Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Up From the Sea” as Want to Read:
Up From the Sea
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Up From the Sea

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  806 ratings  ·  197 reviews
A novel-in-verse about how one teen boy survives the March 2011 tsunami that devastates his coastal Japanese village.
On that fateful day, Kai loses nearly everyone and everything he cares about in the storm. When he’s offered a trip to New York to meet kids whose lives were changed by 9/11, Kai realizes he also has a chance to look for his estranged American father. Visi
ebook, 272 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Crown Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Up From the Sea, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Up From the Sea

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  806 ratings  ·  197 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Up From the Sea
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: diverse-reads, poetry
I’m grateful to have completed my reading goal of the year (100 books) with this heartrending novel-in-verse. Up From the Sea follows the life of how one teen boy survives the March 2011 tsunami that devastates his coastal Japanese village.

“What could possibly hurt me
more than this quake
already has?”

On that fateful day, Kai loses nearly everyone and everything he cares about in the storm. When he’s offered a trip to New York to meet kids whose lives were changed by 9/11, Kai realizes he also has
"When we help each other, we become bigger than ourselves."

Up From the Sea
by Leza Lowitz

Up from the sea....what an unusual and moving story.

This story is about Kai. Although it is fiction, the author writes it is based on the earthquake an tsunami that occurred in Japan March 11, 2011,

Kai is just a kid, in this story when the earth quake and tsunami hit. Told in verse, (a format I have started to read though I have not had all that much experience with it), the book is deeply sad.

Kai loses just
"In this dangerous world that we live in, where hatred and violence and natural disasters sometimes collide to almost overwhelm us, we each can help in some way. "

----Marsha Blackburn

Leza Lowitz, an American author residing in Tokyo, pens her new YA verse novel , Up From the Sea that narrates the story of a young football-aspiring-dreams Japanese teenage boy whose happy life washes away by the roaring tsunami on March 2011, devastating not only his dreams but uprooting his life from his villa
Such a quick read, but also an emotionally gripping and powerfully inspiring one as well. Books like this lingers on the edges of my heart and makes me immensely grateful for this little life of mine. Gifting it to my nieces.
Rashika (is tired)
(I still don't know what to rate the book but here is my review for it)

Flipping through

the pages. My heart

racing, hoping Kai will survive.

Hoping I will survive.

Coping seems hard and I

hurt for Kai. Poor baby.

Can I shelter him?

Probably not.

Pretty words that

pop off the page. Pages that flip

by fast.

Emotions that hurt.

Characters that grow.

Overall, my mind might not

be blown but my heart sure does

Alice Lippart
Good, but perhaps better for a slightly younger audience.
May 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
On March 3, 2011, teen-aged Kai leaves for school after a fight with his single Japanese mother. He doesn't remember what he said to her. He doesn't even remember what language he was speaking -- Japanese, or English, the language spoken by his American father who now lives in New York. Whatever those words were, however, they were the last he'd ever speak to her. Later that day, an earthquake occurs. Within a matter of minutes, buildings are destroyed, and over 15,000 people are washed away in ...more
Disclaimer: I received this book as part of an ARC giveaway at a local indie bookstore, although I didn't get around to reading it until after the book was officially released. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the contents of this review.

I really thought I would like this book. And I know that I start a lot of reviews by saying that, but I think I have adequate reason in this case. The book is written in verse, it features a biracial protagonist, it's mostly set in Japan, and it
Stephanie (Reading is Better With Cupcakes)
Up From the Sea is about two very difficult topics from the worlds history. The first and the main one being the tsunami that hit Japan after a 9.0 earthquake struck. The second being 9/11 as it pertained to the Americans.

Neither of these two topics is something easy to discuss, but Leza Lowitz does it beautifully.

Up From the Sea is not written in the traditional sense. It is actually written in the form of poetry. If you are new to this idea, you may be a bit hesitant and find yourself wonderin
Leza Lowitz
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)

Dear Reader: I was in Tokyo when the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami struck at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011. Long-term residents like myself were used to quakes, but this one was different. The massive sharp thrust followed by a violent back-and-forth shaking grew in intensity with each second. I ran out of the building and watched a skyscraper sway, hoping it would not come down. Strangers huddled togeth
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
"At 2:46 on Friday, March 11, 2016, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Tohoku region of Honshu, Japan. It was the strongest temblor ever to hit that quake-prone country, and the fourth largest in the world. It lasted six minutes. After the quake struck, a massive tsunami followed. Waves reaching up to 133 feet."

11,106 aftershocks
Approximately 15,889 deaths
6,152 injured
2,601 still missing
127,290 buildings destroyed

This is Up From the Sea. We follow a young boy by the name of Kai living in a co
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was pretty good especially with being detailed and painting a good picture for the reader. This story takes place in Japan and is actually true, and it's about what I would call the biggest natural disaster other than hati. This story is about a child who has a love for soccer but grew up without a father and so he has to guide himself through life mostly on his own. I personally consider this book for anyone who doesn't like a full book its a lot more simple to read because its writte ...more
Romuald Dzemo
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What Happens when Everything Is Lost?

I became a fan of Leza Lowitz when I first read her brilliant and gripping memoir, Here Comes the Sun a book that described her journey towards meaning and purpose. This time, she offers her readers an enjoyable literary treat in Up from the Sea, a lyrical tale about loss and resurrection, the story of a people ripped apart by the cruel blow of a powerful earthquake and an unforgiving tsunami, a story laced with timeless lessons on survival, resilience, and t
Carl R.
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Leza Lowitz's Up From The Sea is the first artistic response I've seen to the Fukushima Tsunami/Nuclear disaster of 2013, and it's a powerful, unique work. Unique, first of all, in that novels in verse are virtually unheard of, let alone carried off successfully. But unique, mostly, in that Lowitz makes this tale of a teen-ager, Kai, whose world is torn to bits by the horrendous event, serve as a metaphor for the trials of an entire society subjected to such cataclysmic devastation.

Just an ordin
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Kai is a typical boy living in the Tohoku region on the coast of Japan. Everything changes on the morning of March 11, 2011, when the earth begins to shake while he is at school. The loudspeakers announce that a tsunami is coming, and everyone runs to higher ground. Kai and his friends reach the bridge that is five blocks away, but the water is too high, too fast, and too strong. Kai wakes up all alone in the mud. His principal finds him and leads him to the junior high school where survivors ar ...more
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“The bigger the issue, the smaller you write.”--Richard Price
Instead of focusing on the overwhelming statistics generated by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan—nearly 16,000 deaths and 3,000 people missing—the event becomes even more intense and compelling as author Leza Lowitz relates the story of one town and one boy and the resilience of many.
The story begins on March 11 when Kai, a half Japanese, half American 17-year-old and his teachers and classmates experience t
Liane Wakabayashi
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan
Inspired by a boy Leza Lowitz met in the Tohoku disaster zone following the March 11th Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, "Up from the Sea" is about a teenage boy, Kai, who loses all of his immediate family except for his father, an American whom he hasn't seen in many years owing to his parent's divorce. Written in verse, "Up from the Sea" is a spacious novel, with literally lots of white on every page that help young adult readers and adults too to better absorb and process the intensity of ...more
Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
4 stars

Moving story of a boy who survived the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. The account of his fear during the quake and flight from the deadly ocean surge is suspenseful and very scary. I can't imagine experiencing it myself. His worries about the fate of his family is also very emotional. Kai has lost everything, and his helplessness and hopelessness resonate through the author's use of free verse. How can he go on, knowing that his mother, grandmother, and grandfather have all died
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
i'm not one to read much Historical Fiction but in reading up from the sea i found that it spoke to me a lot. Kai being roughly the same age i could relate to many of the emotions and thoughts he was going through, of wanting to run away from everything, of not caring about what happened to anything anymore. but i think the most important thing to take from the story is that life goes on, we rebuild, we change, we fight desperately for what we believe hoping only that by the time we lie dying th ...more
Jacinta Hin
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I love this book. I cried from beginning to end, touched by the heart-warming story and the beautiful writing. Having experienced the big Tohoku earthquake myself, in Tokyo, this book is close to home. My story is very different from the book's main character, but what we have in common is this: that day changed the course of our lives. Although Up From the Sea is perfect for the intended audience, I recommend it to all age groups. Through Kai's story, this book conveys what happened in Japan so ...more
Emily Bachaman
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a very quick read but it is a very powerful book. Up From the Sea comes across two topics. One if japan the 9.0 earthquake that this book is mostly about. Then about 9/11 for Americans. Both topics are very sensitive subjects to talk about of discuss to this day even though it was over 5 years ago for both of these tragedy incidents. But the author in this book does it so peacefully. This books main character is a 17 year old boy Kai and how he deals with joy, heartbreak and many mo ...more
Dec 21, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a fictional novel in verse about the tsunami that hit coastal Japan in March of 2011 as told by a young teen named Kai. Kai is in school when the earthquake and the tsunami hit and the story that follows is about the loss of many loved ones and the road to recovery for both Kai and the town, both physically and mentally. It's a touching story. There's a connection made between the tragedy in Japan and the tragedy of September 11 in the U.S., and the two certainly have some things in comm ...more
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Up From the Sea is a very inspiring and well thought out book. From the start it captured my attention, definitely a page turner. One thing that I thought that was inspiring from this book is the fact that through Kai's journey he learned that sticking close to the ones he loves is very important when he was hurting most.
I believe this is a good capture of what happened on March 11th, 2011 when the tsunami hit Japan. Also what everyone went through. This book was wonderful! I personally reall
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kai is a 17 year-old Japanese soccer enthusiast on March 11, 2011 when a tsunami hits his coastal town. Kai is left to wonder how to rebuild a life that was slightly fractured before, but seems horribly broken after the tsunami. This novel is told in verse and is paced superbly. The language used vividly depicts the horrific experience of town torn apart and their efforts to rebuild. Readers who come from diverse backgrounds will identify with Kai's attempt to be both Japanese and American. ...more
Jenn Hopp
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
"And the earth starts to shake..."

Heartbreaking and hopeful. Lowitz does an incredible job bringing the story of Kai, a teenage boy who survives the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devasted the Tohoku region of Honshu, Japan, to readers. Told in verse with vivid sensory details, Kai's fight for survival and for a path to overcome unimaginable loss is moving. The author's notes provide readers with important context. Highly recommended for MS readers.
Alexcia Araujo
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz is a tear jerking story about a young boy by the name of Kai who lives in a small town in Japan with his small, seemingly happy family. Although when the disaster of a earthquake followed by a tsunami strikes, he is left with lots of questions and heartbreak. At least there is still hope out there for him though all of these traumatic times.
I recommend this book ages from 14+ and for people who know what it is like to go through similar hardships.
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Less than an hour read, this novel in verse is a gripping and emotional portrayal of what it's like to survive a natural disaster. Kai is a 17 year old boy who survives the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 and the story, told from his POV, shows us how devastating it is to rebuild your life after you've lost everything you loved. Beautifully written. ...more
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kai survived the March 11 Earthquake that had cause a Tsunami at his home in Japan. This is very emotional and is very good for young high school students, i would recommend ages 16 to 18, this a very good read even tho literature of the book is basic there is more to interpret and understand because it is written in poetry.
I really liked this book because it shows how even if something bad happens everything will be ok. The main character Kai lost almost everything but in the end, he was fine.
Chase Perry
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book. It is a short easy read that is good for anyone.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Canyon's Edge
  • Closer to Nowhere
  • Black Brother, Black Brother
  • Junk Boy
  • White Rose
  • Muted
  • When You Trap a Tiger
  • Somewhere Among
  • Starfish
  • Bloom
  • Red Butterfly
  • Home of the Brave
  • The Crossover
  • Lifeboat 12
  • Clean Getaway
  • Before the Ever After
  • Alone
  • The Dark Matter of Mona Starr
See similar books…
I'm a California girl living in Tokyo, where I write and run a yoga studio. For over two decades, I've been charting my quest in twenty books in many genres. I hope I'm just getting started.

I’m interested in ideas of identity and history. How is culture shaped, and how are we shaped by it? All of my books deal with notions of finding home.

"Up from the Sea," my debut Young Adult novel in verse abou

Related Articles

If you're a fan of the mystery and thriller genre and young adult books, recent months have brought a bevy of great reads to your shelves! We...
110 likes · 18 comments
“If you weren't scared,
you wouldn't be human,
you wouldn't be brave."

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"If you were fearless,
you wouldn't
need to overcome it.

Bravery means being scared
and going forward
anyway," Fia says.
"That's courage.”
“If you weren't scared,
you wouldn't be human,
you wouldn't be brave.

What do you mean? I ask.

If you were fearless,
you wouldn't
need to overcome it.

Bravery means being scared
and going forward
anyway, Fia says.
That's courage”
More quotes…