Lauren Wolk received high praise and a Newbery Honor Medal for her 2016 middle grade novel WOLF HOLLOW, which we own but haven’t read yet (it was lost in the depths of Lu’s closet for a few months). She followed up that success with another superb middle grade novel in BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA.
Beyond the Bright Sea Review
BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA is the story of Crow, a 12-year-old girl with a mysterious background. As an infant, she washed ashore one of the Elizabeth Islands in a skiff. The man who found her, Osh, is a recluse escaping his own mysterious past. But he has room in his heart for Crow. As the girl grows, she starts to question her own past—not just where she came from and who her parents were, but why the other islanders seem to avoid touching her. Her only friend is Miss Maggie, a neighboring healer who tells her that the townspeople fear Crow came from a nearby island that was once a leper colony. As Crow begins to search for clues from her past, she uncovers more danger and unanswered questions than she could have predicted. Along the way, she learns what true family and friendship are made of.
BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA is a joy for adults as much as it will be for mature middle grade readers. It is full of rich character development, and it leaves us to fill in the blanks about the characters’ pasts, their motivations, and their true desires.
BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA is part mystery and part thriller. As Crow slowly unravels her complicated story, there is an ever-present feeling of imminent danger. It’s not scary, merely tense in a way that keeps you glued to your reading chair to find out what will happen next.
This was a true joy to read, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for more complex middle grade storylines. BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA published in May 2017 from Dutton Books for Young Readers.