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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Even science goes haywire sometimes, Miles"
Set against the backdrop of Washington's Puget Sound, The Highest Tide is an exquisite coming of age story of that uses the mysteries of the life aquatic as a backdrop. Miles O'Malley is a special thirteen year old who has a talent for identifying all sorts of strange sea creatures.
Miles is somewhat of a child protégé, a speed reader from an early age,...
Published on 4 Sep 2005

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
I was given a glowing review of this book from a friend, but was more than a little disappointed. The whole story just felt vague and inconsequential. None of the characters seemed anything than just bit-part players in the main characters story. The young boy seemed only an excuse for the author to regergitate his (obviously vast) knowledge of sea life. Page after...
Published on 1 Aug 2006 by Ca55idy


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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Even science goes haywire sometimes, Miles", 4 Sep 2005
This review is from: The Highest Tide (Hardcover)
Set against the backdrop of Washington's Puget Sound, The Highest Tide is an exquisite coming of age story of that uses the mysteries of the life aquatic as a backdrop. Miles O'Malley is a special thirteen year old who has a talent for identifying all sorts of strange sea creatures.
Miles is somewhat of a child protégé, a speed reader from an early age, who loves to quote beloved nature writer Rachel Carson, he seems more obsessed with identifying the creatures of the tidal flats outside his home than mucking around with boys his own age. His encyclopedic knowledge of the ocean enables him to collect specimens that he sells to aquariums and to local restaurants in Olympia.
All that changes the summer before his 14th birthday, when Miles hears a strange sound. He soon finds himself face-to-face with a giant squid; a species that doesn't live anywhere near Puget Sound. Almost overnight, he's discovering other rarely seen sea creatures in the tidal flats. Suddenly, the young boy is thrust into the spotlight, quickly hailed by his community as a local hero, perhaps even a prophet.
Lately however, the winds of change have been bothering Miles. His working class parents have been hinting at divorce, His mother feels as though she's stranded in her tiny stilted house with an un-ambitious baseball fanatic who still barhops with is high school pals.
His elderly neighbor and best friend, the psychically inclined Florence, is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, and it's not that he can't imagine losing her, but her growing feebleness fits into the fact that he senses that everything is about to shift beneath him.
Miles notices that the bay itself is seemingly shifting into something else - "a trophy view for people rich enough to build houses on the Sunset Estates." He decides that his goal for the rest of the summer is to stop things from changing," to keep my bay, as I knew it intact."
But it doesn't help that Miles is obsessed with local bi-polar girl Rachel Carson. And that fellow friend and partner in crime, Phelps, while intent to impart healthy discussions about "Christy Decker's rack," also nags Miles about sex. The tide begins to rise, just as Florence predicted, and Miles soon finds himself sought after by scientists, journalists, and a group of strange, new-age cult members.
Of course, the young man takes most of this in his stride, as his coming-of-age cleverly coincides with a period of tumult in the ocean and the world around him. Miles never feels sadness on the bay, where the seashells, are as "unique and timeless as bones," where life is much denser in the sea than the air, and where the ocean spits stuff up on the beach, sending us postcards that we don't know how to read yet.
The prose is beautiful: "The albino moon so close and bright it seemed to give off heat," and the narrative philosophy simple and wise: "the wonders of the ocean show that we all die young, that in the life of the earth, we are houseflies, here for one flash of light." Author, Jim Lynch, has not only written a sensitive story of a responsive and remarkable young boy, but he also writes so expertly about the world of the tides.
It's a world where life descends into everything, every crack, every shell, and even between grains of sand. "Life on top of life, barnacles and limpets stuck to oyster shells, clinging to each other, piggybacking on larger shells and barnacles on top of everything." This crisp and clean world utterly captures Miles, and Lynch, through his delicate and intuitive storytelling, ensures that we are captured too. Mike Leonard September 05.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 21 Oct 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Highest Tide (Paperback)
If you're looking for a novel that's easy reading but still highly intelligent, this is for you. With wholly-believable, three-dimensional characters and a story-line that's both touching and funny, you'll also find yourself fascinated by the descriptions of the weird and wonderful sea-life which forms a major part of this book. The beginning is perhaps a little slow, but stick with it. This is a fine novel that's both memorable and unique.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The sea is trying to tell us something. . .", 8 July 2006
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Highest Tide (Paperback)
This is a story about a 13yr old boy who has an immense love for marine life. Miles lives near Puget Sound and spends his time searching the shore at low tide for oddities to collect and sell onto aquariums. Whilst out one morning, he makes a remarkable discovery - a giant squid. Upon finding this rare creature - and he claims it was still alive when he first came across it - he instantly becomes a local celebrity. His knowledge of the sea astounds reporters, and it is with the above quote that Miles captures the imagination of his community. As he continues to make discoveries, and his fame grows, Miles beins to fear that the world as he is used to it is changing. This is a beautiful coming of age story which uses the sea as a breath-taking backdrop.

There is much more to this book than I have described. It really is a book to escape into. Reading it, it made me want to go off to the sea and explore the world that he so eloquently describes. In fact, I have looked up the works by Miles's role model, Rachel Carson. This is a very well written book. The passion that Miles has for the sea comes across very well, but there are also times of humour and tension. Miles's feelings towards his ex-babysitter are touching, as is the friendship he shares with Florence, an elderly psychic. His relationship with both his mum and dad are also very well observed.

This is a great read. The perfect summer book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, 1 Sep 2006
This review is from: The Highest Tide (Paperback)
This is a good book. It's beautifully descriptive with an engaging storyline. I've seen reviews criticising the content in light of world events - but remember this is fiction. This book is a page turner - anyone with an interest in the natural world will share the protagonist's wonder at the things he sees around him, whilst still enjoying an enjoyable yarn. The author conveys thoughts and feelings of a developing young boy faced with the challenges life throws at him.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really heartwarming, lovable read., 18 Sep 2006
By 
Ms. K. M. Lee (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Highest Tide (Paperback)
A wonderfully well written book, with extremely personable characters and great warmth, shining out from page one. The author fantastically intertwines a number of contrasting subjects: from the poignant battle with human deterioration, to the mindset of young teenage boys. Both of which are blended well alongside detailed and poetic descriptions of marine life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be passing it along to my nearest and dearest - and would definitely recommend it to you too!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and totally convincing, 8 Mar 2006
This review is from: The Highest Tide (Paperback)
I read this on holiday - by a beach - which may partly explain why I enjoyed it so much as the story is inspired by a boy's love of the ocean. It was immediately engrossing - it brings to mind The Catcher in the Rye in the way that the central character is so well-defined. This book has made me want to go and learn about life on the shore and has also made me dig out an old copy of Catcher to re-read. I bet someone makes a film of this book - I only hope they do it justice.
Fantasitc.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great book, 4 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Highest Tide (Paperback)
This book sucked me in with its exquisite description, frequent humor and subtle character sketches. It's not an action-type thriller, more of a tale that just sucks you in deep. By the time I was well into it, it literally made me sad to turn the page because it meant I was that much closer to the end. It will change the way you look at the world around you. I definitely will read it again.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not for dim bulbs, 3 Aug 2006
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Shibumi (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Highest Tide (Paperback)
This book was a ripping, but subtle read. The description is so vivid and energizing, it makes you want to head for the shore post-haste. What's less noticeable is the way the author paints deep pictures of character and subplots, using nuance and dialogue as his tools. This was the first time that a book ever made me so ambivalent about turning its pages: I felt joyous anticipation for the next scene or humorous vignette, as well as dread that I was ever nearer the finale. For those who pay attention, this is both powerful and entertaining literature. It is a book you want to read again and again.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed, 1 Aug 2006
By 
Ca55idy (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Highest Tide (Paperback)
I was given a glowing review of this book from a friend, but was more than a little disappointed. The whole story just felt vague and inconsequential. None of the characters seemed anything than just bit-part players in the main characters story. The young boy seemed only an excuse for the author to regergitate his (obviously vast) knowledge of sea life. Page after page we learn about clams, molluscs, worms etc etc, all of which is quite interesting, but not really giving any depth to the character or any develeopments in the story. I also have to agree with another critics comment about the descriptions of the sea sounding like a creative writing course student.

I struggled my way through to the end but quite frankly wish I hadn't bothered.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely well written..., 26 May 2010
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LittleReader (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Highest Tide (Paperback)
What stands out the most about JL's writing is the extensive amount of research he has put into this novel. I now feel (almost) well versed in the findings of the sea! Intricately explained and fascinating, the narrative bubbles from the pages...
Miles feels like an ordinary young teenager until he becomes extraordinary and all of a sudden - by the sighting of some rather strange sea creatures in the bay that he loves - he's thrust into the limelight and hailed a hero/miracle worker/God by the press and the inhabitants of Puget Sound. A bit of a child genius probably, his relationship with his parents is stilted (as most teenagers' tends to be) but his best friend, the elderly, eccentric Florence, with her psychic tendancies keeps his spirit alive...though hers may be fading...
A wonderful read, I thoroughly enjoyed this...
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The Highest Tide: Rejacketed
The Highest Tide: Rejacketed by Jim Lynch (Paperback - 3 Aug 2009)
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