Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Book Review: "You Brought Me the Ocean" by Alex Sanchez and Julie Maroh

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!

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