The Highest Tide

  • by Jim Lynch
  • Narrated by Fisher Stevens
  • 7 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A spellbinding first novel about a young boy's fascination with the wonders of the seashore during a summer that will change his life. One moonlit night, 13-year-old Miles O'Malley slips out of his house, packs up his kayak, and goes exploring on the flats of Puget Sound. But what begins as an ordinary hunt for starfish, snails, and clams is soon transformed by an astonishing sight: a beached giant squid. As the first person to ever see a giant squid alive, the speed-reading, Rachel Carson-obsessed insomniac instantly becomes a local curiosity. When he later finds a rare deepwater fish in the tidal waters near his home, and saves a dog from drowning, he is hailed as a prophet. The media hovers and everyone wants to hear what Miles has to say.
But Miles is really just a teenager on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his bickering parents will divorce, and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting from him. While the sea continues to offer up discoveries from its mysterious depths, Miles struggles to deal with the difficulties that attend the equally mysterious process of growing up. In this unforgettable, beguiling novel, we witness the dramatic sea change for both Miles and the coastline that he adores over the course of a summer, one that will culminate with the highest tide in 50 years.


What the Critics Say

2005 Audie Award Nominee, Literary Fiction
"Tender and authentic....This moving, unusual take on the summers of childhood conveys a contagious sense of wonder at the variety and mystery of the natural world." (Publishers Weekly)
"Readers, particularly those who enjoy discovering new voices in fiction, will appreciate Lynch's assertive, microscopically observant writing and respond to the precocious hero, a boy so attuned to the land that his coming-of-age exerts a tidal pull on the very molecules of his environment." (Booklist)
"A stunning light show....A celebratory song of the seas." (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

13 going on 30

Coming-of-age books can be great and moving reads. This book was loaded with emotion, and chock full of beautiful descriptions of life on the ocean (or bay, as it were) by one who obviously loves it and is well versed in the subject.

There is plenty of what I'd expect a young teen to be thinking of and doing in this novel. But, about one-third the way into the book, I started to doubt a 13 year old could ever know as much as Miles O'Malley did. The story started to flatten for me as more and more very detailed facts about marine life, elegant quotes from Rachel Carson's writings, and very adult emotions came tumbling out of Miles. As Miles drones on about clams and the reproductive habits of obscure squid, I found my attention drifting more than once.
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- J. Huebert

Loved it

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, particularly the discussions about the wonders of nature. Judging from other reviews, I may be unusual in this regard. (Okay, I majored in Marine Biology many years ago.) The reader did an excellent job capturing the artless enthusisasm that we as adults too often lose.
Like another reviewer, I was a bit disconcerted by the sudden ending, as if the writer just ran out of steam and quit. But all in all, I highly recommend this book, especially to people with an interest in sealife or biology in general.
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- M. McClure

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-12-2005
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio