Mundie Moms

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: Tides by Betsy Crornwell

By: Betsy Cornwell
Published by: Harcourt
Released on: June 4th, 2013
Source: arc from publisher to review
Ages: 12 & up
4 Stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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When high-school senior Noah Gallagher and his adopted teenage sister, Lo, go to live with their grandmother in her island cottage for the summer, they don’t expect much in the way of adventure. Noah has landed a marine biology internship, and Lo wants to draw and paint, perhaps even to vanquish her struggles with bulimia. But then things take a dramatic turn for them both when Noah mistakenly tries to save a mysterious girl from drowning. This dreamlike, suspenseful story—deftly told from multiple points of view—dives deeply into selkie folklore while examining the fluid nature of love and family.

What a great debut! Betsy Cornwell delivers a great summer read rich in selkie lore, fueled by romance,  sprinkled with science and bounded by the relationships of family and friendship. I love this cover, and in fact it's what drew me to this book in the first place. I don't know what it is about Summer time, but anything pertaining to selkies, merpeople, and anything pertaining to the beach screams summer read to me, and this book is definitely one that I'd recommend picking up this summer.

Set on the east coast, TIDES is a story has Irish ties, and a rich romance that spans over decades. It's one of those stories that spans generations, as the book's main characters move in with their Grandmother for the summer on an isolated island surrounded by the ocean. It's there that Noah and his sister Lo learn a lot more about their Grandmother, her friend Maebh, and the mysterious girl Mara Noah saves from a near drowning, or so he thought. What a well written story! Seriously. I loved the way the story was written. Betsy took her time giving readers every angle of the story, and I appreciated that. If any part of this story had been rushed, it would have ruined it for me, because this story is so rich in storytelling, and it's details. The way Betsy slowly unravels the plot line, and the history between the various characters was perfect. I felt like I actually got to know the characters, and when we're given the back story on Noah and Lo's Gemm, I felt like I was there in the room listening to her story myself.

Within TIDES is the story of two romances. A story of true love that Gemm shares, and the romance that Noah unexpectedly finds while staying with his Grandmother. I loved how these two love stories bring two together two different worlds, the human world and the selkie world. Within these romances, is also a story of a rich friendship. Everything about the relationships between Gemm, Maebh, Noah, Mara and Lo was believable. Betsy didn't give me everything right off the bat. While I could figure some things out, I still enjoyed the way the relationships grew. I especially liked the one between Noah and his sister Lo. I should say that I loved how protective Betsy made Noah. When his Marine Biologist professor says something about the way Lo looks, Noah jumps into protective mode. It doesn't matter that Lo is his adoptive sister and that she looks different than him, she is his sister and he'd do anything for her. I seriously loved that.

I liked that within the story are other stories. We have the story of Gemm, and Maebh, the story of Gemm, the story of Mara, the Selkies, Noah, his sister Lo, and the danger that threatens the Selkies and the hand Noah's professor has in that. I loved the Selkie legends, but there is one selkie story that does entail abuse. It did make me cringe a bit, though it wasn't graphic. Betsy also includes another sensitive issue for some, and that's an eating disorder with Lo. I appreciated how concerned Noah and Gemm are over it, despite the fact that Lo has already received professional help for it.  I also like how Besty wrote the same sex relationship in this story, and how it slowly unravels, though it is a romance the spans more than 40 years and is one that at the heart of the story, is about finding yourself, and your true love. It's just that, a love story. I'm a sucker for a well written love story, especially one that involves Selkies.

 Can I just say kudos to having a stand alone. Sure it would nice getting a glimpse into the future for each of these characters, but I liked where things ended for them. The way Betsy wrote the relationships was realistic and relatable. The relationships were about love, and sacrifices, and acceptance. There is a lot more to this story that I enjoyed. Given that this is Betsy's first debut, I'm really looking forward to seeing what she writes next.

1 comment:

  1. I have not heard of this but it sounds awesome! Hopefully I will get a chance to read it soon!
    great review