Selkies, shape-shifters, and maybe mermaids.

Betsy Cornwell.  Tides.  Boston: Clarion, 2013.

Noah and Lo Gallagher are spending the summer with their grandmother, Dolores, on the Isles of Shoals.  Noah is there for a marine biology internship, while Lo hopes to spend the time drawing and painting — and hopefully ending her struggle with bulimia.  What they don’t expect is to get involved with a local pod of selkies searching for a lost child.

I found out about Tides from the Gay YA master list for books with bisexual characters — in this case, Dolores, who was once married to Noah and Lo’s grandfather, but now lives with her selkie sweetheart, Maebh.  I like how Cornwell draws a parallel between Dolores’ experiences and classic selkie folklore.

The ending — no spoilers — felt a bit too easily accomplished; I’ll just say that it’s one of those situations where the adults too easily allow the kids to confront a dangerous situation all by themselves.  One other random thing — it was a little confusing when Cornwell kept referring to Dolores as “Gemm.”  I’m guessing that’s Noah and Lo’s word for “grandma,” but I would’ve liked at least a brief explanation.

Overall, though, it’s a lovely selkie story.

~ ~ ~

Noelle Stevenson.  Nimona.  New York: HarperTeen, 2015.Nimona

A graphic novel from the creator of Lumberjanes. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a former knight turned supervillain in a kingdom that’s half medieval, half futuristic. Nimona is his new teenage shapeshifting sidekick with a dark past. Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin is the fancy-pants darling of the Institution of Law Enforcement & Heroics. It’s a story full of sword-fights, science, dragons, corrupt government shenanigans, and random sharks! It’s goofy, dark, and slightly meta.

~ ~ ~

Aimee Friedman.  Sea Change.  New York: Point, 2009.

I’m going to haiku this one…

Science-minded girl
Visits island where legends
Start to turn her head.

Miranda Merchant’s estranged grandmother dies, leaving her and her mother an estate on Selkie Island, off the coast of Georgia.  Miranda thinks they’re just going to clean out and sell the house, but the lore and locals start to weave their spell, especially when Miranda meets a strange boy on Siren Beach.  I personally would’ve liked more emphasis on the mer-lore than on the summer romances, but it was an enjoyable summer read overall.


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