Author: Maureen Johnson
Release Date: May 17, 2007
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: Kindle book
Source: Bought it.
Buy It: Amazon
Add It: Goodreads
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.
Like I mentioned a few days ago in my review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I adore themed reads. So... naturally, I read this on a transatlantic cruise that spent half its time in the Mediterranean Sea, which is where this book takes place. I mean, seriously. The reading conditions could not have been more perfect. As Clio lounged around her dad's luxury yacht, I was sitting on my balcony overlooking the Med, picturing everything and totally knowing what she was seeing as I read. Needless to say, I loved this book. But I just loved it because. You know what I mean? There's not a lot for me to say specifically. As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. Maureen Johnson is made of win. She threw in history, mystery, adventure, suspense, romance, and humor. I love all those things!! Honestly, I was not suspecting the adventurous and suspenseful elements in the story. I was pleasantly surprised, and could not tear through the pages fast enough. Oh, and the chapter titles in this book are funny too!
2. I liked Clio a lot, but it took me a while to decide. She spent way too much time complaining about the terrible summer aboard a luxury yacht, with side trips to amazing Italian towns. I mean, come on. Who would NOT want that? She whined too much. But once she decided maybe things weren't so bad, I got to see more of her. She's completely relatable on so many levels. She's an artsy (like me!!) teenager with real concerns about her life, real dreams, and real frustrations. Her parents are divorced, and she hardly sees her dad. So now he's called her up and taken over her summer. She has to leave her job, her crush, her friends, her life, and go float around with a boat full of strangers and her eccentric dad. Of course she's annoyed, and that's part of the fun. Her inner thoughts are so funny, yet so real. I know I'd feel the same way.
3. I also really liked the supporting characters. Clio's dad is so eccentric, it's almost unbelievable. I laughed a lot. I liked Elsa more than I expected. She's this gorgeous, perfect person... haha. I usually dislike characters like that because the focus is on how wonderful they are instead of important things. She was real, and did not act like she knew how pretty she was. Aidan is wonderful. He's a nerd with a mysterious, attractive side as well. His bickering with Clio was too funny.
4. Yes, this is a cute beach read, but it's not all fluff. There's deep issues here, like dealing with a barely-there relationship between a daughter and estranged father and discovering what kind of person you want to be. Clio goes through a lot of self discovery. She has time to think and work things through. I really liked seeing her progress.
5. The book is a little slow in the beginning, but boy does it pick up! Like I said, I was completely thrown off guard with the direction this book went. I loved it, though, and really enjoyed the twists and turns.
6. I found so many quotes I loved! I'm not usually one to write down book quotes, but Maureen's writing just forced a pen into my hand. I had to leave my quote book inside my cabin, since I was worried it would blow off my balcony. I was having to get up and down so many times to go in and write something in it, that I finally just sat on it. Here are some of my favorites:
- "You know things are pretty bad when your mind is having crisis talks with your suitcase."
- "Clio had the strange flash that this was what the person who invented cheese must have been like--a blond goddess."
- "Something about this boat screamed, 'I am a very popular model in the world's oil-bearing regions. I cost more than your soul!'"
- "I've always wanted to be in a relationship based on local sandwiches."
Bottom line, this book made me a Maureen Johnson fan for life. I'll admit, it's the only one of hers I've read... oops! I discovered her on Twitter, and think she's hilarious. And now I love her books too! I'd recommend this to lovers of YA contemporary romances, beach reads, adventurous travels, and treasure hunts.