Crow came to Osh and his island when she was only a few hours old. Wrapped up and sent to sea in an old skiff, she washed up on his rocky shore, and they’ve been together ever since. Just the two of them, and Mouse the cat, and sometimes Miss Maggie and her goats, who doesn’t pay much mind to the fact that Osh doesn’t much like other people.
Now Crow is twelve and full of questions and wondering. Questions about the tide, and lobsters, and boats, and the world, and where she comes from. Osh answers most of her questions, but he has interest in anyone’s past – especially if it means someone might take Crow away from him. He’d prefer they keep to themselves – and Miss Maggie – but Crow needs to know. Who her parents were, and why they put her on that boat, and if they came from Penikese, the island no one ever goes to, and the island the townspeople all think she came from. The island that housed a leper colony when she was born.
When Crow sees a fire on Penikese – now abandoned, the colony moved south – it lights a fire inside her own self, and she sets out on a quest to unbury her past. Along the way, she discovers secrets about her own origins and many more hidden pieces of the past – secrets that maybe should have stayed buried.
If you’ve read Wolf Hollow, an absolute stunner of a book and one of last year’s Newbery honor titles, you already know how amazing Beyond the Bright Sea is going to be with Lauren Wolk’s name on the cover. A quiet, slow burn of a story, Crow and Osh and Miss Maggie will grab hold of your heart strings and won’t let go. With lovely, lush prose, more than one mystery to solve, a setting so vivid you’ll want to head out to sea or explore a wild, rocky stretch of beach, and characters so marvelously real you’ll want to dig into a bowl of Miss Maggie’s chowder with them, this is definitely my favorite middle grade read of the year so far. I’ll be looking for this one to sport a shiny award medal this winter!