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On a Book Bender

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson {Amanda’s Review}

in Contemporary, ESR: 7, Review: Amanda, YA
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson {Amanda’s Review}Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Family, Girls & Women, Parents, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
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Sometimes you have to get lost . . .


The Girl: Clio Ford, seventeen, wants to spend the summer smooching her art-store crush, not stuck on a boat in the Mediterranean. At least she’ll get a killer tan.

The Mission: Survive her father’s crazy antics. Oh, and also find some missing underwater treasure that could unlock the secrets of civilization.

The Crew: Dad’s wacky best friend Martin, his bizarre research partner Julia, her voluptuous daughter Elsa . . . and then there’s Aidan, Julia’s incredibly attractive, incredibly arrogant assistant.

What’s going on behind Aidan’s intellectual, intensely green eyes, anyway?

As Clio sails into uncharted territory she unveils secrets that have the power to change history. But her most surprising discovery is that there’s something deeper and more cryptic than the sea-her own heart.


. . . to find what you’re looking for

Wanna start calling someone ‘haircut’ now.

My Thoughts on Girl at Sea

I seriously, hardcore love following Maureen on Twitter. This is probably the main reason why I picked up her books to begin with. Last year, I read The Name of the Star and liked it enough to want to try some of her other books. Girl at Sea was my choice. It was fun and lighthearted, which is exactly what I needed at the time. I will definitely be seeking out more Maureen Johnson books.

Oh, man. When the main character nicknamed someone else “haircut,” I knew I was in for a good time. There is a lot about this book that reminds me of following Maureen on Twitter. (Which I love, by the way. She’s amazing and I want to be like her when I grow up.) It makes me wonder if that colors my perception of this book–would I feel the same way about the quirkiness of this book if I didn’t follow Maureen?

Girl at Sea is a pretty standard contemporary. Nothing groundbreaking, but just good fun. It’s more of a feel good book, I think. One you can curl up with and read and not feel dragged down by any overwhelming emotion. Sometimes you need that. (And I did.) I liked some of the underlying messages here and I even liked the love triangle. YES, I JUST SAID THAT. So what? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

Clio (along with the other characters) were fun. I liked the introduction of the past letters here. Though–now that I think about it–there could have been even more, and I wouldn’t have minded. But it was tied in nicely, and I liked that. (But I like the inclusion of history in general, so there’s that.) I don’t think that Girl at Sea ever provides a really in-depth character study, but it doesn’t matter: this book is just plain fun with a side of quirk. I needed something lighthearted, and Girl at Sea hit the spot.


About the author: Amanda, noun: 1. Creator of On a Book Bender and Bout of Books. 2. Editor at The Path of Least Revision. 3. Lover of language and books. 4. Drinker of wine, coffee, and vodka. 5. Idea wrangler and wielder of words.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mary @ BookSwarm January 21, 2013, 7:36 am

    *laughs* I forgot this one had a love triangle. Yeah, it was a relatively typical YA contemp but I do enjoy MJ’s writing, which is alway snappy and fun.

  • Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) January 21, 2013, 9:20 am

    I absolutely love Maureen Johnson! I think I’ve only read one other book by her, Suite Scarlett, but I ADORED it! When I first read The Name of the Star, I had thought that it was her first book — I was so happy to see that she had more out!

    Oh, and I’ve read her story in the Let It Snow book that includes John Green and Lauren Myracle. SO GOOD! Well worth a read during the Christmas holidays. :)

  • Jenny January 21, 2013, 9:34 am

    So what you’re saying is, I need to follow Maureen on Twitter? Done. I want to follow someone who is the person you want to be when you grow up:) And did I actually read that you LIKED the love triangle in this one? *falls down dead* Now I definitely have to read it just to experience a likable love triangle!

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender January 21, 2013, 10:55 am

      Yes! Follow Maureen on Twitter! She cracks me up.

      *clears throat* And, um, yes. I said I liked the love triangle. SHOCKING, I KNOW.

  • Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal January 21, 2013, 9:36 am


    What have you done with Amanda? Amanda, if you’re reading this, I have a very specific skill set, blah blah blah, and I will find you. To save you, not to kill you or anything.


    What was I talking about again?


  • Felicia January 21, 2013, 9:54 am

    Ok with the love triangle? WHAT? :)

    I am teasing. I am perfectly fine with someone being good with triangles! I just can’t handle them —I am just way to stubborn LOL

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender January 21, 2013, 10:56 am

      I KNOW! I think I’m finally just throwing my hands up and figuring that if they’re going to continue being in books, I might as well try to get used to some of them.

  • Paul R. Hewlett January 21, 2013, 11:33 am

    Sounds like a good book, I may have to check it out. Thanks for the review!

    Paul R. Hewlett

  • Ruby January 21, 2013, 12:50 pm

    *Gasps* You loved the love triangle?! The end of the world must be nigh!

    No, seriously–how awesome is Maureen Johnson? I lovelovelove her. She just keeps getting better and better.

  • Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook January 21, 2013, 1:15 pm

    I follow Maureen Johnson on twitter, too, and she is so much fun. I have recently been thinking I need to read more of her books. I read 13 Little Blue Envelopes a number of years ago and really liked it. I definitely want to read The Name of the Star.

    I think I will put this one on hold a the library. I am in the mood for a book like this right now :)

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender January 21, 2013, 8:16 pm

      I liked The Name of the Star! It appeals to my love of mysteries. And history.

      Hope you like this! :)

  • Amy @ bookgoonie January 21, 2013, 5:30 pm

    lol. The planets must have aligned for the triangle to work. I love MJ on twitter too, but I’ve been hesitant to pick her up. Lots of mixed reviews on her books. Since you’ve liked not 1 but 2 MJs, I may need to take the leap.

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender January 21, 2013, 8:19 pm

      I think that if you follow MJ on Twitter, you can expect the same kind of attitude in her writing. Funny, off the wall, sometimes serious, but mostly lighthearted. Good stuff.

  • Sarah (saz101) January 21, 2013, 8:35 pm

    Amanda, this sounds AWESOME.
    Sometimes FUN and simple and HELL IT’S JUST FUN, OK is exactly what you need and and and… Maureen sounds fun, too! I’d never even heard of this one before but totally on my radar now ^__^

  • Nikki Steele January 21, 2013, 8:57 pm

    I think it’s so funny that I heard about MJ on twitter before I ever knew two cents about her books. So fun to hear that her twitter personality matches her book’s personality! Will have to reach for this one, on a beach? On a cruise? On a pajama filled Sunday afternoon? :D

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender January 21, 2013, 9:04 pm

      I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews of MJ’s books. Everyone loves following her on Twitter, but they’re not always fond of her books. (I don’t fall into that camp, though.)

      A pajama filled Sunday afternoon sounds like the perfect time to read this one! :)

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