Tag Team Review: Shelter the Sea (The Roosevelt #2) by Heidi Culllinan

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.

4.75 Heart average!

Chelsea - 5 Hearts

…..there was a man named Emmett who loved a man named Jeremey. These two men had to fight the mean King who wanted to take away their home and their friends happiness. Even though everything seemed to be against Jeremey and Emmett, when they had each other they were courageous and brave and could defeat anything.

“When you’re with me, Emmet Washington, I always feel as if I could do anything in the world.”

There's not much I can say that will express how much I love this story, together with it's predecessor. They're sooooo emotional, but in a heartwarming and feeling-with-the-characters type of way not a my-heart-is-bleeding-on-the-floor type of way. I couldn't put this book down! Emmett and Jeremey completely steal my heart and I will always want to read more of them!

Anyone who hasn't read this series definitely should! Cannot wait for the other books to come out!

I shut my eyes and imagined this, Jeremey and Darren and David and Kaya and me standing on a beach, holding our oceans while we guarded other people like us as they scooped up their waters and found a place to stand.

Adam - 4.5 Hearts

Carry the Ocean was one of my favourite reads of 2015. Jeremy and Emmet, and The Roosevelt, completely captured my heart.

In this sequel, readers will get all the feels, complex characters, and needed social commentary that made book 1 so great.

Two years after Emmett and Jeremy found love and community at The Roosevelt, their lives have settled into a routine. They’re still going strong, and couldn’t imagine life without one another. But Jeremy’s depression is getting worse, something he and Emmett have no control over.

To make matters worse, The Roosevelt is in trouble after the state mental health system is restructured. Emmett becomes the face of a campaign to hold the state accountable, and to convince the government, and other citizens, that people with disabilities have a right to be heard.

From the beginning of the book, my heart hurt for Jeremy. The hopelessness and emotional turmoil he goes through on a daily basis were heartbreaking. It would have been easy for the author to pretend the Jeremy’s depression was magically cured, but that wouldn’t have been realistic.

Disabilities don’t just disappear. Both Jeremy and Emmett cope with their disabilities as best as they can. For Jeremy, the ups and downs of depression mean that it’s difficult to find a single course of action that works every time.

However, though Jeremy suffers throughout the book and the stress gets to Emmett often as well, what’s never in doubt is how much these two love each other. They never turn away from one another, and are always there when it matters most.


Emmet and Jeremy’s love story may not be conventional, but it’s one of the most romantic I’ve ever read.

This book is unapologetically political. The Roosevelt, along with other mental health facilities, are in trouble because the government believes that corporate profit is more important than real people with disabilities.

As a Canadian, my stance is a no-brainer: healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Public healthcare systems aren’t perfect, but the data shows that they’re more efficient and equitable than private systems. Heidi Cullinan doesn’t hold back any punches in getting this point across.

I was awed by the strength of Emmett, Jeremy, the other residents of The Roosevelt, and their allies, as they went up against corporate interests in order to save their home.

I ended this book feeling hopeful. We live in troubling times, but we must hope for and work towards a better future.


I have no doubt that Emmett and Jeremy will always have each other, and will beat any hurdles as they come. I’m looking forward to seeing where Heidi Cullinan takes this series next!

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