My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Dutton BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 10+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Historical Fiction
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.
I wish this read a bit more like a castaway story, because then it would have been a little more exciting, in my opinion, since ‘‘survival’’ would have been a huge theme.
Although Crow was cast away on an island when she was a baby, a man (Osh) found her and took care of her, becoming her father. She never did have to fend for herself, even having Miss Maggie, their sandbar neighbour, help her when needed.
But still, Crow doesn’t feel whole. She wants to know where she comes from badly. So she digs around, discovering she might be from Penikese, the worst possible place she could be from.
Though I thought so in the beginning, there is no mystery case. It’s less about finding out the truth about Crow’s past and more about her realizing the future is much more important than the past.
So the mystery lasted while it lasted and that was that. I have to admit I found learning the truth too soon underwhelming.
Fortunately, the characters are precious. It doesn’t take long for the reader to familiarize themselves with them. Even if we don’t exactly know much about their past, we instantly connect with their kind-heartedness, values and sense of community.
I definitely find the message in this book important: family isn’t about the blood; it’s about the people who care for you no matter what. I think it’s normal to want to find our relatives and learn more about ourselves in the process, but it’s important not to forget who was there for us when our blood family wasn’t.
A tiny bit uneventful and repetitive, but wonderfully-moving. I’d love to read a sequel of it with an adult Crow.
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