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You Brought Me the Ocean

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Jake Hyde doesn’t swim—not since his father drowned. Luckily, he lives in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, which is in the middle of the desert, yet he yearns for the ocean and is determined to leave his hometown for a college on the coast. But his best friend, Maria, wants nothing more than to make a home in the desert, and Jake’s mother encourages him to always play it safe.
There’s nothing “safe” about Jake’s future—not when he’s attracted to Kenny Liu, swim team captain and rebel against conformity. And certainly not when he secretly applies to Miami University. Jake’s life begins to outpace his small town’s namesake, which doesn’t make it any easier to come out to his mom, or Maria, or the world.
But Jake is full of secrets, including the strange blue markings on his skin that glow when in contact with water. What power will he find when he searches for his identity, and will he turn his back to the current or dive headfirst into the waves?

194 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 9, 2020

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About the author

Alex Sanchez

15 books830 followers
Alex Sanchez is the author of the Rainbow Boys trilogy of teen novels, along with The God Box, Getting It, and the Lambda Award-winning middle-grade novel So Hard to Say. His novel, Bait, won the Florida Book Award Gold Medal for YA fiction. Alex received his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Old Dominion University and for many years worked as a youth and family counselor. His newest book is a graphic novel from DC Comics, You Brought Me the Ocean. Find out more about Alex at www.AlexSanchez.com

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5 stars
637 (24%)
4 stars
1,048 (39%)
3 stars
800 (30%)
2 stars
140 (5%)
1 star
26 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 578 reviews
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
July 8, 2020
I know Alex Sanchez through Rainbow Boys and his other GLTQ YA books. I know Julie Maroh from her Blue is the Warmest Color comics novel. So this graphic novel is the story of Aqualad who in this version is also gay. Jake and Maria are bffs forever. Maria is in love with Jake but Jake is actually questioning his sexual identity, and is on the verge of coming out gay. They live in New Mexico, in the desert; Maria wants to live there and contrbute to making it a better world, and Jake wants to study oceanography. . in Florida (but at Miami University, which is in Ohio?!).

Jake crushes on Kenny, the only out gay kid at their school, who's bullied by Zeke and a bunch of other white guys, maybe the only white folks in the book. So he has a lot of secrets to keep from Maria, who he is afraid he will lose as a friend ife he comes out to her as gay. Or if he leaves NM to go to school. Now add to this mix that Jake has strange markings on his body (his Mom calls them birthmarks) indicating that he is actually Aqualad--his Dad Black Manta--which is to say Jake has superpowers connected to water. So Jake's coming out gay and superhero at the same time, which is kind of a cool idea.

So this is also a story also for diverse chracters: Jake is black. Maria is Latina. Kenny is Asian. One of their coolest teachers, Mrs. Archer, is Native American.

I like Julie Maroh's intimate, pastel artwork; the story is okay, affirming of all things queer and of color and every single thing ultimately works out for everyone. So if you are a gay youth of color and you want your superhero books more queer and color affirming, this is what this book/series is all about. Or being true to yourself, no secrets, no fear. And it appears now to be a series, as we would now expect to see how Jake can live as Aqualad.
Profile Image for Jessica.
569 reviews778 followers
September 4, 2020
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (DC Comics) in exchange for an honest review.

I give this book 4.5 stars which rounds up to 5.

This was a heartfelt origin story that tackles identity and sexuality.

Prior to reading this, I had no idea who Jake Hyde (aka Aqualad) was so I had no expectations going in about his origin story. I was pleasantly surprised. The superhero element was a lot more subtle than I thought it would be. Jake trying to figure out the mystery behind his powers and coming to terms with his sexuality were both given equal weight. I liked that the book didn’t go too overboard with the superhero aspect because that could have easily overshadowed the coming-out story.


The plot is very basic (it’s not the most exciting superhero comic you will read), but it works well for what the story was trying to accomplish. Sometimes less is more, and this book proves that.

As for the characters, I loved Kenny. He was hands down my favorite character. I also loved the diversity in the characters. Jake is black. His best friend, Maria, is Latina. Kenny is Asian. The teacher, Mrs. Archer, is Native American.

At first I wasn’t a fan of the artwork. I saw a sneak peek of this in another DC Comic and I was a little hesitant. The artwork seemed a little incomplete. But as I started the book and kept reading, I grew to love and appreciate it. There was actually a lot of detail in the sketches. I loved that at the end of the book there was sketches from the illustrator explaining the thought process behind them.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beautiful superhero comic and its coming-out storyline! #RepresentationMatters
Profile Image for Chad.
7,731 reviews869 followers
January 12, 2021
This is virtually the same Aqualad story Geoff Johns told in Brightest Day adding in a LGBTQ love triangle. Jake Hyde is preparing to go away to college soon while figuring out his sexuality. He's attached at the hip to his best friend Maria. Some people including Maria wonder if they may be more. That's when he starts talking to Kenny...

The whole water / super power angle seems thrown in to make it part of the DC universe even though that was the core of the story this is based on. I wasn't a fan of Julie Maroh's art. Her facial features looked distorted and the shadowing felt off.

Received a review copy from Edelweiss and DC Comics. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.
Profile Image for Teal.
597 reviews190 followers
June 20, 2020
This YA graphic novel with a gay/questioning MC is set in a world where, if something flashes by overhead, you can whip out your binoculars and see that it’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, it’s

The POV is shared by three teenagers — which got a bit tedious, honestly, and I had to put the book down briefly at about halfway to let my eyeballs recover from over-rolling. But fundamentally this is Jake’s story, as he grapples with the consequences of keeping secrets and having secrets kept from him.

I would say it was… nice. Nice enough. Probably 2 stars for the story, 3.5 stars for the art. The latter is always more important to me — good art will keep me going through a mediocre story, but if I dislike the art no story is strong enough to keep me reading. The color palette alternates between a dry yellow representing the New Mexico desert landscape and the blues of the waterscapes Jake dreams of -- and has increasingly surprising interactions with.

I loved the way the diverse cast of characters was rendered. Each one was striking and individual in their own way.

The ending isn’t a cliffhanger, but it’s very open and “to be continued” is strongly implied.
Profile Image for TJ.
697 reviews53 followers
January 26, 2020
This could have been something special, but the execution of all these themes and ideas is mediocre. The dialogue is straight up awful, the characters are unbelievably stupid for plot reasons, and the art style wasn’t for me most of the time. This reads very juvenile, overall. With a different writer and an extra hundred pages, this could have been spectacular. The combination of sexuality awakening and super powers awakening is golden. Instead of exploring those topics maturely and logically though, I hope you enjoy water puns and coming out stories stuck in the 2000s. 2.5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Mae Crowe.
240 reviews92 followers
June 5, 2020
I feel very weird about this one, and waiting two weeks before writing the review really isn't helping anything. I'm not sure that the rating I have on this is final - I'm hovering between 2 and 3 stars - but considering that part of the reason I want to bump it to three is the art style and thematic application of colors and I generally review story above art because that's what I look for first...

Well. I went with two for now.

You Brought Me the Ocean had a chance to be really cute. I read it because I was in the mood for a cute little story, an easy read, something short and I just... Speaking as a queer woman, it kind of made me uncomfortable. The story really does seem to push the theme that secrets are bad and choosing to stay closeted is selfish. That's not a message any LGBTQ+ kid needs to hear, because you'd better believe that thought already passes through their head on a regular basis. And as a college student who constantly deals with the ramifications of being out at school but closeted at home, reading a story that suggests that my choice is selfish isn't pleasant, despite knowing that it's not true.

I will say this: I don't think this theme was truly intended by the author. The characters who perpetrate much of this theme ultimately admit that they had no right to make those demands of the main character, but it was almost a throwaway, which isn't enough after Jake (and the reader) spend the majority of the book internalizing this notion of being selfish for not being out. If it was handled better, it would have been great commentary on how being out or being closeted is ultimately a choice that no one else has the right to comment on - unfortunately, the imbalance of time spent on the accusations vs. the apologies means that it falls to the wayside.

You Brought Me the Ocean has a cute art style with intelligent use of color. Unfortunately, a story that had the potential to be equally cute was overshadowed by damaging themes produced by an imbalance of story focus.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
October 14, 2020
4.5 stars.

You Brought Me the Ocean is a captivating, poignant graphic novel about a young man trying to figure out who he is.

For reasons he can’t explain, Jake has always been obsessed with the ocean, and with water in general. He's even constantly thirsty. He dreams of studying marine biology, which would require him to leave his New Mexico hometown and all of those who are close to him.

His mother has always been overprotective, perhaps because his father drowned when Jake was a baby. He spends all of his spare time with his best friend, Maria. She knows Jake dreams of going to Miami for college to study the ocean, but she hopes he’ll stay closer to home with her.

Lately Jake has been feeling strange. His feelings confuse him until he starts talking to a classmate, Kenny, who has always been bullied because he’s gay. The more time Jake spends with Kenny the more he realizes he’s been hiding a part of him for far too long.

The other thing he’s been struggling with is that strange things happen to him when he’s around water. He’s always had these distinctive markings on his arms—suddenly they’re giving him the power to control water. Is something wrong with him? Or is there a secret someone has been hiding?

I didn’t know that this was an origin story for Aqualad, but obviously that makes sense. I love superhero stories and love when they first start to discover their abilities. But the storyline of Jake’s sexuality really added depth to this book.

This is beautifully illustrated by Julie Maroh and well-written by Alex Sanchez. (I loved one of his books, Rainbow Boys , earlier this year.) Looking forward to (hopefully) another book in this series!

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Carly Faith.
140 reviews
March 19, 2020
this was so cringey.

maria was beyond annoying and selfish.

only character i liked was kenny. he was the only decent one.

this entire book kinda made no sense either. very weird plot and kinda childish, didn't come out strong in the writing either. overal not what i expected when i went in to this book.

cute lgbtq+ rep but uh that's really it. i wish i didn't read this.
Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,615 reviews240 followers
June 5, 2023
Sweet coming of age graphic novel set in New Mexico. Superheroes and villains are real in this alternate world. So is high school, bullies, crushes, and secrets.

Looking forward to seeing where Jake and Kenny go from were this novel left them—their story is far from finished.

Great artwork!
Profile Image for Jesse On Youtube .
66 reviews4,471 followers
June 23, 2021
You brought Me The Ocean marked my very first foray into the work of Sanchez and Julie Maroh (who illustrated Blue is the Warmest Color). It was quickly paced, but knew exactly which moments to linger on. Thankfully those moments were often the gorgeously illustrated scenes of tender intimacy between two boys. YBMTO is precious to me, in part because of the unapologetic centering of a male-male interracial romance. Chef's kiss. I also adored the line-work. The art style will turn off many readers who aren't big fans of traditional comic art styles and favor less detail and bold colors. For me, it was perfect. The details of hair and bodies are meticulously drawn, and while the style shifts page to page (as is common within the industry), it is held together by the artists' fabulous attention to detail.

Homophobia and the lack of interference from teachers is a theme within the comic. Many felt this depiction teachers allowed homophobia to course un-checked through the classroom to be dated. As a queer Black Latino, I found it to be spot-on. Teachers often fail to protect their BIPOC queer kids in the classroom.

I loved watching our protagonist come into his beautiful superpowers and find out about his backstory. This comic is set within the DC universe and popular characters like Aquaman and Black Manta are part of the storyline. However, it is VERY easily understood for those of us like myself who are not fans of the DC Universe.

I am awarding this comic 3 stars because I had major issues with how Maria responded to learning of Jake's gayness. Actually, the response wasn't necessarily the problem; the fact that she guilted Jake into apologizing for keeping this "secret" from her - was. I absolutely hated it. Queer folk: it doesn't matter how close you are to a person. If you aren't ready to tell them, that isn't something you should ever ever have to apologize for. It was incredibly upsetting to me so I want to warn other queer folk of this theme. Without it, I likely would've rated this 5 stars.

Profile Image for Kali Cole.
345 reviews34 followers
June 3, 2020
Oh wow! I read this in one sitting and it was so wonderful! I loved the relationship between Jake and Kenny and I really enjoyed the illustrations. I’ve been getting into more comics lately and I’m very thankful to DC Comics for sending me a copy of this. I think in terms of how fulfilling the story is, I’d probably give it about 3 stars just because it went way to fast paced. I’m not used to the pacing of comics so that could be why. However, I love Aquaman and I think this story is a really interesting spinoff. I hope to see more comics surrounding Jake Hyde.
Profile Image for Devann.
2,434 reviews134 followers
June 9, 2020
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley

I do agree with what a lot of other reviewers are saying about this book in that it is kind of awkward and dated, but I also still think there is value to be found in it and I did enjoy reading it for the most part. I have basically no prior knowledge on Aqualad so I don't know how this compares to any other version of the character or origin story but I think it was a [mostly] cute enough take on it for new readers. I could have done without the brief moments of actually fairly violent homophobia and a few other things that make this book seem like it's set about 15-20 years in the past, but overall I think it's a good title and I'm glad I read it. I do really like DC's new series of standalone comics for young readers but they are obviously not perfect and hopefully they will listen to reader feedback and continue to make progress in the future.
Profile Image for Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile).
821 reviews122 followers
July 29, 2020
For The 2020 Reading Rush prompt Read a book with a cover that matches the colour of your birth stone.

I fell head over heels, absolute completely in love with the art.
I mean I will read anything illustrated by Julie Maroh. Her art is mesmerizing.

Add to this beautiful art a compelling story of friendships, coming-of-age, coming-out (in more than the obvious way); and you get a tale you can't help but love it.
I sat down read it and then immediately re-read the whole thing. And believe me I'll read a next volume as well. Just tell me when it's available.
Profile Image for Laura.
2,701 reviews81 followers
April 30, 2020
This is another one that looked as though it would work, but felt as though it tried to hard. It is part coming out story, and part discovering your secret powers.

There is a sort of LGBTQ love story thrown in, and the girl who is a "friend" who doesn't realize that Jake is gay, but then, neither does he.

The story is a little slow to start, and when it starts to pick up steam, it ends too abruptly.

And although this is supposed to be set in the DC universe, it feels forced, as sightings of Superman and Aquaman are thrown in parts, just to make good.

Very odd graphic novel.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
Profile Image for David.
580 reviews140 followers
May 10, 2021
I'm not a big graphic/fantasy reader, but I was pleasantly surprised through the positive messages in this book. The real story is high school senior Jake. College decisions, his best friend is a girl, but they don't 'date'. Jake sees that Kenny is out and proud, and gives Jake the courage he needs to do a lot. Aquaman and 'Black Manta" are in here, but not overwhelming.

Great supporting adult/parents cast in this book. The few bullies are typical, but not so over-aggressive that you need any warnings here. Easy one-sitting book that left me feeling good. Bottom line vibe is easy 4* if not more.https://www.goodreads.com/review/new/...#
Profile Image for Laura.
1,375 reviews208 followers
November 16, 2020

3.5 Stars

I’ve been craving comics lately. Stories told panel by panel with color and angles and words. So off I went searching shelves and lists and sites. You Brought Me the Ocean jumped out at me for two reasons…

1. HELLO! It’s a coming out story with super powers!
2. Alex Sanchez! I haven’t read his words since Rainbow Boys.

I dived right in! :)

Jake Hyde is hiding secrets on top of secrets. He’s hiding his sexuality from his mother, best friend, and maybe even himself. Is he ready to come out though? Maybe he is for Kenny, the school’s swim team star. But Jake has another secret too. He can control water! Well maybe, sort of. Haha…Jake’s just learning what he can do with his powers and water. Is he in over his head though? Tune in and find out.

For me, the star of the show was the art. Julie Maroh’s lines display mesmerizing movement and huge emotion. I loved how the characters moved on the page. I couldn’t look away!

A strong read that introduced me to Aqualad. Off to find out more.

Profile Image for Lu .
346 reviews34 followers
May 14, 2020
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. An HUGE thanks to DC comics for this free book. All opinions are my own.

TW: homophobia, homophobic slurs, physical assault

Jake Hyde lives in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, a city in the desert, with his overprotective mother, eager to keep him safe and away from the water, since his father drowned. But Jake is attracted to and longs for the ocean, he wants to leave his hometown where he feels suffocated and go to college on the coast, while Maria, his best friend and neighbour, wants to stay there and Jake's mom wants him safe and sound with her.
But Jake isn't safe, not when he starts to question his sexuality, not when he applies to Miami University without telling anyone, not when he's attracted to the swim team captain, Kenny, who is out and rebel and stick out in their hometown, bullied for being himself.
Jake's life is complicated and full of secrets, secrets he hides from others and secrets he doesn't even know about himself. When the time comes to face them, will he be ready?

I loved You brought me the ocean. I already knew Julie Maroh and Alex Sanchez and this graphic novel is simply amazing. The artwork is so beautiful and evocative, I was really in love since the first page. The plot is captivating and I was right away able to relate and connect to the characters and their struggles.
Jake feels trapped in his hometown and his eagerness to get away and explore the world and the oceans, his dreams, fears and secrets are drawn and written skillfully.

So his relationship with his overprotective and kind mother, with sweet Maria, with rebel Kenny. It was so sweet reading how slowly Jake starts to understand his own feelings and decided to be himself around himself and others. How Jake starts to question his "birthmarks" and his affinity for the water, how he discovers his powers and past.
I was able to feel how he felt, his being trapped and eager to explore, to move, to be true and honest to himself.
Maria and Kenny are also amazing characters, Maria with her secret feelings and the difficulty of being honest with herself and her best friend, Kenny with the fact he didn't want to conform to anything and pretend to be anyone, with his complicated relationship with his father, who is struggling to accept his sexuality.

It's beautiful and intense reading about Jake's journey, in discovering his identity, his sexuality, supported by his friend, love and family.

You brought me the ocean deals with a lots of important themes, like homophobia and bullying (since first Kenny then Jake too are bullied by the bigots of the town), coming out, the difficulties of following your dreams, the loss of parents, friendship issues, physical assault.
It's a book about the difficulty and strength in being true and honest to oneself, friendship and first love.

I recommend to everyone who wants to lose her/himself in a wonderful graphic novel about identity, love, courage and friendship.
Profile Image for Brandon.
1,843 reviews30 followers
June 20, 2020
You Brought Me the Ocean brings together three things the DC Universe is sorely lacking: Aqualad stories, romance stories, and queer characters. Don't be fooled despite this coming from DC Comics and featuring Jake Hyde (aka Aqualad), it isn't a superhero story. In fact, the superheroes are kind of a side story to the actual growth of Jake and him coming to terms with who he is and what he wants in life.

Ever since his father drowned, Jake hasn't been allowed near water. He lives out in the desert, far away from any water, and isn't allowed to swim. He dreams of one day moving away and studying the ocean in university, but for now he's just a high school kid in a small town who feels like he doesn't really belong. The artwork captures this beautifully, painting the town as this dull land full of browns and greys while the water is this glowing blue body full of life. Even Jake's love interest, Kenny, has this bright turquoise hair that makes him stand out.

Jake asks himself so many questions he doesn't have an answer too, and the biggest theme of the OGN is whether he can be honest about them or if they will stay a secret. How does he feel about Kenny? Will he get into his dream university? Why is he so drawn to water? And will his friends and family still accept him if he tells them the truth? It's honest and a little bit heart-breaking watching him struggle. You Brought Me the Ocean takes all of the promise and mythology of the DC Universe and spins it to create a beautiful queer teenage romance story, something that feels so unlike anything else that mainstream comics publishers are putting out.
Profile Image for Mery ✨.
620 reviews37 followers
January 25, 2021

I wanted to like this story, and it did have potential and some heartfelt moments, but I don't think it hit the mark. Many moments were unintentionally funny, and I feel like the two primary side characters Kenny and Maria were not handled well in some ways. Maria comes across as a little bit hypocritical considering she's guilty of the same sins she accuses Jake of. Kenny is handled a little better, but beyond serving as the primary romantic interest, he gets short shrift in certain areas of his character development.

Other characters such as Jake's mom and Kenny's dad alternated between some great moments and unrealistic actions. A moment that I particularly did enjoy was when Jake has a moment of crisis, and he talks to Maria's dad privately. Despite how different the two of them are, Maria's dad finds a way to connect with Jake and reassure him, and offer guidance. That was perhaps the best part of the story.

Aside from that, I found many aspects unrealistic and unfulfilled. You Brought Me The Ocean, but it didn't quench my thirst.⁣
Profile Image for Sarina-Soren.
874 reviews38 followers
October 23, 2020
CWs: abuse, anti-LGBTQ+ violence, bullying, depression, homophobia, homophobic slur, nonconsensual operations

The cover reminded me of Blue Is the Warmest Color, so of course I had to pick it up. It turns out that this is, in fact, illustrated by the one and only Julie Maroh! I will never cease to be amazed by the expressiveness of their characters. I felt every emotion on the page, no small feat because there was such a large range of emotions to convey.

This could be your generic coming-out-romance story, but there’s something that sets it apart from the crowd. I think it boils down to the beautiful relationships these characters share and how those relationships evolve. Everyone has a lesson to learn; everyone has something to teach. And I think that’s beautiful.
Profile Image for Karlee.
161 reviews2 followers
September 8, 2020
This was a nice quick read. I wish this comic had been around when I was younger but I think this fits for the next generation. I loved reading the diverse characters as well as the LGBTQ representation. Superman and Aquaman make an appearance which would make any DC fan happy.

Unfortunately, I didn't like the ending. I felt as if it was left on a cliff hanger and there was no mention of a sequel. There were too many unanswered questions.
Profile Image for 'Nathan Burgoine.
Author 47 books416 followers
June 2, 2021
A re-read. Lovely story about a nascent super-hero/gay kid coming-out/parents doing their best and not always getting it right/friendships evolving/first kiss sort of comic that somehow balances all that with the end result of being completely charming.
Profile Image for Sarah.
502 reviews8 followers
August 21, 2020
Compelling story, just the very end was a bit rushed...
Profile Image for Rod Brown.
5,300 reviews173 followers
August 4, 2020
An angsty but heartwarming gay romance that just happens to involve some super powers. Jake Hyde has a lot of secrets for a high school kid in a small desert town in New Mexico: his college plans, his attraction to classmate Kenny Liu, and what happens when he comes into contact with water. Over the course of a few days, the secrets start coming out, rocking Jake, his friends and his family.

A nicely drawn and written character study.

Unlike some of the more Elseworlds sort of DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults, this one seems like it could fit in regular DCU continuity, and I hope the powers that be at DC make regular use of the Jake Hyde character, perhaps in Young Justice. But first I would love to see a follow-up volume by this same creative team.

(p.s., Oh, ha ha, apparently there is already a Jackson Hyde/Aqualad character that I missed in the DC Brightest Day and Rebirth events, and this story is a spin on his existing origin.)
Profile Image for Lewis.
400 reviews45 followers
March 5, 2023
While I'm not a fan of the 'girl and boy are close friends and the girl gets mad bc she fell for him but he's gay' trope, this story really was amazing. Particularly the parental relationships between Jake and his mother; and Kenny and his father were so well done. Jake and Kenny's relationship was so tender and well-written that they honestly may be one of my favourite queer couples (which is a high bar to meet).
Profile Image for ashes ➷.
865 reviews80 followers
December 8, 2022
A solid, if not particularly unique, coming out story that will appeal to people who want to see DC do more LGBT rep.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A young man is coming to terms with his sexuality. His female best friend is in love with him, but he's crushing on the flamboyantly out-and-proud guy in his grade, who keeps getting harassed by bullies. One day, our protagonist works up the nerve to ask his love interest to hang out, which ostensibly is meant to be casual but inevitably leads to the protagonist coming out for the first time and kissing his new boyfriend.

While our protagonist isn't ready to come out, his boyfriend encourages him to, and ultimately they are functionally outed when they kiss in a public place anybody could walk into and are then surprised by-- who else-- the aforementioned female bestie walking in. She's devastated, of course, not because she's homophobic but because she can't believe her friend would keep this from her, and she's shattered at the lost possibility of dating him.

The love interest who pressured our protagonist into coming out now gets a talk in which he realizes that he also wasn't always ready to come out, and maybe it was wrong of him to push someone else's journey. Our protagonist, meanwhile, is coming out, to family who immediately and unquestioningly accepts him. At the climax of our story, our two leads kiss, are found by the aforementioned bullies, get harassed, and then at last stand up for themselves and scare the bullies off for good. Oh, and the out-and-proud kid's homophobic dad? Well, even though it's been years, this month-long period was exactly the time he needed to go from harassing his son to being a wingman. Go team!

...Admittedly, I've heard this one before. I'm not against doing conventional LGBT stories, and I think especially for people who are DC fans there is value to having that canon include not just a gay character but a BLACK gay character-- especially one who is at no point a victim of racism in this story, so readers can just enjoy a hopeful narrative for him. With that said, I do struggle to empathize with DC commissioning the simplest, most 2010s story in 2020, when we were getting a dozen books a year about Black LGBT people across genres. There aren't enough, yes, but all the more reason to invest in a really beautiful and complex story instead of something this simple. It just didn't work for me, even as wish fulfillment-- and people who know me know I fucking LOVE wish fulfillment. Throwing in super powers should have separated this one from the pack, but they just felt kind of tacked on over the top of everything else. I guess I feel that nothing new was really said.

On top of that, I'm not personally a huge fan of Maroh's art style. I did know that going in-- I've read Blue is the Warmest Color-- but in this case it still felt off proportionally (at least re: the people) and the pages just seemed flat, in part because the book is essentially half done in these greyish ochre colors and half in still fairly desaturated blues. The speech bubbles are also pasted on top of the art, possibly because Maroh is French, but still, it felt out of place .

I never rate a book below 3 stars, though, if I managed to get through it and it has no major issues. Maroh's art appeals to many, including major critics, so it may be a personal taste thing. The plot, while (IN MY OPINION) bland, is also inoffensive. My critique is mainly that I wish the art was more visibly effortful, particularly in the use of color, and that I wish the plot was more unique in some way.

...but you know I've got a nitpick so here's my nitpick spoiler moment:

So, in short, just personally mediocre to me. I completely understand why other people love it. It just wasn't doing it for me because it's so simplistic-- when I picked it up I honestly thought it was a self-pub title because of the cover and art style and whatever else, so I was surprised to see it was DC. I agree with others, though, that it lacks the excuse of the 2010s for what it's doing and simply doesn't hold up to both its own story potential and everything else that's out there.
Profile Image for Dakota Morgan.
2,327 reviews28 followers
January 12, 2021
You Brought Me the Ocean offers a surprisingly potent mix of superhero nonsense and teenage self-discovery. I assumed the self-discovery aspects would be excellent considering the author and artist's credentials, but was surprised that Jake Hyde's (Aqualad) burgeoning water abilities played a key role in the plot. Gay romance and superheroics don't often go hand in hand, but the combo really does work in You Brought Me the Ocean.

I even appreciated Julie Maroh's artwork, which is decidedly not suited to large-scale superhero battles. Her emotional style offers superb facial expressions and is well suited to a story about a search for identity. Between the engaging content, gentle application of superpowers, and tender artwork, You Brought Me the Ocean is easily one of my favorites of the DC YA graphic novels.
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