Thursday, May 18, 2017

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

From the author of the critically acclaimed Wolf Hollow comes a moving story of identity and belonging.

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.

Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.

Vivid and heart wrenching, Lauren Wolk's Beyond the Bright Sea is a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of family.
So, I’m kind of obsessed with this book. I knew I’d enjoy it because I loved Wolf Hollow. But, I wasn’t expecting this level of love that I have. I think I like it even more than Wolf Hollow. This book kept me up to 3am one night…on a night, where I knew I had to be up at 5am the next day. Go me.
The weirdest thing is I never really was a big fan of historical fiction, but I guess that doesn’t matter when the quality of book is out of this world. I just get so lost in Wolk’s words. I feel like I’m there with her main character. I connected so deeply to Crow. And in this one, there were just so many things I needed to know. This book I guess could fall kind of into the mystery genre. Crow’s history is such a mystery. It’s tied in with an abandoned leper colony, island travel, treasure hunts, a love story, con artists,  and so many other interesting things.
It also takes place on an island off Cape Cod, where I live. And it was so, so cool getting a glimpse of these places in the 1920’s. The mainland Crow visits (aka: New Beford) was just as interesting for me as Cuttyhunk.
Also, the life of Crow and Osh is so unique. They live off the sea. They set lobster traps and grow their own gardens. They live an isolated, yet beautiful and simple life. Their neighbor, Miss Maggie is another interesting character. She lives across the sandbar and helps teach Crow lessons. Crow helps her with physical chores and in return gets a lot of home cooked meals. Their world and life seems so extordinary to me that it almost read like a fantasy.
The mystery is what kept me up late. I had to know if Crow was connected to the Leper colony. And then I had to know other things like why a certain character was kidnapped.  And I don’t want to say too many more things because it’s best to go into this with as little knowledge as possible. It will hopefully be as nice a surprise and as enticing a mystery for every reader. Also, the overarching themes of family and identity ring so strongly and true.
This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. I recommend it highly, particularly to fans of Middle Grade. I give it a 10/10.

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