Olive's Ocean Author:Kevin Henkes Olive Barstow had been in Martha Boyle's class ... until she was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding her bicycle. Then Martha finds out that Olive, a girl she never really knew, wrote in her journal about wanting to be friends with Martha, and wanting to be a writer. Martha can't quit thinking about Olive, even when she goes with... more » her family on vacation to the ocean, to stay with her grandmother. In the midst of experiencing first love, loneliness, embarrassment, and fears of her beloved grandmother growing old, Martha allows Olive's death to teach her lessons about living.« less
The fundamental criteria which I look for when reading is whether or not the book speaks the truth. "Olive's Ocean" is an excellent idea and one can say well written, at times. However, it eludes me as to why this book was given a Newberry Medal of Honor. I have a hard time understanding why books which address the issues of a young adult reader, can't be written honestly and without pretense. The protagonist's relationship with her grandmother simply doesn't ring true along with most of the book. In an effort to be relevant to young adult lives, a great book must first and foremost always tell the truth and not coddle or pander in such a flagrant fashion.