LoveReading

Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

Only the Ocean

by Natasha Carthew

'new gen' - Great Fiction for Young Adults Relationship Stories

LoveReading View on Only the Ocean

A stunningly original ocean adventure by a one-of-a-kind author whose work defies convention and abounds with a purity of ideas and execution.

Kel was “always running away from something”, seeking escape “from the world she inhabited within and the world that bullied her from the outside”. She’s a swamper, born oceans apart from the wealthy tower people who live in the same Cornish coastal community. She’s also an unforgettable heroine, a girl with danger in her eyes, a baby to care for and “a stupid heart that beat wrong and was shaped wrong and had wrongness stretched clean through it”. Kel “didn’t want what the tower people had; she only wanted two things, a heart she could rely on and freedom from kin”, which is why she kidnaps Rose, the daughter of a cargo ship captain. Kel plans to use her ill-gotten gains to travel to South America to have a heart operation, because in the UK “swamp folk don’t get operations”. Aboard the ship Kel tracks down Rose and forces her to board a smaller vessel, soon running into trouble when the engine fails amidst scenes of devastation on the mainland.

Steering clear of well-worn clichés, Carthew’s stories cut to the heart of human experience, often portraying and championing life’s underdogs and outsiders. What a thrilling, thought-provoking novel this is, brimming with perilous encounters, and the rawness of real-life relationships.

Joanne Owen

Only the Ocean Synopsis

Breath-takingly fierce, smart and tender, Only the Ocean is a story of survival and courage in the midst of darkness that will thrill fans of Patrick Ness and Sarah Crossan. The two girls sat at opposite ends of the boat and Kel dug and stretched the oars into the ocean like her life depended upon it because it did. `Just so you know,' said Rose, `everything, and I mean everything, is your fault.' Kel Crow lives in a dead-end swamp with her deadbeat family and a damaged heart. But she has a plan to escape. It's a one-two-three fortune story that goes: stow away on the ship, kidnap the girl, swap the girl to pay for passage to America and a life-saving operation. But the ocean is an untameable force, and wrecks ships and plans alike ... Sweet, raw and uncompromising - this is the story of an unforgettable relationship forged on an epic journey.

Only the Ocean Press Reviews

I was absolutely cheering on Kel and Rose by the end of their stormy salt water odyssey! Wonderful, mesmerising, immersive story telling - Hilary McKay, author of The Skylarks' War

I loved Only the Ocean. It's about a girl who is trying to escape from a dreadful life and an entire deck of cards stacked against her. It's about a girl whose idea of escape and what it could look like has been severely limited by that dreadful life. It's about a dawning sexuality overcoming past trauma and it's about the new, hitherto unimagined, escape routes that love can bring. This all comes wrapped up in Carthew's singular and poetic style, awareness of nature and use of dialect. I thought it was wild and raw and truly, truly beautiful. - Jill Murphy, The Bookbag

Steering clear of well-worn cliches, Carthew's stories cut to the heart of human experience, often portraying and championing life's underdogs and outsiders. What a thrilling, thought-provoking novel this is, brimming with perilous encounters, and the rawness of real-life relationships - LoveReading4Kids

An intriguing LGBTQ story about survival and fortitude, with a fierce protagonist at its heart - Culturefly

Praise for Winter Damage;

A heart-rending quest story about children in a bitterly cold, climate-changed Cornwall, searching for the everyday comforts and love of the world so recently lost - Independent -

Praise for The Light That Gets Lost;

Gripping stuff, Carthew's prose has a startling ferocity - The Telegraph Best Books of 2015

A vivid, imagistic language - Financial Times

If you loved this, you might like these...

Chinglish
The Black Flamingo
Crossfire
The Boy in the Black Suit

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781408868614
Publication date: 08/08/2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781408868607
Publication date: 01/11/2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781408868614
Publication date: 8th August 2019
Author: Natasha Carthew
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 272 pages
Genres: NewGen - YA Fiction, Relationship Stories,
Categories: General fiction (Children's / Teenage), Adventure stories (Children's / Teenage), Romance & relationships stories (Children's / Teenage),

About Natasha Carthew

Natasha Carthew was born and raised in Cornwall, where she still lives with her girlfriend of nineteen years. Natasha had three books of poetry published before her first novel, Winter Damage, came out in 2013. Winter Damage was nominated for the 2014 Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for several other awards including the prestigious Branford Boase Award.  Natasha is a country writer who does all of her writing outside – whatever the weather – in a cabin built from scrap. 

More About Natasha Carthew

More Books By Natasha Carthew

Cover for Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew
Cover for The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew
Cover for Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew
View All Books By Natasha Carthew

Share this book