A Crack in the Sea — 7 Comments

  1. I found A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman to be a very enjoyable book. I love the author’s personal tone in narrating and felt like I was being told an engrossing tale by an excellent story teller. I enjoyed the mix of fantasy and reality the author chose to incorporate in this story. I found the second world to be incredibly imaginative and loved the powers of many of our characters. The story line concerning Thanh and crew escaping from Vietnam was exciting and I learned something about this sad part of history. The illustrations were striking and a lovely addition to the book. There are enough hints of the truly terrible things that happen to refugees as well as the atrocities that occurred on slave ships to make this book more appropriate for upper elementary to middle school aged kids. The message that people have inherent worth regardless of their circumstances was beautiful and timely. I would certainly recommend this book for pleasure reading, especially for students that enjoy longer, more complex fiction with elements of fantasy. 5 stars.

  2. I just finished this book and I did enjoy parts of it. The three stories being woven together was interesting. I did find it somewhat hard to follow at times and I am not sure how my 5th and 6th graders would do with it. 4/5 stars

  3. This book took me in a lot of unexpected directions. After reading the first few pages, I was so excited to keep going. I was anticipating something along the lines of Wildwood by Colin Meloy as I saw parallels between Kinchen and Pip of this book and Prue and Mac of Wildwood. However, when the kidnapping of Pip was explained/resolved, it was then that I started seeing parallels with another book, Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. I was reminded of Wonderstruck with all of the interwoven plotlines spanning history from Kinchen and Pip, to Thanh and Sang, to Venus and Swimmer.

    I enjoyed this book but not as much as I thought I would when I first started reading it. That may have been because I was reminded so much of some other books that I have read that I had a hard time appreciating this book for what it was. I like the individual stories of the characters but I feel that the process of linking those stories together could have been improved upon. There are truly a lot of characters and plot lines to hold in your head and link together. I feel the “big reveal” could have been a little bit more fantastic.

    That being said, I did really like how Bouwman used some of the more “sour” points of American history (slavery and the Vietnam War) and used them as inspration for her fantasy. Like she pointed out in the afterward, it’s important to remember that real lives were lost in horrific and tragic ways during these periods, but it’s still an interesting spin to the question of “what if?”

    I would recommend this book for pleasure reading to students who are avid readers, those students who devour books, who aren’t afraid of big books, and who enjoy a more complicated plotline.

    Overall rating: 4.5/5

  4. I enjoyed this book. I thought it was a good mix of history, fantasy, and adventure. I liked that it discussed various pieces of history – slavery, Amelia Earhart, the Vietnam War, and slave ships. I also liked that it emphasized that everyone has different gifts and talents.

  5. I loved this book! It tells the story of 2 worlds and several cultures brought together with a touch of magic. There is tragedy, love, sacrifice and finding oneself, brought to the surface through great characterization and historical accuracy. Unfortunately world history is not safe or comfortable, but we must remember the past in order to make a better future. 5 stars.

  6. I personally enjoyed this book, but I would not recommend it for my students for either curriculum use or for pleasure reading. I enjoyed figuring out how the different parts of the story would come together at the end; but I work with struggling 5th and 6th grade readers and I think that the way the story jumps around would be extremely difficult for them to follow. I also felt that some of the content was inappropriate for students that age. I would give this book 3 stars.

  7. I just finished this book last night. Unfortunately I would not recommend this book. The author did a nice job of weaving the three stories together, but I did not like the content of this book. I felt this book was to graphic for kids in grades 3-5. The hidden meanings of what happens to girls in slavery and in Vietnam is not appropriate. I would not recommend this for curriculum use or for student pleasure reading. I will not be purchasing this book for my school library.
    I would rate this 2 stars.