Cover image for Tides
1st ed.
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, MN : Milkweed Editions, 2000.
Physical Description:
311 p.
While spending the summer with her new siblings and cousins at their grandmother's house by the ocean, Elizabeth begins to feel that she belongs to her adoptive family.


Material Type
Call Number
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Paperback book YT FICTION CAL 1 1

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Elizabeth Sheridan, now 12, returns with her extended family to her grandmother's beach house. Elizabeth has been looking forward to the trip all winter, but almost immediately things begin to go wrong. Adam, the eldest cousin, is withdrawn and moody. His world shattered by the deaths of his two best friends, he refuses to participate in family events -- or stay at Grandma's house.Elizabeth watches how everyone reacts to Adam's behavior. Even Grandma, whose sense of right and wrong guides them all, is shaken. As the newest member of her adoptive family, Elizabeth becomes the intermediary between Adam and the rest of the clan. One thing is certain: it will take more than the summer to sort things out.As in The Ocean Within, readers will become immersed in how even the strongest families deal with change.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-This book picks up the summer after the events of The Ocean Within (Milkweed, 1999). Elizabeth, 12, is now officially adopted into the lively, openly affectionate Sheridan family and is spending the summer with her two siblings and six cousins. She looks forward to long days at the beachfront home of strict but well-loved Grandma and demonstrating her new swimming skills. However, the eldest cousin, Adam, has lost two friends in a drunk-driving accident and has alienated himself from the family, and Grandma finds that her rules (complete with corporal punishment) do not provide clear-cut solutions to deal with the schism. And Elizabeth discovers that, despite her swimming lessons, she is still terrified to step into the ocean. When her youngest cousin almost drowns, she rescues him but then both of them avoid the water. They become involved in collecting water samples for an environmental activist determined to find and prosecute an ocean polluter. In helping in this effort, they learn about healing in nature and in themselves. The story is told with a fine-tuned empathy for the main characters, and Grandma's flawed but genuinely compassionate humanity is one of its major strengths. Elizabeth's thoughts, relayed in first-person italics, alternately enhance and distract from the flow of the third-person narrative. A lot of background information gets packed into the ending almost all at once, but the resolutions to the various story threads are realistically joyful and bittersweet.-Farida S. Dowler, formerly at Bellevue Regional Library, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Elizabeth Sheridan, first introduced in The Ocean Within, returns in Tides by V.M. Caldwell, illus. by Erica Magnus, as she and her adoptive family head back to Grandma's beach house for some summer fun. But Adam, the oldest cousin, is distraught after losing two close friends to a drunk driving accident and his abrupt withdrawal has thrown the family into new territory. ( Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Elizabeth, the orphan who joined the extended Sheridan family in [cf2]The Ocean Within,[cf1] returns in a novel that follows the clan through another crisis-filled summer at the beach. Cousin Adam moves out after losing two friends in an accident, five-year-old Petey nearly drowns, and Elizabeth again fears the water. The overly detailed narrative relies too heavily on Elizabeth's inner thoughts and cathartic heart-to-hearts between family members. From HORN BOOK Fall 2001, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-7. This sequel to The Ocean Within (1999) lacks much of the raw power of the first book and spends perhaps too much time recapitulating events. Elizabeth, 12, looks forward to Grandma's beach house, where the nine Sheridan cousins spend their summers. She's been adopted for a year now, and fits awkwardly yet comfortably into the family's many rules, habits, and traditions. But the summer is not working out as she had hoped. She has learned to swim in a pool, but the ocean still fills her with a terror that she's afraid to express. What's more, her oldest cousin, Adam, who has been distant and confused since his two best friends died in a car accident, starts the summer by ditching his high-school graduation and missing a younger cousin's birthday. Adam soon spirals out of control, and even Grandma's tough and abiding love cannot find a way to ease and comfort him. There's more contrivance and less heartfelt emotion than in the previous book, but readers longing to know more about Elizabeth will find the answers here. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido