The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

 The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake, Disney Hyperion, (9781368048088) 2019

Format: Hard Cover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Genre: Realistic Fiction

What did you like about the book?  The Last True Poets of the Sea is the story of Violet and Sam, brother and sister, each struggling with their own demons.  After years of struggle with his mental health, Sam has tried to commit suicide, and the story starts with his commitment to a facility in Vermont.  Violet has been acting out at home, and her parents have sent her to live in the Northeast Kingdom of Maine at a family home with her uncle. The story is primarily Violet’s, as she gets to know her family’s history, and works to understand the family’s legend of struggle and perseverance. My understanding is that the book is based on Shakespeare’s 12th Night.  

Violet’s transition from her life in NYC to small town Lyric is filled with angst, friendships, joy and heartbreak.  She finds her people in a group of other high school kids, and an uncle who supports her unconditionally.  

And did I mention – there is a shipwreck to be found.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Violet becomes part of a love triangle between the boy she works with at her summer job, and his best friend and love interest Olivia.  This comes on suddenly, and didn’t hold true to me.  

To whom would you recommend this book?  Many of the themes of this book, Friendship, anxiety, mental illness, LGBTQ, are very relatable to our teens. 

Who should buy this book? High School  and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Realistic  Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Maybe, at the high school level

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Amy Bloom, retired Middle School Librarian, Natick, MA

Date of review: December 11, 2019


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