Rummanah Aasi
  I don't really read the newspaper. I'm strictly an 'Arts and Entertainment' section kinda gal. I usually skim the headlines on the front page, but most of the time I don't bother. Why? Because it's the same depressing news: people are dying from gang violence, poverty and war around the world. It's not that I don't care about what's going on, I do, but it's the fact that there's really nothing I can immediately do in order to make it better. I currently found a small way to make things better by volunteering. It's through volunteering that I see my immediate impact and know that I am making a difference. It's also through volunteering that I see the glimmer of hope and goodness that is in all of us. One book that I thought did a good job that portray hope in midst of the horrific and tragic events of the Indonesian tsunami disaster is Heidi Kling's debut novel Sea.

Description: Despite recurring nightmares about her mother's death and her own fear of flying,  Sienna reluctantly accepts her father's birthday gift to fly to Indonesia with his team of disaster relief workers to help victims of a recent tsunami. She never thought the people she met on the trip and her experiences to affect her life so much. 

Review: I really enjoyed this book. At first I was hesitate to see how the whole altruism/volunteering aspect of the novel works in the book. I was afraid of the 1st world country helping the 'backward 3rd world country', which thankfully does not happen at all. Ms. Kling does a great job in both introducing the Indonesian culture and language to the reader. I learned a great deal about the Indonesian culture that I didn't know before. The introduction is done without being condescending.
  While the book not only talks about the disaster and the help relief of the tsunami, it is also a bittersweet, clean romance. While spending two weeks in an Indonesian refugee camp, Sienna meets the gorgeous, brooding, and enigmatic Deni. They both share an instant connection due to their own personal tragedies. The romance doesn't weigh down the book nor is it sappy, but rather it helps Sienna come to terms with her own struggles. Sienna's personal journey through loss, newfound courage, eventual acceptance of the changes in her life, and love sound true in this satisfying debut novel. I look forward to reading other books from Ms. Kling. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are some disturbing images of wreckage that the tsunami caused. Nothing graphic. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
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