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Drawing the Ocean

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  185 ratings  ·  38 reviews
A gifted painter, Sadie comes from California to Connecticut determined to fit in at her new school. Yet her first attempt at making friends in the new town backfires when she reaches out to the loner everyone calls Fryin' Ryan, the very last person who can help her achieve her dream. And to further complicate matters, her twin brother, Ollie, keeps appearing to her, seemi ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Roaring Brook Press
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  185 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Melissa McShane
I enjoyed this book, but it felt a little predictable. New girl comes to town, meets the outcast boy but is then drawn into the in crowd, new girl chooses to be outcast boy’s friend. While the characterization is strong, the roles the characters play in the story are standard. Sadie, the main character, lets events sweep her along rather than standing up for what she wants, whether that’s doing what her new friend Lila finds interesting or going along with her parents’ occasionally unreasonable ...more
nidah05 (SleepDreamWrite)
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was pretty good. What I liked about it is not only the writing style and the characters, her friendship with Ryan and Lila, but its about Sadie and her guilt over her brother's death and what she's going through throughout the story. Wish this was a little longer though. ...more
May 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Drawing the Ocean is Carolyn MacCullough's third novel. Like her others it is geared toward a teen audience. But, like most of the books I review here, I can argue confidently that the writing has enough depth to entertain even snobs who refuse to pick up a YA or Children's novel under any circumstances.On to the actual review:

After moving to a new town with her parents, Sadie is desperate to fit in. Even if certain aspects of her personality seem determined to keep Sadie from calling herself no
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This is really great.

Drawing the Ocean is about Sadie, who has just moved across the country and is worried about fitting in at her new school, especially given two factors working against her: the degree to which she likes art (totally uncool, right?) and the fact that she sometimes speaks to her dead brother in public. It feels real, in a way that a lot of YA books (especially ones about issues) don't. It's quiet and contemplative. It isn't populated by caricatures. It has a lot of subtext, a
Nancy Smith
Apr 19, 2022 rated it really liked it
Even though it was a teen fiction book, I really enjoyed the very real storyline.
Pindari N.
May 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Sadie: Just moved here from California, is sixteen, loves art and hopes to finally be part of the in-crowd when she begins school.
Ryan: or Fryin' Ryan, thinks Sadie is a mermaid, loves poetry, carries a briefcase around and is a total geek that no-one likes, except Sadie–And she only talks to him when no-one is around.
Lila: pretty popular girl who wants to act. She befriends Sadie and introduces her to all sorts of things teens should never do, smoking pot, and (ouch) teaching her to drive in se
This one's a battle secret.

I liked this. I don't remember much else at this point. It's a quiet kind of book, which I like sometimes. But it did feel a little unfinished. I think.
Her twin brother died when they are 12 but she can still see him. He helps her live her life and stay true to herself.
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really amazing book, kind of weird but still very good
Kelsey Bunker
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book and a very sad story. Read it a few years ago, and I loved it!
Dawn Bowers
May 08, 2022 rated it really liked it
This was. YA book, so I wasn’t sure I would like it. It was a beautiful coming off age story with all of the teen angst we can all identify with from our own youth.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Marta Morrison for TeensReadToo.com

I really enjoyed reading this wonderful book.

DRAWING THE OCEAN is the story of Sadie, a high school student, whose family moves from California to the East Coast. Sadie is an artist who loves to draw the ocean, hence the title of the book. It is almost a spiritual thing for her.

She is very nervous about starting a new high school. You know, she is worried about being behind in her studies and having last month's hair. She should be nervous, though
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book has the 3 things all books should have, a compelling story, beautifully written words and wonderful characters. To begin the story feel real since Carolyn brings to life so much real details. All the characters matter in this book and go one with the other. The message in the book is Choice, making the right or wrong call and how it affects you afterwards.

Story is centered around Sadie, she has been relocated to a new town. Like all kids in a new town you want to fit in your new schoo
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully told story, full of the awkwardnesses of discovering who you are and then being true to that. Sadie must come to terms with a tragedy that literally haunts her. This was handled so movingly that I cried more than once. At times cowardly and at others courageous, she is always sympathetic and usually likable.

I fell in love Ryan. He's the type of guy I hung out with in school, and I wished that I could hop through the pages to sit with him during lunch.

Lila, though cold at fi
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sadie lost her twin brother Ollie when they were 12. He wanted her to join him down at the beach where she could draw and paint the ocean. Sadie, annoyed with her brother, told him that you could never paint the ocean because it was always changing. Moments later, regret, pain and loss set in. However, as Sadie goes through the next few years, Ollie's ghost appears - keeping her soul company. Soon the family has moved to a new town, a new school - where Sadie can just blend in and try to have a ...more
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This is one of the books which 'explains' why I read YA. Will LJ properly soon, but this was beautifully written, had interesting characters who seemed as if they might be stereotypes, but turned out to be much more interesting. I loved that Sadie's friend Lila looked like a typical Queen Bee Mean Girl type, and then there was a lot of tension developed around what kind of friends each of them would be to the other. Also loved the fact that there was no big revelation about whether Ollie really ...more
Emi Takami 鷹見えみ
Actual rating: 2.5/5 stars.

Sadie just moved from California to the East Coast. She lives in a nice house on the beach and has an attic studio for her painting. She tries to fit in and be normal, but it's a little hard when her brother Ollie keeps appearing. Even though he's been dead for four years.

Well, let's just say I was expecting more from this book. Mostly it was just bland and generic, but a few of the characters really stood out to me. The ending was well done, too. Everything else was j
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it
The author basically wrote this book because she was fascinated by the concept of twins, and wondered how one would do if the other was no longer around. I think this book was more about a high school girl's experience in choosing between right and popular, all while trying to fit in. There are lots of ambiguous characters who you aren't sure if you like or not throughout the book. Definitely intriguing, and I liked some of the author's wording because it made me laugh out loud. ...more
Grace Mycek
Jul 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wood
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it

This was an excellent look into death, loss and second chances without being too in your face and preachy. It was such a gentle telling of loss, like a feather, instead of a boulder to my emotions. It's not a deep book, but it's still a nice, quiet read.

Sixteen-year-old Sadie still lives in the aftermath of her twin brother's death four years later. She has the chance to start over at a new school and fit in. This is her journey, and I like the decisions she makes.

Mella aka Maron
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was adorable. It's not perfect and it's not legendary but it's one of those books that makes me smile. I loved the characters and most of the situations. And Ryan was the perfect boy. It made me really miss all my high school friends who were crazy and out there, thinking about books and situations, making jokes that only you understand.

I also loved how sometimes Sadie thought in colors. :) Wonderful idea!!
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, 2011
This one sounded better than it actually was. Sadie's life was filled with teen angst and not really interesting even though she saw her dead brother. The most interesting character was Ryan and only because he strove to not fit in by calling all sorts of attention to himself, but in a really weird way. All in all this one was utterly predictable. ...more
Oct 21, 2011 rated it liked it
This was good, although I've seen it done before and better. It's almost like the author was visibly trying her best to write something that would win the Caldicott award--and because of that it simply didn't feel real. However, desipte that slight ring of falsness, the book still managed to be touching. ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Whenever I think of the Ocean, I think of this book, I almost cried when I was reading it, so sad. Whenever I go to the Library I go to where it always is and pull it out. Then I just stare at the cover and read the inside flap a few times.
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: girl-pov
I liked how the book was not centered around her still seeing her brother, even though it contributed to the story a lot. Also I thought the ending felt rushed, but other then that this was a really good book.
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I liked this book, which is well written and compelling. It's slim, though, and felt to me like it could have been fleshed out more. It reminded me a bit of a Sarah Dessen book, except Dessen develops her characters and plots more fully. ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I started this book thinking the main character was much younger than she was, which skewed everything for me. and i felt like the book would be too short to get any feels going, but i got quite emotional towards the end. despite myself i ended up quite liking this.
To be added later.

I read this book as part of the YA/MG Book Battle, and my piece can be found here.
Apr 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
A powerful quiet read for all ages. One of those young adult books that cross all age lines. I really enjoyed this book.
Apr 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is about a girl, who four years after her twin brother died, is still trying to collect her thoughts and become her own person. It made me sad, but did give me some ideas...
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Carolyn MacCullough received her MFA in creative writing from the New School and lives with her husband in Brooklyn.

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