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Normal is just a setting on the dryer.
High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he’s autistic.
But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When his untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility nearby.
As Jeremey finds his feet at The Roosevelt, Emmet slowly begins to believe he can be loved for the man he is behind the autism. But before he can trust enough to fall head over heels, he must trust his own conviction that friendship is a healing force, and love can overcome any obstacle.
Warning: Contains characters obsessed with trains and counting, positive representations of autism and mental illness, a very dark moment, and Elwood Blues.
If there ever were an author that can take the most extreme disorder – kink, fondness for Disney or just whatever that is outside the norm and create worlds and characters that have it so that you get it. That you understand and have more compassion, empathy and just everything that you could ever imagine, it would be Heidi Cullinan.
My name is Emmett David Washington. I’m nineteen years old… I have autism spectrum disorder.
I love Emmett, beyond the beyond. The boy is amazing and all that he does is amazing. The boy is wicked smart and when he wants something, he goes for it. I loved his signs and his shirts and his signals. I loved that he studied Jeremy and knew he had feelings for him though there wasn’t a logical explanation for it. Emmett and his honesty were a delight, even when he was being rude to his mother or Carol, it was a joy because it was SO Emmett. His protective nature over Jeremy was intense and sweet and gorgeous. Good lord, I am in love with this boy.
Nobody ever asked me what it’s like to have depression. Everyone treated me like a freak and wrote me off. Everyone until Emmett.
Jeremey, I loved him as well and he also scared the crap out of me. He is not only depressed but he has anxiety disorder and some of the scenes with Jeremy were intense. Reading is a personal experience and as an emotional reader like myself, the emotions from the characters can come off the page and affect you mood. This has never been truer for me than this book. It was heavy, almost too heavy for me to finish but I loved being with the boys and had to know how it all would come together in the end.
Forgive me for this chaotic review, but this book was a lot for me. Without going into TMI I am part Emmett and part Jeremy. I don’t have autism but I have a diagnosed level of OCD and no, I am not saying they are the same, but some of how Emmett copes with things, are how I do. Then there is Jeremy. I knew from the blurb he had depression but reading about Jeremy’s depression and social anxiety began to trigger mine. Yeah, I am diagnosed with those as well, so this book for me was one huge trigger that had me reading very slowly and being on a different level with it than I imagined I would be at the start.
As I was reading, I was curious and cautious about how these two would get into a relationship but it was beautiful. At one point in the story it reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Benny and Joon. The friendship and romance between Emmett and Jeremy was just as sweet, just as endearing and yes just as romantic. I adored the rolls the boys played in one another’s lives and how those they meet at The Roosevelt created a new family for them and taught them more than they ever imagined.
There is no normal, not really. Not a right and a wrong way to be. But there is belonging.
There is so much in this that was hard for me to read and I am 99.9% sure it won’t be for others but I am a mess for a number of reasons. I loved the boys; how the met, how they became friends, boyfriends, roommates and lovers. I agree with Tammy about how sweet they are together because they are. If only every relationship was giving the chance, respect, patience and the understanding that Emmett and Jeremy give to one another, well let’s just say there might be a lower divorce rate. Wishful thinking I know but the way these boys work together is simply amazing. They are NOT their disabilities and it is wonderful how hard they work to find the best outcome for every situation.
Carry the Ocean, the title alone when you read in the book hit me hard. It’s no secret Heidi is one of my favorite authors and the woman knocks me on my ass with each book. With this one, she just kicked my ass into a dark corner of the closet or under a blanket where I want to stay in/under for days and I now need some serious fluff to pull myself out of those places. But this book, IT IS amazing. It’s a sweet and endearing love story of two boys… just that of two boys who meet and fall in love. They aren’t all that different from you and me, just louder at times in their own ways.