Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 304 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
Rating: 3/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. I am always interested in selkie mythology and was curious and interested in reading this book. It was a decent book but not spectacular. There is a lot of interesting selkie mythology in here but I didn’t find the characters to be all that engaging.
Noah and Lo are a brother and sister who go to live with their grandmother in her island home for the summer. Noah is working on a marine biologist internship there and Lo hopes to escape to a place where she can draw in peace. Once there they notice something strange about their grandmother’s friend. Things get even weirder when Noah finds out the beautiful girl he is drawn to is a selkie.
I really enjoyed the selkie mythology throughout the story. This was the best part of the story for me. Selkie mythology from various parts of the world is discussed and it was really interesting.
The book also explores some social issues but not in much depth. For example Noah’s grandmother and her female friend are lifetime partners, so there is some brief discussion on how hard to was to be a lesbian back in the day. Noah’s adopted sister Lo suffers from bulimia, so there is discussion about how Lo is fighting this horrible disease. None of the issues are explored in great depth, Lo’s bulimia does play a large role in the story though.
I had a lot of trouble engaging with the characters though. The point of view bounces from Noah, to Lo, to Mara (the young selkie), to Mara’s mom, to Noah’s professor, etc. The story ends up being fractured by all of the points of view and I feel like as soon as you start to engage with a character then suddenly you are reading from someone else’s POV.
I thought the story was a bit predictable and boring as well. Mara is searching for one of the lost Younglings and Noah is working with a marine biologist. Right from the beginning you can tell what is going on and what will happen. There were no twists and turns, the story was very simple and linear.
The writing was easy to read and the story wrapped up nicely. There were some very beautiful descriptions throughout the book as well. The setting is beautiful and has a very dreamy summer feel to it.
Overall this book was okay; it didn’t offend me in anyway but it didn’t really grab my attention either. It was just something to read and then set aside. While I enjoyed the selkie mythology, I found the story predictable, and the characters difficult to engage with. I would definitely recommend reading The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan if you are interested in selkie folklore, this book was an excellent YA read that I absolutely loved. While I probably won’t be reading any more of Cornwell’s books I can tentatively recommend this if you are really into reading about selkies; it’s an okay…if not inspiring story.