Title ~ Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt Book 1)
Author ~ Heidi Cullinan
Publisher ~ Samhain Publishing
Published ~ 7th April 2015
Genre ~ M/M Contemporary Romance
Normal is just a setting on the dryer.
The Roosevelt, Book 1
High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.
But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.
As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.
Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.
On Tuesday 31st March we’ll be hosting Heidi Cullinan’s official blog tour for her amazing new book Carry the Ocean.There will be giveaways and cool stuff so make sure you bookmark that date!
Macky has been totally blown away by Emmet and Jeremeys (no that’s not a spelling mistake, lol) story and can’t wait to tell you exactly why, so we’re posting her review today. Lucky Macky!!!
“Everybody, needs somebody/everybody needs somebody to love” The Blues Brothers.
Reading this amazing book I was always just a sniff away from a good cry. How I actually managed to see what I was reading I don't know, because for pretty much the entirety of the book my vision was blurred with tears constantly welling in my eyes, but as much as I was teetering on the edge, I also found myself grinning like a fool; delighting in the eccentricity and magnetism of 'Train Man' Emmet David Washington.
"My name is Emmet David Washington. I'm nineteen years old, and I'm a sophomore at Iowa State University studying computer science and applied physics. I got a perfect score on my ACT. I'm five feet nine inches tall with dark hair and blue-grey eyes. I enjoy puzzles and The Blues Brothers. I'm good at computers and anything to do with math. I remember almost anything I read and see. I'm gay. I love trains, pizza and the sound of rain.
I also have autism spectrum disorder."
It's pretty obvious from the moment you meet him that this is going to be an emotionally uplifting story. He's an amazing, lovable character, meeting life head on despite the idiosyncrasies of his autism; the ones that tend to make some people nervous and wary of him. He rocks, hums and flaps his hands when he's upset or nervous, can't maintain eye contact, doesn't always like being touched, uses both language and visual signs when it's hard for him to vocalise his feelings, counts to calm himself and is sensitive to the general noises, smells and everyday life experiences that most of us take for granted. His world is 'loud' but not in the sense we know. He's also painfully honest, literal to the point of bluntness and off the scale smart. But he can also recite the whole of The Blues Brothers movie from memory, do the iconic Palace Hotel Ballroom dance that Jake and Elwood does at the end of the film ( I LOVE that scene), make beautiful animated patterns from computer codes and read or see anything that's in his peripheral vision. Emmet is a force to be reckoned with. An ingenuous genius with autism superpowers ...and I adored him!
Jeremey is the quiet, sad looking boy from across the train tracks, who has caught Emmets fascination and interest. He wants to get to know him desperately, but more than that he has a major crush on the gentle boy with the extra 'e' in his name and wants him to be his boyfriend. When the opportunity finally comes around for them to meet face to face it's the beginning of a momentous life changing journey for both of them and a very special reading experience for anyone who has the pleasure to add this to their library. It had me emoting all over the place.. I swear to god I'm filling up now, just thinking about the two of them as I'm writing this review!
It turns out that Jeremey is suffering from severe clinical depression, the 'invisible' disease that hides behind a mask of normality. He's a lost soul, struggling alone because nobody around him wants to admit there's anything wrong. His parents in particular choosing to ignore the fact that their son is floundering badly, until an unexpected saviour arrives in the shape of Emmet, who in his own special way gives Jeremey a reason to fight through the fog of his depression and anxiety but even with his unique boyfriend in his corner, its an uphill struggle and if anyone broke my heart it was Jeremey. Bless him.
On paper, as a potential couple, their wildly opposing personality traits really shouldn't gel at all, and they do have personal trials to cross and outside opposition to contend with along the way, but it’s like they’re made for each other. They have the most amazing love and support from the people in their lives who shine as supporting characters because they embrace their differences; treating them with respect and embracing their unique 'normal' and because of that sheer magic happens between the pages of this endearingly quirky story, making what follows poignant and touching, but also uplifting, funny and just plain delightful. For example if he's agitated or nervous, Emmet can't always physically verbalise what he needs to say to Jeremey so they text each other even if they're in the same room, and it was moments like those that were priceless and sweetly funny. Plus the fact that they have to put their initials in front of each comment so they know who is talking, was even more precious. Pure Emmet wisdom!
"J: But why would you want me to clean my room?
Now he looked exasperated.
E: Your room is messy. I want to kiss you in your room, but I can't until it's clean. So I want to clean your room. Because I want to kiss you."
Of course Emmets autism and Jeremey's depression are a major part of the novel, their conditions and constant battles to overcome the disorders that shape their lives the core of the plot, but it's also a love story and a gorgeous one to boot. Heidi sensitively plotted it and made it one of the sweetest, most touching pairings I know I've ever read and that's why my emotions were so close to the surface throughout. Mostly I found myself wanting to cry because it was so realistically depicted. Little things like the signs and codes Emmet would use to express himself to those important to him, moving and adorable moments between him, Jeremy, and his mum and dad; whose love for their special son shone in every interaction they had together...those were the emotional triggers for me. I fell in love with these two soul mates and their voices, as they gave me their story in alternative POV's, which worked perfectly for this book. I could fill this review with quotes and examples of what makes it the special story it is, but you really need to savour them for yourselves.
I can't recommend this enough. I absolutely LOVED it. Beautifully written and thought provoking, I gained a deeper understanding of Autism and depression and it just reinforced my own thoughts about what really is normal in a world where people tend see the disability but not the person inside! Exactly what is normal? The way that the The Blues Boys theme is mixed in couldn't have been more perfect for Emmets personality and played a big part in the inspiring ending that had me welling up again! I swear my tear ducts were on overdrive with this one.Then there's David...who you'll get to meet and who I'm pretty certain we'll get to see when The Roosevelt Apartments open their doors again. I cannot wait!
When this is released don't even think about it just click that buy button because this is an absolute must read. I admit to being in awe of Heidi Cullinans writing skills. She wins me over every time…Perfection!
Pre Order Links
Currently available at Samhain for the reduced pre order price of $3.85 (normal price $5.50). Price correct at time of posting.