Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

  Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk, Dutton Children’s Books, 2017,  9781101994856

Format:  hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5

Genre: historical fiction

What did you like about the book? This novel is beautifully written. The characters are vivid and the setting is distinct. Crow lives on one of the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts with her guardian, a man named Ash, who rescued her from a drifting dory when she was just a baby. When she is 12 years old, Crow begins to wonder about her biological family, where she came from, and why the other island residents ostracize her.  Aided, somewhat reluctantly, by Ash and her friend Miss Maggie, Crow searches for the answers to her questions.  These lead her to the mainland and to the nearby island of Penikese, a place of secrets and tragedy. Readers will be captivated both by Crow’s island life and the mysteries surrounding her birth and identity. An author’s note at the end provides additional context for the story and a window into how it came to be written. This is a book not to be missed.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I liked everything about this book.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Read Alikes? Recommend to readers who liked the author’s first novel, Wolf Hollow, and also The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Also recommend Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell for another story of a baby who is rescued from the sea by a kind, unconventional man.

Who should buy this book? Middle school and public libraries will want to own this book.

Where would you shelve it ?  Middle- grade fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes, especially with the Massachusetts connection. Also put Wolf Hollow at the top of your pile if you haven’t read it yet.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Date of review: June 10, 2017


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