The Highest Tide

Entertaining and informative story about a teenager awaiting his growth spurt while he discovers incredible sea creatures washing up on the beaches near the cove where he lives. Minimal parental oversight sends him off in his kayak at night, turning up giant squid and ragfish, phosphorescent marine life, huge sea worms and cucumbers. The kid quotes Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us and becomes a local celebrity after spouting off precocious bits about the sea attempting to tell us something. All teenage stories must have some sort of love element, so we’re introduced to the thinly constructed character of Angie, an older bi-polar unstable teen who overdoses, screeches loud music, and we’re somehow meant to believe that she mutters “I’ll wait for you” to the kid as he kayaks around the cove at the end. Another female character is the old lady who the kid feeds and pulls off her toilet as needed, an elderly psychic who predicts the largest tide in recent history, claimed to be the kid’s best friend. And balancing out the age groups, there’s the kid’s mom, seen in fleeting bursts of yelling before she storms off to live with her sister and abandons the kid and his dad.
You reluctantly take in all of the dramatic highs and lows, getting swept up in the story’s tidal pull. It’s packed full of details about marine life that sneak up on you, like the face that frightened sea cucumbers can vomit their organs and then regenerate them once they’re out of danger.