Book Tour: When Oceans Rise by Robin Alvarez

When Oceans Rise


Robin Alvarez

Young Adult Fantasy

Publisher: Creative James Media

Publishing Date: May 23, 2023

Page count: 382 pages


Submerged in a toxic relationship and disconnected from everyone, she turns to the sea to decide her fate. Its decision? Toss her to the sea witch.

Seventeen-year-old Malaya is cursed. In her family, every girl’s first love ends in death after falling for someone evil. Good thing Malaya’s dream guy isn’t monstrous.

Except the curse is real and preventing Malaya from noticing how much he has gaslit and isolated her until she can’t be saved. With no other options, the sea witch is the only one to help her. Bartering her voice for a new life where she and her abusive boyfriend never met, Malaya accidentally swaps places with an alternate timeline version of herself who didn’t make her mistakes. As she tries to undo the switch, the sea witch uses Malaya’s voice to unleash Filipino mythological creatures into the worlds.

Can a champion, an alternate timeline sister, and Malaya fight these beasts and stop the sea witch before she destroys both timelines?

Content Warning: gaslighting, one paragraph with physical abuse

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5 stars!

Fast-paced, action-packed, and suspense-filled with engaging and highly relatable main characters.

When Oceans Rise is a new contemporary young adult fantasy by author Robin Alvarez that tells its compelling story by building on elements from the fairytale, The Little Mermaid, and Filipino mythology. This fresh and creative combination is riveting, and I didn’t want to put it down once I started the book. And while it is an action-packed, suspenseful, magical adventure, important lessons are revealed about family, relationships, self-worth, and self-esteem. The story will resonate with young adults or anyone who has ever been victimized by someone they love.

The author deftly places the reader inside the head of the main character, Malaya, so you are privy to her thoughts and feelings. It was plain to see how she became so emotionally entangled with her abuser she was unable to break free of his influence. The author also shows how this toxic relationship affects many other aspects of her life.

I greatly enjoyed the descriptions of Filipino culture, food, and the incorporation of folklore in creating a vivid setting for its exciting plot. Filipino mythology was new to me and resulted in a fresh and unpredictable story. I couldn’t help but Google some of the creatures and other cultural references. (I even had to look up Mom’s broom.)

The messages regarding relationships, abuse, and the importance and value of family are clear and easy to understand. Delivered within the framework of Malaya’s magical adventure and her fight against the evil sea witch, the ideas are demonstrated in a realistic setting rather than as a lecture and are more likely to make a memorable impact. The story is well-told, landing this title firmly in the page-turner category.

With its engaging and relatable main characters and fast-paced, suspense-filled plot, I highly recommend WHEN OCEANS RISE to readers of contemporary young adult fantasy, especially those who enjoy fairytale retellings and stories featuring mythologies from different countries.


Robin Alvarez is the author of the #1 New Release YA Ethnic Fairy Tale When Oceans Rise (May 2023). Strong female characters, mythological creatures, and mixed-race perspective are hallmarks of her work. While she’s spent the majority of her life in beach towns, having almost drowned several times, she currently resides in a desert where the waters are less likely to kill her.

Robin’s work has been featured on OwlCrate, ABC, and NBC news affiliates.

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1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary fiction, Family, Fantasy, Mythology, Young adult

One response to “Book Tour: When Oceans Rise by Robin Alvarez

  1. Pingback: TOUR SCHEDULE: When Oceans Rise by Robin Alvarez – TBR and Beyond Tours

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