Are you a summer visitor to the Cape? Does the idea of living on an island fill you with delight? How about adding a bit of treasure hunting, and an unsolved mystery? If all of those things sound enticing, you’ll love this book!
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Crow lives on a nameless, tiny island; part of the Elizabeth Islands, off the cost of Massachusetts. As long as she remembers, she’s been there with Osh. But she wasn’t born there. No, Osh found her as a tiny wailing baby, only hours old, in a small boat, washed up on the shore. He took her in, cleaned her up, and fed her. Now they live together in the tiny island home Osh created for them, surrounded by the sea and Osh’s art.
If she’d been a normal baby, someone would probably have taken her away from Osh, thinking he wasn’t fit to raise a small girl. But Crow wasn’t what most of the islanders would call normal–too sickly, her eyes and skin too dark, her arrival on the small skiff too mysterious. But most of all, people were afraid that she came from Penekese, Penikese, the island next closest to their tiny island after Cuttyhunk. Penikese, home of the leper colony. Not knowing where Crow came from makes everyone on Cuttyhunk and the other small islands worried that Crow is dangerous.
But it doesn’t bother Crow, not really. She has her island, she has Osh, and she has Miss Maggie, who she visits almost every day on her farm across the sandbar and who worries over her just as much as Osh does. Crow also has her imagination and her curiosity.
But Crow’s life changes when she spots a fire over on Penikese, and she starts questioning everything she knows. Once her curiosity is roused, she starts to look for answers to some of her questions: Where did she come from? Who are her “real” parents and why did they send her away? What is her “real” name? Why are there lights on Penikese and who is over there?
As Crow searches for answers, she finds herself on a dangerous path, involving menacing strangers and missing treasures. Will she get her answers, or will she endanger the life she already has?
The audio recording for Beyond the Bright Sea is absolutely marvelous. Jorjeana Marie is suburb; her narration of Lauren Wolk’s gorgeous prose perfectly suits the story and the characters. You’ll feel like you’re right there beside Crow as she explores the world around her. I can’t say enough about how beautiful both the story and the narration of that story are. It’s a perfect package.
Beyond the Bright Sea is perfect for anyone who likes stories of growing up, of discovering who you are, and of carefully plotted mysteries. The writing is gorgeous. It’s written for fourth through sixth grades, but the audio recording would be good for kids ages 8 through adults. If you have ever visited Cape Cod, or are planning to visit, you should read this book: the portrait of the Elizabeth Islands and life on the Cape in the early part of the century is amazing. You’ll be left wanting to know more about Crow and her world.
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If you can’t tell, I loved this book! You can practically smell the salt air and hear the seagulls as you listen to Crow’s story unfold. The pacing of the mystery leaves you on the edge of your seat; and Crows relationship with Osh and Miss Maggie is so, so good. Really, everyone who lives in Massachusetts needs to read or listen to this book!
Some books and audios that have similar themes or feelings:
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holt
The War That Saved My Life by Jennifer Brubaker Bradley
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
As always, if you need help finding this or any other book or audio in the library, or you’re looking for suggestions on what to read next, ask me or any of our other librarians. We’re happy to help!