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DC’s ‘You Brought Me the Ocean’ Explores Finding and Accepting One’s True Self – Review

Jake Hyde (a.k.a. Aqualad) lives in a desert town in New Mexico, but all he yearns for is the ocean. It’s called to him for as long as he can remember and he doesn’t truly know why. However, it is his passion for the ocean that causes him to apply for his dream Oceanography program at his dream college in Miami, unbeknownst to his best friend, Maria, who believes the two will be applying to colleges together in-state. But Jake’s choice of school isn’t the only secret he’s been hiding from Maria. Jake is gay, something he hasn’t shared with his best friend or his mother, but something he reveals to the new person in his life, Kenny. 

Kenny is a star swimmer, with a place on the high school’s swim team. Wanting to learn more about his classmate, Jake invites Kenny to go for a hike. The duo share their hopes and aspirations with one another and just as rain begins to pour, the two share an intimate moment together, which ends with Jake tapping into the powers he didn’t know existed in order to save Kenny’s life as a flash flood takes the by surprise. Still not wanting to reveal the two biggest secrets about himself to anyone else, Jake ends up pushing Maria away and fights with his mother about the true nature of his powers.

When Jake finally learns of his true parentage from his mother, after believing his father died in a drowning accident. Now Jake has to decide what he is going to do. Will he leave with his mother, leaving behind his best friend and budding relationship? Or, will he stand his ground and make the choice to stay in his hometown? Well, you’ll just have to read the graphic novel to find out. 

You Brought Me the Ocean - Cover Art
You Brought Me the Ocean cover (art by Julie Maroh)

You Brought Me the Ocean is Alex Sanchez’s tale of the future Aqualad coming into his powers and discovering who he is in a myriad of ways is written in a story that will be relatable to many readers. We all know what it’s like to struggle through family issues, we have had to deal with choices that pertain to our future such as choosing a college/university to attend, and we’ve all had disagreements with our friends. However, the way in which Sanchez tackle’s Jake’s greatest battle is done with the utmost of care. Throughout the graphic novel, the readers are able to see just how isolated Jake feels. Living in a small town with only one openly gay student (Kenny) at his high school, Sanchez perfectly captured Jake’s trepidation in revealing his true identity.

Not only does Jake grapple with what others might think of him given that the school bullies frequently refer to Kenny as a “freak” and use the word “queer” as a slur against him, he also has to deal with the realization that Maria might like him as more than just a friend. Not wanting to hurt her, but also wanting to be comfortable in his own skin, Sanchez deftly paints the picture of Jake’s hardships in coming to terms with his sexuality. There are many moments when readers are privy to Jake’s thoughts and it’s in these moments that the graphic novel truly shines. Sanchez does a great job in balancing the moments of people’s lack of acceptance and understanding with moments that show the opposite, allowing Jake to see that those who truly care about him and love him, are by his side.

Ultimately, You Brought Me the Ocean is truly a testament to loving and accepting one’s self in every form that takes. It also shows that while the journey may be far from easy, it is a necessary one. Be sure to give this graphic novel a read, you won’t regret it!

Check out the trailer for You Brought Me the Ocean below: 

You Brought Me the Ocean trailer (DC)

You Brought Me the Ocean is available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo and your local independent bookstores now, and be sure to check out the other equally amazing YA graphic novels released by DC.

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