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.
Are you ready to read Heidi Cullinan's best work to date? Are you ready to read something so special that you will have to devour it in one sitting? Are you ready to read something so captivating that it will broaden your scope of what M/M can be?
This is my 11th book by Heidi and the first one that I've given 5 stars. That should tell you something.
I have a thing for atypical MCs. Give me a well-written book with a main character that is left from center, and I'm all in. I've read many books with characters that have all sorts of disabilities, ranging from blindness/deafness (I Can See For Miles) to below average intelligence (Muscling Through), to physical differences (All Strings Attached) and beyond. Some of my absolute favorite books have MCs that are different in some way (Forget Me Not, Truth in the Dark, The Mating of Michael).
Carry the Ocean ranks up there with my all-time favorite books.
With not just one, but two MCs that are off the mean (a term I learned from this book), the story had the potential to be disasterish. It could have been uncomfortable, felt forced, or too dark for me to enjoy. Instead, Heidi struck the perfect balance between serious and light, respectful and fun, truthful and relatable. It was everything I wanted and more.
I started this book at 10 pm, and I didn't put it down until 1:30 am. I was completely captivated by Jeremey (extra e) and Emmet. I loved the alternating POV and how it gave me great insight to each of them and their particular struggles. I felt CONNECTED to them, and I felt like a part of their relationship.
These boys do not have it easy. I would caution readers who struggle with their own issues, either with depression or anxiety or an autism spectrum disorder, to think carefully before starting this book. It is intense and might strike some readers close to home. But everything that these boys are fighting for, a taste of an independent life and a happily ever after for people who don't necessarily expect to get those things, makes the journey SO worth it. Even through the serious and scary moments, this book made me feel hopeful.
I loved this book simply for the romance, but also for the insight it gave me into the lives of those who struggle every day with things that I take for granted. It was a wonderful, special reading experience, and I think something Heidi Cullinan will be remember for.
**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Enjoy reading, everyone!