You Brought Me the Ocean by Alex Sanchez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I liked the premise of the book, unfortunately, this was my least favorite of the four graphic novels that DC Ink provided me for review. I felt that the writing and art were weaker than the other three. Each of these stories were origins for the characters, bringing us into their world when they are teenagers and using the classic coming of age theme. This is an easy read and it is enjoyable, if not engaging.
Jake struggles with a lot of things in this story from who he wants to be versus his family and friends’ expectations to understanding himself. I think the themes were incredibly important and could have been so powerful and impactful, unfortunately; it fell short for me. Part of his struggles come from grappling with his identity. I appreciated the authenticity of it and I feel that it will resonate with readers. I would just like to warn that there are negative comments and violent actions surrounding being gay, or even different, in this book and that could be offputting to some readers. A character is physically harmed for being different and I just want readers to be aware of that.
My favorite character (or characters) were side ones, like Kenny and his dad – rather than Jake, his mom, or his best friend. Honestly, my favorite part of the graphic novel was towards the end when Kenny’s dad suggests that he go outside to water some plants. I am interested to see how Jake takes on the mantle of Aqualad, since I have never read any Aqualad stories – but I found him to be forgettable. Jake’s mom was understandably protective, but I felt like it crossed a line. His best friend Maria oscillated between likable and controlling, but I wish that she allowed him more agency because friends should respect each other’s choices if they’re following their heart and doing what is best for them – rather than trying to force them to be something that they’re not.
I waited for a while to write this review to see if it grew on me, but it did not. While still an enjoyable story, it lacked when compared to Wonder Woman, Nightwing/Robin, and Superman’s stories. It is a good story, but I honestly wish that the art and writing had been taken on by different individuals. Art is incredibly important in graphic novels and I just didn’t connect with this one. That being said, other people might love it. It’s all personal taste so don’t let my feelings stop you from giving this graphic novel a chance!
The digital version of this graphic novel was provided to me by DC Ink, but that does not affect my review in any way.
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