was a bit longer but I still enjoyed it!
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
*I watched the movie based on this book, so the review below is in relation to the movie not the book.

Tal is a seventeen-year-old girl who has moved to Jerusalem with her family. One day there is a suicide bomber that attacks a cafe near her home & she starts to wonder if there really has to be so much hate between Palestinians & Israelis. She writes a letter, places it in a bottle, and gives hit to her brother to throw it into the Gaza Sea. A group of Palestinian boys find and one of th
Diana H.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Je voudrais ne plus être moi, pour quelque temps. Me reposer de ma mémoire."

I think we all should pick this up.
We need to be reminded that we are all human and we hurt the same...
I will definitely read everything that Valérie Zenatti wrote.

Vanessa Ehrlich
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish, israel, ya
This was a quick read, and being YA it should be. I thought it presented both sides of the conflict in Israel and gives good narratives. It tells a story and makes you feel like you know both main characters. The ending was abrupt but with a shorter YA book you must end somewhere. I would love to hear from YA readers what they think of this story.
Nicole Nicole Nicole
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea By: Valerie Zenatti
Tal, an Israeli teenage girl, writes a letter promoting peace with Palestine. She puts this letter in a bottle and asks her brother to throw it in the Gaza Sea. To her surprise a Palestinian young man answers, and they begin an email relationship. Both Tal and Naim realize that the other sides are not as they had perceived. They grow to depend on each other and the support that their emails and instant messages provide. Over time Tal and Naim fall in
Corinne Edwards
I'm giving this book five stars, not merely because of the level of writing (which is quite good) but more because of the depth of the issues that Zenatti has tackled and the grace with which she tackled it.

A 17 year old Israeli girl has arranged for a bottle with a note - a grasp at peace - to be dropped into the Gaza Sea, hoping a Palestinian will find it and they can begin some sort of communication. A Palestinian does find it, and their emails to each other are scattered throughout the book.
Jordan Croom
In the midst of a tumultuous situation in Palestine, a young Israeli teenage girl searches out for peace in difficult times. Not expecting anyone to reply, the girl, Tal asks her brother to place a letter she had written crying out for peace into the Gaza Sea. Much to her surprise, a young Palestinian man answers and they begin to email back and forth. Although the two come from different backgrounds, they begin to see that their ideals are not as different as they had once thought. The two begi ...more
Happy (spread The Word)
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it

This was a wonderful book. The author did such a great job of painting pictures in my mind and vividly describing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ***Before reading this book, I would do some research on the war that is currently going on Israel, and also learn some more about Islam and Judaism*** There was some profanity/swearing in the book, but nothing too offensive. The author also did a great job of developing the characters and making you care for them. Although, the ending was not what I
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this after seeing the movie. the basic story is the same - the details are quite different. An Israeli teenager writes a letter after a cafe bombing in Jerusalem which she puts into a bottle and has her soldier brother throw it into the Gaza Sea. A 20 year old Palestinian guy finds it and the two begin a secret correspondence which allows each to begin to understand the other. This is a very good intro for teens and young adults to begin to understand the Israeli-Palestinian con ...more
les points cardinaux

This book was so beautiful , real and eye-opening. I've always wanted to know and learn more about the israeli-palestinian conflict and now that I've read this book I'm so interested in getting into books that can give me some kind of information and perspective on it.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I enjoyed the unusual setting of this book-- one character in Israel, one character in the Gaza Strip. As each tries to understand the other, they grow and change. I wish the book had been longer, however, more fleshed out. Nevertheless, recommended!
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Was assigned this book to read for Social Studies and I really liked it! The style of writing helps to learn more than I think any other way would have.
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I picked up this book for the PopSugar 2017 reading challenge - a book of letters. It's a bit of a stretch, the book is told in *mostly* emails, but it counts for me. :)

Israeli Tal lives through a horrible scare when a cafe near her home is demolished by a bomb. As a way to reach out into the abyss, she puts a letter in a bottle, asks her brother (who is reporting for duty across the sea in Gaza) to throw it into the sea, and then waits. She gets a response back, by email, from a boy who calls h
Teri Weaver
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mid-east-jewish
This Romeo & Juliet-type story takes place “’where all … happened and this is where everything still will happen.’” Jerusalem is seen as the “center of the universe” and the Israelis and Palestinians are people who are “damaging the thing they claim to love.” The 17-year old daughter of a Jerusalem tour guide, Tal, lives in fear of terrorists, their bombs, and violence. She explains to the reader the 1993 peace treaty signed by Rabin and Arafat, along with Bill Clinton (who according to her ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book, a bottle in the Gaza sea by Valérie Zenatti, is about a girl living on 'the other side' of a boy she meats through a message she sends to the Gaza strip. This boy, called Gaza man, has conversations which Tal, the protagonist, responds to and talks about how life is like on the other side of the battle field. She worries about him and so does he, they become friends and tell stories if how they wish their lives were. the characters are really well developed in the book which really he ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story on itself is beautiful; wanting to make a difference in a world full of hatred, wanting to reach out for the beauty hidden by the war, wanting to make a friend.
A book that will make you cry as it makes you realize the cruelty and hate that exist in this world.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The ending sucked. I felt like the author was bored and just wanted to finish the book.
Libin Varghese
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Sweet, but too much suspension of disbelief !!
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A beautifully written page-turner, full of truth and hope.
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful reminder not to judge a book by its cover (don’t assume everyone’s bad because of where they’re from/religion)
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I purchased and watched the film, "A Bottle In The Gaza Sea" only recently and thought it was fantastic. I am a huge lover of Middle Eastern films and books, especially ones dealing with the conflict between Israel and Palestine. When I read that the film was based on the book Une Bouteille dans la Mer de Gaza, published in France in 2005, I HAD to find it, and hope to God that there was an English translation. Thankfully, there was(!) and I bought it right away. I only just finished reading it ...more
Amy Ariel
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-challenge
The existence of this book - 5 stars.
The quality of the writing and story - 4 stars.
Who should read it? Everyone.

Honest and compelling and so, very human.
Apr 06, 2012 rated it liked it
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea is about a seventeen year olds life in Jerusalem during a time of war. When Tal’s brother is sent to Gaza to fight she asks if he would throw a bottle with a letter she had wrote into the Gaza Sea. Tal wishes to communicate with a Palestinian girl like her, but when the first email comes she is shocked to find out that it is from a boy, Naim. The first few emails are rocky because of several cultural misunderstandings that are blown out of proportion, but after a while ...more
Alila Q
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valerie Zenatti is a very informative and great book. The story is about a girl named Tal who lives in Jerusalem. It originally begins as a journal but then becomes her letters to a Palestinian she believes she has never met. Tal’s older brother is in the army and she gives him a bottle with a special e-mail address she has set up for mailing a Palestinian and has him put it in the Gaza Sea. Surprisingly someone does answer Tal, a mysterious guy who lives on the Gaza ...more
Katie G
This book was described to me as "a modern day Romeo and Juliet set in Israel/Palestine." And while I sort of get the comparison, it doesn't really fit. This isn't a story of two teens falling in love. It's a story of two teens (well, a 17 year old and a 20 year old, if I remember correctly) who write emails back and forth and learn more about each other.

The characters here were interesting. They definitely weren't the clichés I might have expected when reading a book on this subject. I felt it
Regina Lindsey
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tal is a seventeen year old Israeli girl who has been brought up to believe that peace with Palestine is possible. Believing that personal contact with someone in Gaza is important to that process, she writes a note, places it in a bottle, and asks her brother to send it to sea when he reports to duty. The recipient turns out to be a sarcastic, angry 20-year old Palestinian young man. The two begin an email correspondence.

This was really hard for me to rate. If I were rating it from my personal
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
As a method of self-defense against increasing Israeli-Palestinian violence, feisty 17-year-old Israeli Tal writes a note and sticks it in a bottle. She asks her brother to throw the bottle in the Gaza sea, with hopes that she’ll meet a Palestinian girl and somehow put a personality to the people she knows must be behind the fence. What she gets is 20-year-old Naim, a scathingly sarcastic, but nice-under-the-surface Palestinian man. The book is a series of emails between the two, and as their un ...more
Anna Francesca
Jun 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Bright and questioning people, ages 11 and up
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Carmen Medina 7C 1 3 Nov 25, 2013 11:58PM  

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Valérie Zenatti was born in Nice on April Fool’s Day 1970. When she was thirteen she went to live with her parents in Israel, where she did her national service, which inspired her memoir, When I was a Soldier. Even now she doesn’t go out without her survival kit — these days of a book, a notepad and a pen. Valérie now lives in Paris, where she works as a translator of Hebrew. She is also writing ...more
“Mi innervosisco facilmente quando penso troppo, ma non voglio smettere di pensare. La mia testa è il solo posto dove non un soldato di Tsahal, non un tizio di Hamas, né mio padre né mia madre possono entrare. La mia testa è casa mia, l'unica casa che ho, troppo piccola per tutto quello che ci devo mettere ed è per questo che mi sono messo a scrivere.” 1 likes
“I'd like to turn the silence right up, but how do you do that?” 0 likes
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