When Oceans Rise

WHEN OCEANS RISE is a YA contemporary fantasy – Filipino Little Mermaid meets The Butterfly Effect 🐚🌊
Malaya barters with a sea witch; her voice for a new life—one in which she was never with her abusive boyfriend. But when Malaya timeshifts into her new existence, she discovers she shipped a happier version of herself off to her crummy, old life and that Filipino monsters now run rampant in both worlds. The Sea Witch used her voice to unleash the beasts and now Malaya must fight to get her voice back if she wants to save both worlds.

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What people are saying:

“A gorgeous debut about gods, monsters, and the courage it takes to love (and free) yourself. When Oceans Rise deserves a place on every shelf.” — Gigi Griffis, author of The Wicked Unseen

“A spellbindingly fresh reimagining of The Little Mermaid that will bewitch readers until they reach the final page. Malaya is a compelling protagonist entrapped in a conflict that will resonate with the realities of many young women. You can’t help but to root for her as she traverses through alternate timelines rife with creatures from Filipino folklore and her own personal demons. Alvarez is a brilliant new voice to watch in the world of fantasy fiction.” — Priyanka Taslim, author of The Love Match

“Malaya, you are the captain of your life. You decide which oceans to sail. You don’t wait for the ocean to take you.” (This has to be my favourite line in the book.)

In a nutshell, this is an emotional ride that navigates the waves of an abusive relationship. The emotions in this cautionary tale are raw and relatable, and will sweep you off your feet. Beautifully woven with the magic of rich Filipino culture, Alvarez’s remarkable debut will stay with you beyond the last page.” — Joyce Chua, author of Land of Sand and Song

“Simply stunning! Robin Alvarez weaves together the perfect blend of modern retelling and mythical fantasy in When Oceans Rise. Prepare yourself to be swept away in this gorgeous and courageous story of loving yourself after heartbreak.” — Dana Swift, Author of Cast In Firelight

When Oceans Rise is an exciting story with a lot of heart and emotion. Malaya’s emotional journey rang true.” — Wendy Parris, author of Field of Screams

“Set against a rich and beautiful setting, When Oceans Rise is a stunning book both inside and out.” — Rebecca Ryan, author of My (Extra)Ordinary Life



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.

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 monsters 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?

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The Story

Seventeen-year-old Malaya is cursed to fall for someone evil.

Submerged in a toxic relationship and disconnected from everyone, Malaya turns to the sea to decide her fate. Its decision? Toss her to the sea witch. To escape her abusive relationship, Malaya trades her voice to a sea witch. But when she timeshifts into her new existence, she discovers she shipped an alternate version of herself to her dangerous ex and the sea witch used her voice to unleash Filipino monsters.

Can Malaya take back the power of her voice to save both worlds?

The Heroes

Malaya: A seventeen-year-old mixed race Filipina who time-shifts into another reality.

Salvador: The Gods champion meant as a fail-safe if Malaya doesn't succeed in correcting her mistake.

Gabrielle: Malaya's other-world sister tasked with hosting a fake virtual series to debunk the Filipino mythological creatures they are battling.

The Location

The shores of Corpus Christi, Texas

An underwater prison

An alternate timeline of Corpus

Content Warning

This story contains mental, emotional, and physical abuse. Malaya is gaslit by an abusive boyfriend in When Oceans Rise.

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