Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.
Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.
In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.
He only hopes there isn't a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.
I loved this book hard core and...so did my husband and he didn't even read it...not really. But I was so taken with this story that I did something I don't often do, I rambled perpetually about it to him and because he's patient and loves me, he sat and listened.
'Shelter the Sea' is Heidi Cullinan's follow up story to 'Carry the Ocean' and like 'Carry the Ocean' it's a story that is touching and burrows its way into your heart but it's also a story with such an important message...a message that is both current and relevant to our times. It's through Emmet and Jeremy's eyes that we get to see what it means to live in a world that's geared towards people who are on 'the mean' while bypassing the percentage of society out there whose needs are different but whose right to have the same quality of life as those who are on 'the mean' is real and not only to be met but safeguarded from those who would deprive them of what many consider basic human rights.
Emmet, Jeremy and their friends set out to protect the lives they've made for themselves at the Roosevelt, but not just their lives also the lives of their friends and so many other people with special needs. As their home state restructures its health care system into something that will make it even harder for people with special needs to receive the care and assistance that would enable them to have the quality of life that everyone is entitled to and many simply take for granted.
'Shelter the Sea' isn't a story that messes with the HEA that Emmet and Jeremy were so firmly headed towards in 'Carry the Ocean'. It's a chance to see Emmet and Jeremy as they grow as a couple fitting their lives firmly into each others. Loving and supporting each other both in their good moments and their bad. Like any other couple keeping their happily ever after is something that they need to work at on a day to day basis and the love and support that these two give to each other is so sweet and a lesson for all of us because anything worth having is worth working for and while it's such a simple concept Emmet and Jeremy get it in a way that truthfully eludes many of us who live on 'the mean'.
For me the romance between Emmet and Jeremy is so beautifully portrayed it's sweet and solid and for both of these men it's the foundation from which they draw their strength and support. It's built on friendship, love, faith and respect for and in each other.
This is a beautiful love story about two men willing to take on the world to protect all that they have and hold dear not just their relationship but their friends, their rights and the rights of others who they don't even know but, whom they know need someone to be a voice for them in world that often cares too little and sometimes not at all.
'Shelter the Sea' is a story that needed to be told and more importantly needs to be read and embraced by all and Heidi Cullinan has shown us with the beauty of her words that she was the person who needed to tell it. Thank you Ms. Cullinan from the bottom of my heart for bringing Emmet, Jeremy and all their friends into our lives.
********************A copy of 'Shelter the Sea' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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