Welcome to the book tour for Where the Sea Takes Me by Heidi R. Kling. This book is unlike any other YA you would have ever read. And while it is the second book in the series, it can be read as a standalone. I read both books, however, and think you are missing out if you skip the first book. They are both well worth it. Please enjoy an excerpt and my review of both books.
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Where I Found YouAfter her mother's plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call.
Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami.
The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn't anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be… and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her.
A woman he wants for his own.
But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again.
Fortunately, this time, she has a plan.
This book really blew me away. I vividly remember the horrors of the tsunami and indulged in a lot of the stories about it, which were absolutely devastating. One of my kindergartners took it upon herself to start up a collection to help support the orphans left behind in this terrible tragedy, so it took on even more meaning at the time. And you know that the aftermath was not easily contained. I am sure there are still after effects all of these years later.
I think it was brave for Kling to take a step away from the traditional YA romance story and to put hers in this setting. I feel like I learned a lot about what happened to the orphans and what life was like post-tsunami by reading this book. It gave a lot of insight into the culture and the importance of those who wanted to help to remember to abide by the established culture, in order to be able to make a difference.
I understand Sienna's attraction to Deni. He is kind of the bad boy of the group, but more because he is angry at what life has dealt him as opposed to being a bad person. He's intense in his feelings and needs help. I think Sea recognizes some of his pain as she is still trying to come to terms with her mother's death. And by trying to help each other, they may stand a chance at being able to heal.
Their attraction does happen quickly, and you almost wouldn't expect it to get so intense so fast. But they're in an intense relationship. I have to admit that I wanted to jump into the book and throttle them both when they do something drastic to confront Deni's past. I honestly don't know how they managed to pull it off the way that they did, but it's literally a different world over there and was a different time.
They both grow and find a new way to cope with the tragedy and pain in their lives. Both of them have lost who they are, thanks to circumstances outside of their control. But then together, they are able to find themselves again. I see a lot of maturity in them, despite their crazy antics. They both learn and love so much and you just know that they are going to find happiness one day in their lives. They're not quite there yet, but they are definitely well on their way.
I really liked this book because I felt it had more maturity about it than typical crazy bubbly YA romances. Now don't get me wrong; I do get a kick out of those as well. But this was just something wonderfully different. And I am so glad that there is a sequel.
Where the Sea Takes Me
Two years later might as well be two lifetimes.
Sienna’s in college, working hard to achieve her dreams, and trying to love another boy—and halfway succeeding. She’d be totally happy with her life if she could just stop dreaming about him. Deni. The boy she left behind on the shores of Banda Aceh.
When she gets word Deni’s coming to America, Sea’s world shifts. And when he arrives on her doorstep, she's shaken to the core.
Sparks don’t just fly, they soar—and threaten to burn down the new life she’s so patiently, persistently, built.
When they’re both invited to join a relief mission in Cambodia, they jump at the chance to help…and be together. As the time and distance between them melts away in the sticky Cambodian heat, Sienna knows her heart can’t take losing him again.
And that’s exactly what might happen.
Read an excerpt:
In less than two hours, Deni would be in a car with me.
I was going to be sick.
“Sienna.” His right eye twitched. He didn’t wear glasses anymore. After laser surgery (Vera’s idea) he didn’t need them. I still wasn’t used to his eyes without the glass cover. “I honestly don’t know about his wife. I assume she’s still around. Let’s just focus on the fact he’s coming to visit, okay? It’ll only be for a few days. And then, we’re off to Cambodia.” He patted my hand. “This means you won’t get much of a break after finals, but you don’t mind showing Deni around a bit, right?”
Did I mind? It was only what I’d dreamed of for the two years since I tore myself out of his arms on the broken shores of Banda Aceh, no matter how hard I tried to keep the memory of Deni in my past.
“No, it’s okay.” I didn’t want to show him my range of emotion. How torn I felt. How huge this was for me to see Deni again after finally getting ready to move on with Spider. I wouldn’t want him putting Deni in a hotel.
I felt like Dad and I should be on the same page about this summer, though. About what Spider asked.
“Want to hear another thing making this summer interesting?”
“Spider asked me to move in with him.”
Dad choked on a popcorn kernel. “What?” he asked, sputtering. “First Deni is coming, and now a boy wants my daughter to move in with him? Your old dad is going to have a heart attack.”
“Believe me,” I said. “None of this was my idea.”
“Are you and Spider dating? I thought you were just good friends.”
“Well, we aren’t dating, but... He said he wants it to be more.”
It felt weird to talk about this with my dad, but we’d bonded in Indonesia. Things had been a lot better between us since then.
“How do you feel?”
I got up and started to pace. “I like Spider. I always have. But why now? Why did this have to happen the same morning we find out Deni is on his way? I mean, obviously Deni is married but still...having him here will be weird.”
Dad considered me. “Sometimes life presents you with the perfect storm, and it’s up to you to figure out how to navigate your way through it.”
Perfect storm? More like a tsunami.
And I wasn’t ready.
Oh, I am so happy that this story had a sequel. I couldn't help but be left wondering at the end of the first book what was going to happen to Sea and to Deni. They were well on their way to finding themselves again and healing from their own personal tragedies. But of course they both had even more soul-searching and maturing to do. And you knew that they couldn't really be happy apart from each other. And now they have their second chance.
I have to say that I am disappointed in Spider. He was such a good friend to Sienna when they were kids, and I thought he would continue to be so. But now as young adults, he has gotten too wrapped up in her and made a 180 from the friend he had been in the past. Jealousy is not a good look on him.
It's beautiful to see how far Sienna and Deni have come. They are embracing their lives and starting to fulfill their dreams. And now that they are together, sort of going back to their roots, they can find a new manifestation of themselves and their life goals. And that love that they have for each other, which never really went away, isn't going to hurt any.
I admire these two for being so selfless and wanting to do whatever they can to help other people. I don't know that I would have it in me to go to another country like this and take on the missions that they do. Their work is a noble work, especially a particular issue that they undertake as a side gig. They are very brave for standing up for what is right and doing what they can for justice.
I loved reading this installment of their story and am desperately hoping that the series can continue. And while you don't need to have necessarily read the first book in order to appreciate this one, I think you will get a lot more out of it if you do read the first one. It helps you to truly appreciate where they came from and how far they have come in the past couple of years.
About Heidi R. Kling
Heidi R. Kling writes books about normal girls in fantastic situations.
Her debut novel SEA (Penguin/Putnam) was a finalist for Northern California Book of the Year," an IndieNext Summer Pick, Goodreads “Mover and Shaker," Scholastic Reading Pick, and Gateway Reader’s Award Finalist among other generous accolades. SEA, which launched June, 2010, is a bittersweet love story set in the aftermath of the devastating 2004 Indonesian tsunami, and is set to relaunch with Entangled Teen December 4 as WHERE I FOUND YOU (Sea series #1) with its sequel WHERE THE SEA TAKES ME out April, 2018!
After earning her MFA in Writing for Children from the New School in New York, Heidi returned to the Bay Area where she lives with her family in a tiny seaside village like the towns in her books.
She's also the author of the acclaimed PAINT MY BODY RED (for fans of Speak and 13 Reasons Why), bestselling romantic comedy NOT OKAY, CUPID and the Spellspinners of Melas County series about feuding witches and warlocks.
Please visit her on twitter (Heidi R. Kling) where she loves to live-tweet TV shows, overuse gifs and chat with her readers about books, love and travel. She's very fortunate to write stories for a living and is grateful to you for reading them!