Saturday 17 August 2019

Girl. Boy. Sea. By Chris Vick | Book Review & Interview With Chris Vick

The lovely people over at Head of Zeus sent me a copy of Girl. Boy. Sea. by Chris Vick* for the blog tour and I'm SO happy they did because I loved this book.

Girl. Boy. Sea. is such an enchanting, magical and just beautiful story about so many important themes. This is a middle grade book, but please don't let that put you off because I think this book could be enjoyed by adults and children alike.

I really enjoyed this book. I ended up giving it four stars. If you're looking for a beautiful children's book to read this summer, for yourself or for your children, then look no further then Girl. Boy. Sea by Chris Vick.

What is Girl. Boy. Sea. about?

Girl. Boy. Sea. is a middle grade or children's book that follows Bill, a 15 year old boy who gets shipwrecked after a storm off the coast of Morocco. Bill is trapped on his own, on a tiny rowing boat in the middle of the sea. 

Bill recuses a girl, Aya, who was found clinging to a barrel all alone, whose boat was also destroyed after the storm. Together, they trapped on a tiny boat, in the middle of the ocean, just trying to survive. 

To get throughout the grueling, never ending days, Aya starts to tell Bill, stories about The Arabian Nights. But as they land on a desert island and come across someone who is not as he seems, their hopes of survival start to dwindle. 

What did I like about this book?

I really enjoyed this book. It was such a warm hearted, enchanting, magical read. I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading this book, from start to finish.

What I loved most about this book was the themes that it covered. While, yes, it is a middle grade book, the themes it discussed were so important and would resonate with readers of all ages. It discussed survival, hope, but most importantly friendship. 

I absolutely loved Bill and Aya as characters. I loved reading their friendship blossom. This book really centers around the fact that friendships can develop at the most unlikely of times and with the most unlikely of people, but those friendships are still important nonetheless. 

The writing was very simplistic, but that is to be expected of a children's book. However, I loved the descriptions of the settings. I really felt like I was on the boat with them while reading.

What did I not like about this book?

There really wasn't anything I didn't like about this book. The only minor complaint that I had, was that I wish it was longer. But, if its aimed at children, I understand why it was on the shorter side. I would love to read more books in the future, following Bill or Aya, or even both. I think they were both really likable, wholesome characters. 

Who would I recommend this book to?

I would recommend Girl. Boy. Sea. to absolutely everyone. I think that this book will be thoroughly enjoyed by children. It discusses a lot of important topics which send the right messages to children about friendship.

I also think this book would be thoroughly enjoyed by adults and young adult readers. Its magical, whimsical and overall, just a really enchanting book to read. I think it would also make a perfect summer, beach read, because of the perfect descriptions of the settings. Although, maybe don't read it while your on a boat...

Final thoughts

Overall, I really enjoyed Girl. Boy. Sea and I would highly recommend it for anyone, who is looking for a magical middle grade read.


Q: I absolutely loved the descriptions of the settings in Girl. Boy. Sea. Have you ever got to visit any of the locations in the book? Or had any close encounters with ocean life?
A: Thank you. Yes, I have spent a lot of time in Morocco, and those trips really influenced the last part of the story. The island that features in the middle section of the book, has a geography and geology that is similar to the Canary Islands, where I’ve also been a number of times.
Of course the main location is the sea itself, and as a surfer and through my work in marine conservation I’ve seen it in all its moods, from the most ferocious winter storm to the calmest turquoise lagoon.

All that said, there is something mythic and magical about the way such ‘ real’ places feature in Girl.Boy.Sea too; something not quite fantastical, but more than real.
And yes, I’ve had plenty of encounters with ocean life; the scene with the whales is based on my most memorable, being in a tiny boat off the east coast of America, surrounded by some very active, full breaching humpback whales. It was whale soup! It was awe inspiring, and a little bit terrifying, when one erupted from the sea, right in front of us. I’ve seen every kind of bird and fish you can imagine, turtles in the Maldives and sharks in Morocco. It was from the land, but in a spot we’d been surfing just the day before.
Q: I also really loved the themes of friendship in Girl. Boy. Sea. Were Bill and Aya based on anyone you know in real life?

A: Now I think about it, Bill probably has quite a lot of my teenage self in him, which is possibly unavoidable when you write first person.

Aya is, in some ways, the most ‘fictional’ of all the characters in my books, though she arrived in the story and in my imagination very well formed, and never really changed in the re-drafts, (which is unusual.)

Q: I love reading children's books despite being an adult, is there any main message that you would love readers to take away from the story?
A: I’m wary of messages to some degree. Books with too clear a moral point can oversimplify the rich, messy, complexity of the world. However, of course there are themes and values, which are a key part of the book. So what might they be? The power and vulnerability of Nature, and of life itself, the strength of friendship, and what we will do for those who matter most to us, the – sometimes – awfulness of the world and the forces that control our lives but which are utterly beyond our control. Perhaps most of all; the idea that the things that are common to all of us, are more important than the differences.
Q: I fell in love with Aya and Bill as characters, do you have any plans for any follow up books or sequels to feature them too?

A: I’m so pleased. We authors want our characters to be loved, even when they are quite flawed. As for a sequel? Hmm. Girl.Boy.Sea. is a very complete story. That said, the ending raises some questions, which could be answered in another story. Let me put it this way; it’s possible, but I’m not planning one at the moment. If I did ever return to that world, those characters, the stories-within-the story, that are such a part of Girl.Boy.Sea. would play an even larger role.

This book comes out on the 8th August, you can order yourself a copy HERE. 

Thank you for reading, as always X

*This book was kindly sent to me by the publisher for the blog tour. However, all opinions are my own and I'm not being paid to write this post. 

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