Book Review: When Sea Becomes Sky by Gillian McDunn
In this heartfelt summer story, acclaimed author Gillian McDunn paints a stunning portrait of the bond of siblings and the love we’ll always carry with us.
Bex and Davey’s summer in the saltmarsh is different this year, thanks to the record-breaking drought. Even the fish seem listless—and each day the water level lowers farther. When they discover a mysterious underwater statue, they’re thrilled at the chance to solve the puzzle of its origin. This is the summer adventure they’ve been waiting for.
When they learn of a development plan that will destroy their special spot, they’ll need to act quickly. Unfortunately, sometimes progress happens whether you’re ready or not. What will it mean if Bex and Davey lose their corner of the marsh where otters frolic and dragonflies buzz—their favorite place to be siblings together?
As Bex and Davey attempt to save the statue and their beloved marsh, they come to see that the truth is not as simple as it seems . . . ultimately discovering so much more about life, permanence, love, and loss than they ever expected.
Award-winning author Gillian McDunn crafts a gorgeous story of love and siblinghood, of secret statues and island life, of holding on and letting go.
Friends, I’m going to do something annoying. I’m going to call this post a “book review,” when really it’s more like a “book imploring.” Or a “review teaser.” Or, I don’t know, a “vague review.” Because what I’m doing here is telling you to go read this book. And I’m telling you that I love this book, but I’m not telling you why. Because telling you why would ruin the why for you. Book reviews should make you want to go read a thing, but shouldn’t detract from your own experience of reading the thing. And because we’re here on TLT, and not reading reviews for a more formal thing, I can be frustratingly vague and just say: THIS BOOK. Get it. Read it. Don’t read reviews and maybe don’t even read the flap copy (or the description up above, if you happened to skip right down to this part).
Siblings Bex and Davy are having a grand summer adventure. There’s lots of time alone, without parents stopping all the fun and micromanaging their days. There’s a mysterious statue that’s been thrown into a marsh. There’s developers coming to possibly ruin their small town and everything Bex likes best about it. The book starts with a great first few lines that will draw readers in. And you’ll be reading along, thinking, this is a nice book, I like this book, it’s a quiet little story, but I’m having a nice time. And then. And THEN. Just… and then. Okay? Let’s let this be the book review. Let’s agree that this is fine. This is one of those books that is nice to read and seems perfectly fine, but then becomes something bigger, something better, something different. I know, this is an annoying review. I told you I was going to be annoying. Reviewers shouldn’t ruin what makes a story truly outstanding—they should point you toward the thing and let you discover it on your own. So go. Discover. And be ready.
Review copy (finished) courtesy of the publisher
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 02/28/2023
Age Range: 8 – 11 Years
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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