For someone who has always lived close to the Jersey Shore, I’ve only been there twice. And out of those two visits, I’ve only been to the boardwalk once. I was 12 and it was the first time I discovered chocolate dip ice cream cones. Which are basically the best thing ever.
It’s a good memory.
This book, this story about the Jersey Shore, does not bring the warm and fuzzies.
Don’t fall, Ethan scrawls in red permanent marker across the rides and signs of Sea Town. Since his brother Jason’s death, Ethan can’t let go of his big brother.
Don’t fall, Rachel reads as she prepares to dump back into the ocean the shells her brother Curtis collected. Curtis had Down syndrome, but that isn’t why he plummeted to his death from the Rock-It Roll-It Coaster.
Together, Ethan and Rachel are about to discover just how far a man will go to protect his kingdom.
No warm and fuzzies here.
What Intrigued Me: I’m drawn to dark stories. What can I say, I’m a reading masochist. So the combination of grief, mystery, coverup, and the desperation to protect power appealed to me. And it’s a beach read! Well…if that beach was covered in debris after a storm. So a beach read for people like me, who don’t really like summer.
Also, can we talk about that title? It’s just so delightfully creepy (especially with the gorgeous cover art). And I cannot resist creepy.
What Hooked Me: I enjoy head hopping (or perspective hopping, in this case). I like seeing all the viewpoints in a story and piecing the puzzle together. And OBATBOTBOTS does a lot of head hopping. Mostly the story is told from Rachel and Ethan’s alternating points of view, intercut with Jason’s diary entries, jumbled in with a few other people’s POVs. Which makes sense to me, there are a lot of sides to this mystery. So why not see them all and come to your own conclusions.
What Made Me Fall In Love: OBATBOTBOTS (Wow, even the acronym is a mouthful) doesn’t sugar coat. If anything, it scrapes the sugar off the idealized version of summer, cutting you in the process. It deals frankly and realistically with grief and love and responsibility and mistakes and justice. It poses more questions than it answers and doesn’t bother to hold your hand and reassure you that everything’s going to be all right.
It’s quiet and introspective and even the happy parts are still shaded with sorrow. But it’s hopeful, and that’s a feeling you carry with you after the final page.
Our Brothers at the Bottom of the Bottom of the Sea is available now online and at your local bookstore. Grab a copy before summer ends.