Book: Shelter the Sea
Series: The Roosevelt #2
Publication date: April 18, 2017
Length: 190 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.
Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.
In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.
He only hopes there isn't a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.
My son is autistic but he also suffers from severe anxiety, and Executive Function Disorder. That means his memory isn't good at all. There's a lot to say about it but that's not why I'm mentioning it in my review. I'm mentioning it because every day I see the struggles he faces and I see how hard he fights and prevails and watching him grow has been an honor. So, to read Shelter the Sea and watch the evolution of Emmet and Jeremey was like watching my son.
Jeremey's depression is bad when this book starts and he's struggling and Emmet hates seeing the man he loves in pain and so he must find a way to make it better for Jeremey, so he does. The Roosevelt is in trouble, Darren is miserable in Icarus House and needs saving, there's money woes, and evil doers trying to stand in the Roosevelt Blues Brothers' way... and then there's Emmet. He shows incredible strength. He's so brilliant and he became my hero in this story, hell, in fiction!!!
I tried not to cry reading this but then there was the scene on the restaurant, with the mother, and the video Emmet made and... you'll know the scene when you get there. That did me in. I was all sobs and hiccups from there!
This is a tremendously wonderful series that grips you and pulls at you and when you walk away from it you're informed. You're connected to these amazing guys who are but fictitious characters speaking for the real deals out there. The ones who face what Emmet, Jeremey, Darren, and David face every day. In RJ King we see the enemy and the fighting that can never end so the RJ's can be defeated.
This is an amazing book that will touch your heart and soul and fill you with a deep understanding of true love and perseverance.
Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, and Emotional Support AnimalsIn Shelter the Sea, one of the characters acquires a service dog during the course of the novel, and in researching for the book, one of the most interesting things I learned was that the terms service dog, therapy dog, and emotional support dog are not interchangeable, that each animal does a slightly different job and has a distinctly different classification.
Service dogs are specifically trained to assist one person, and their primary function isn’t to provide companionship or emotional support, though the individual they care for often forms a tight bond with the dog and vice versa. They’re required (and trained to) tolerate a wide variety of experiences, environments, and people. They’re also covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning their owners have a right to bring them into public establishments, and they may live with their owners even if the building has a “no pets” policy.
Therapy dogs can also tolerate a wide variety of experiences and environments, but they aren’t trained to support just one person, meaning they aren’t tailored specifically for them. They’re trained to assist generally, helping multiple people. They aren’t covered by the ADA, as they aren’t designed for individuals, only for specific spaces and instances where there would be no conflict for their use.
Emotional support animals, which can include dogs but don’t always necessarily only include them, are mostly there to provide, as the name suggests, emotional support. They aren’t covered by the ADA, as the ADA has ruled their work isn’t directly related to their disability and they’re not specifically trained for that individual, and therefore they can’t necessarily go everywhere. They are, however, sometimes allowed in places with “no pets” policies.
You can read more about the rules about service, therapy, and emotional support animals on the ADA website.
What’s Coming Up Next in the SeriesOriginally my intent was for The Roosevelt to be a three-book series, with David’s story being second. I struggled to write his story, however, and when I tried to write a short Christmas story for my patrons last year, I realized my problem: Emmet and Jeremey had more to say. I thought perhaps I could get away with writing their continuation as a novella, and at first I tried that. Then their story grew longer, as stories do, and as the mental health crisis in Iowa became worse, I realized there was so much more to say all around.
I think now what will happen is that at the very least there will now be a Roosevelt universe, with Carry the Ocean and Shelter the Sea being books one and two of the Oceans books, and then there being some kind of third book (maybe, finally, a novella or short story?) and then we move on to David. I’m not sure who the third book is about—I thought I knew, but I’ve decided to stop pretending I know what’s going on and simply show up and see what happens as this seems to be the better strategy, as when I drive things only get messed up. Needless to say, there will be more books coming. And more residents moving into The Roosevelt.
About Heidi Cullinan
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.
Carry the Ocean + Shelter the Sea signed paperbacks and Roosevelt Blues Brother kit (black fedora and skinny tie)
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