Book Reviews

Review: Sea Change by Gina Chung

While Sea Change started out utterly relatable, toward the middle I found myself wandering a bit. It ended up being a quiet book which examines metaphors of the past and crossroads we never saw coming. Keep reading my book review of Sea Change for my full thoughts.


Ro is stuck. She’s just entered her thirties, she’s estranged from her mother, and her boyfriend has just left her to join a mission to Mars. Her days are spent dragging herself to her menial job at a mall aquarium, and her nights are spent drinking sharktinis (mountain dew and copious amounts of gin, plus a hint of jalapeno). With her best friend pulling away to focus on her upcoming wedding, Ro’s only companion is Dolores, a giant Pacific octopus who also happens to be Ro’s last remaining link to her father, a marine biologist who disappeared while on an expedition when Ro was a teenager.

When Dolores is sold to a wealthy investor intent on moving her to a private aquarium, Ro finds herself on the precipice of self-destruction. Wading through memories of her youth, Ro has one last chance to come to terms with her childhood trauma, recommit to those around her, and find her place in an ever-changing world.


Initially, I loved this idea of preserving a shred of the past. And this theme continues in Sea Change – wondering if we can ever fully put it to rest. With flashbacks within, you can feel the past rearing its head in dreams, memories, and haunted traditions. As someone who has always had a love for aquatic animals, I was captivated by Dolores. I could easily see Ro’s love for Dolores, for these quiet moments and the ways animals have this almost unconditional fascination.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

Sea Change is a quiet book that explores the people we become, the images and expectations of our loved ones to be that person. There are these cracks in our marriages, in these relationships, which ripple outwards. We might not see their effects at the time, but their impact never disappears. Ro felt relatable to me as she feels the weight of other people’s happiness, the lies we tell ourselves to cover the truth. While Sea Change hooked me with its premise of the octopus – not going to lie – it’s more a story about loneliness and characters.

About the holes people leave in our lives, the cracks which carve us into the people we end up becoming. Sea Change is about the difference of being needed versus valued. Find Sea Change on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, Blackwells, & Libro. fm.


Do you have a favorite aquatic animal?

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.