Book Review: To Hear The Ocean Sigh

260539361To Hear The Ocean Sigh by Bryant A. Loney

Series: Standalone

Published by Verona Booksellers on April 21, 2015

Genres: ARC & Review Copies, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Fiction, Mental Illness, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

Pages: 276

Rating: ★★★.25

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository


Jay Murchison believes he is a nobody at his high school in Oklahoma. Coming from a conservative family of affordable luxury, Jay has an overwhelming desire to become something great. After a mysterious girl named Saphnie in North Carolina mistakenly texts him, an unlikely relationship develops that affects Jay’s self-perception and influences the rest of his sophomore year. This correspondence leads him to a group of thrill-seekers who provide a grand departure from the quiet life Jay is familiar with and eye-opening experiences to witness first-hand the truth behind the loose morals his fellow classmates have come to know.

In a story filled with injustice, hope, hatred, love, grief, and understanding, readers will ask themselves what it truly means to hear the ocean sigh and learn of the dire consequences that come with its responsibilities.



Critical Rating: ★★★.5

Entertainment Rating: ★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★.25

Plot:  Slow paced | Takes time to get into | Well flowing

Characters: More likeable as the story progresses | Some are more developed than others | Realistic

World Building: Modern Society | Reflected well on prejudices | Day to  day life

Writing: Simple yet beautiful | Deeper undertones | Thought provoking


*I received a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.   


To Hear The Ocean Sigh was another one of those books that caused so many mixed feelings to occur. I loved how realistic is was but on the other hand, it was way too similar to Looking For Alaska by the infamous John Green with splashes of The Fault in Our Stars on the side. (If you know me by now, you would know that I am not a big fan of his works. I gave it LFA 1 stars and TFIOS 3 stars…) However, I’ll graciously applaud the fact that it was well written for an extremely young author, but it definitely wasn’t anything that blew me away. 

The story is told in first perspective from Jay Murchison, a teenage boy attending high school in Oklahoma. I must admit that I was eagerly anticipating finally getting to read a book from a male’s PoV. While there are some authors who choose to write from this perspective, it is still a rare gem to find within the young adult genre. Contrary to my excitement, Jay wasn’t anything like I anticipated. He wasn’t funny  or attractive or popular. He was normal. I wasn’t a particular fan of him at first, but as I delved more into the story, I realized that I was connecting to his problems and that I liked him because he was normal. He was like any other kid I would find in my school. 

“Life’s all about perspective kiddos, and when your perspective breaks expectations, you’d be surprised at what you can discover.”

Unfortunately, the development of the side characters in the story extremely varied. Whereas the major characters were fleshed out and three dimensional, smaller side characters fell flat with only one or two memorable qualities. I did have some problems remembering who certain characters were, and had to flip back a couple of times as they quickly fled my mind after their entrance.

The overall pacing and story line of To Hear The Ocean Sigh was unlike most contemporaries. There wasn’t a specific structure the author followed and all of the events seemed to unfold naturally and realistically. There wasn’t as much romance as there were messages and deeper undertones about friendship, family, loss, and what it all means to be a hurt and lonely teenager. There were also some thought provoking quotes embedded within the novel that forced me to continuously have this book on my mind. I really loved the writing of this book. It was simple yet beautiful and I felt that it portrayed the thoughts of a teenage boy perfectly.

“Even if all someone ever reads is fan fiction, any form of writing is a beautiful thing, and we must not waste precious time trying to understand the intentions of the author. Rather, we should decide what the story means to us. “

However, there were some qualities of the book that made me dock down a couple of stars. First off, the almost parallel lines it had to other contemporaries made me think “not this again…” I am honestly so sick of cliche books, copying each other in some way or another, pretending that they are unique by switching the names of the cities or the mental health of a character. I want something other than the typical things that ALL YA books seem to have. Nevertheless, To Hear The Ocean Sigh was a cocktail of a more likeable version of Alaska from Looking for Alaska with the newly formed An Imperial Affliction (Rudderless at Sea). There were SO MANY similarities regarding the role the book played forming the character’s relationships, as well as how much the connection to the authors meant to the respective characters. Additionally, unlike An Imperial Affliction that appeared in TFIOS, there was not enough background information on Rudderless at Sea. As an avid reader, I wanted to know what the characters were talking about when they were discussing the book, yet the author failed to give us any guidance.

All in all, To Hear The Ocean Sigh was a successful debut novel from a inspiring teenage author. While there are seemingly many similarities to other YA contemporaries, the things that made this book stand out was how realistic the characters were and the message it sends to both young adults and parents alike. Filled with the struggles and realistic anxiety of growing up, I would recommend this book to fans of male PoVs with a diverse cast of characters. 


Have you read To Hear the Ocean Sigh or are you planning to? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Thanks for reading lovelies xoxo,

-Jenna <3-

Find me here!



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