This was an absolutely marvelous read! Such a poignant, angsty, emotional and sweet m/m romance with complex and wonderful characters that I immediately rooted for and so beautifully written that the words themselves felt like the rolling waves along the beautiful beaches of SoCal and Hawaii where the story takes place. This is a story that will stay with me for a long time!
The story is set in the 1970s and follows the two surfers James Campbell and Danny/Sidney Moore from their first meeting in an international surfing competition that impacts them both in a life-changing way. I loved the whole atmosphere with the surfing culture, the comradeship and competition, the sun and salt and the foaming waves, that C.L. Beaumont captured so well you could almost feel the sun and the wind on your skin while reading this book. But more importantly, I deeply appreciated the way she captured the general beliefs and feelings of the time period, with the homophobia and conflicts after the Vietnam war, which gave this story much more depth and provided a backdrop explaining the characters’ behavior and choices.
James Campbell is carrying his scars from the Vietnam war both inside and on his body, just trying to get through each day and fighting his desire to head into the ocean and never come back. The only things that keep him going is his best friend Rob and surfing.
Danny Moore is the infamous top surfer, who carries his own scars from being forced to leave his alcoholic mother at a young age (the only one who called him by his first name, Sydney), from being outed by a class mate and from being thrown out by his father for being gay when he was fifteen. Suffering with trust issues, and all too aware of the whispers about him, he shields himself with a cocky attitude that keeps everyone at bay. But when his eyes meet James at the surfer competition, something captures him and shatters his protective walls as Danny Moore and lets his private self, Sydney, see the light again.
The characters in this book are pure perfection, so complex and charismatic, so wounded and sweet, that you immediately root for them and suffer with them in their longing, heart ache and fight to deny their feelings. I loved the way C.L. Beaumont let us experience both James’ and Sydney’s views and backgrounds in different turns and hos she slowly weaved them together into this marvelous story. There were some truly amazing character developments in this book and the way these two hurting souls found each other and found the courage to live and love and slowly heal from the tragedies was just breathtaking.
I also really loved the friendship between James and Rob. It was so heartwarming and sweet and added so much to the story.
And the writing was just incredible. So beautiful and poetic, precise yet vivid, and with a wonderful flow, hinting rather than telling the story. It captured the atmosphere and the suppressed feelings, longings and tension between the character in a perfect way. Almost every sentence felt like a quote worth saving.
All in all, I absolutely loved this book and recommend it with all my heart! The Sea Ain’t Mine Alone was such a poignant and gripping, yet uplifting and heart-warming, romantic story about two very different men finding each other and a way to heal, live and love again. It was also an important historical eye-opener as to the injustice, fear and homophobia that was the reality for gay people in the 1970s, and a story showing how love conquers all and how it’s never too late to find love and happiness, if you’re just brave enough to let down the guard and be vulnerable and true.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abby Kaitz Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alice Winn Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira Amanda Woody A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cait Nary Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare Cat Sebastian C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Christina Lee Ciara Smyth Claerie Kavanaugh Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacob Gelman Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson K.A. Tucker KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Lex Croucher Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr M.A. Wardell Melanie Munton Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rachel Reid Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez