The Turn of the Tide, by Rosanne Parry, for MMGM
Easter is behind us, flowers are blooming, and our neighborhood pool is getting prepped to open–it’s time to think about summer fun, and dream of all the places we’d like to go! The Turn of the Tide is perfect for that, since I think this book could convince a rock it wanted to sail. Kudos to author Rosanne Parry for that!
This is the story of two cousins who’ve met but hardly remember it, and normally live across the pacific from one another. Kai’s story begins in his home village in Japan, with an earthquake and tsunami. As the story begins he breaks the school safety rules and runs off to try and save his grandparents, but is unable to get them to high enough ground and has to leave Japan without knowing if they’re okay.
Jet is the daughter of a bar pilot from a long line of the same, living in Astoria, Oregon, and desperately wants to grow up and be a bar pilot like her father and grandfather. However, she’s small for her age, a girl, and just broke one of her dad’s sailing rules and ripped a hole in the cherished sailboat he passed down to her.
Both kids have a lot of growing up to do, as they work to prove themselves and push forward with the changes in their lives. At first glance, the intensity of Kai’s challenges–his missing grandparents, the destruction of his hometown, and his parents’ desperate work on the reactor–would seem to overwhelm Jet’s more day-to-day challenges, but that’s not the case. For one thing, since Kai is living in her home and acting as her crew on their sailboat, his challenges become hers, especially since he’s afraid of water and as his captain she has to figure out how to help him deal with that fear and still sail. Additionally, the book does an excellent job of showing the strength of Jet’s desire to become a bar pilot, and the challenges she’s up against since it’s an extremely dangerous profession and women are scarce. In fact, the balancing of the two povs and stories was possibly the best example of a duo pov book I’ve ever read. Instead of being a detraction, as is often the case, I felt the two perspectives wove together in such a way that they enhanced the story, and made for a seamless whole. Excellent story-telling, in this and in the use of secondary characters, as well!
I also really loved the use of setting, and that the story both made me wish for a second life in which I could grow up on the water in Astoria, Oregon, and also managed to bring Kai’s life in Japan home to the reader so it lives for me, despite his not being there most of the book. Both cultures and homes are shared beautifully, and the reader wins as a result.
Now, let’s see what Apricot-kitty has to say:
“Brrr! Water, everywhere, that’s what this book had! The kids were great, and I really liked Jet’s family and that she had involved parents who still let them have adventures. But couldn’t those adventures have happened on dry land?”
Ah, yes, I must repeat that I think this book could make a swimmer or sailor out of almost anyone. However, if readers really don’t like water or have no patience for nautical terms, they’re going to quickly run out of patience. The book does include a nod to geocaching and I recall a couple summer bonfires complete with s’mores…but this is one for the water-lovers. A perfect summer read, or class room read when everyone is wishing it was summer!
Have you ever been sailing? I’ve been out on boats a few times, but never have, and now it’s on my bucket list. A lovely example of how books can open up new worlds! For more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday spotlights, reviews, interviews and giveaways, stop by Shannon Messenger’s blog, and happy reading!