Beautiful Descriptions and Selkies!
Noah and Lo head to their grandmother's house on an island for the summer. Noah is excited to start his internship at a center for marine biology, and Lo continues to struggle with an eating disorder. When their grandmother's friend reacts strangely to a story about selkies, Noah brushes it off. And then he meets Mara, who happens to be a real life selkie.
Becoming friends with Mara is unexpected, but a positive addition to his summer. His grandmother's friend turns out to be more than a friend, and he hopes that his mentor at the internship will give him a job other than organizing papers for his work. As the summer goes on, relationships change, and secrets are revealed. No matter the outcome, Noah and Lo will not leave the island the same as they were before.
I knew that I was going to enjoy this book from the very start, from the prologue. The prologue sets the stage for the story, on the islands, the Isles of Shoals, and of course, in the water. The writing style immediately drew me in, with the beautiful description of the setting, that made me long to walk along a beach or lake, to experience the beauty of the water and of islands and bright summer days. This description did not lose its quality, as throughout the novel, the water and islands were once again discussed with great detail, which provided me with amazing visuals as a reader.
The third person narration was a great choice, with multiple perspectives used throughout the book. I think that the use of multiple perspectives brought a lot to the book because it gave the reader glimpses into what was going on in Mara's head, in Lo's thoughts, and in the minds of other characters. It provided insight on what they were struggling with.
Lo and Noah faced different issues, including an eating disorder and the promise of college in the future. However, it was not only the human characters who faced their own problems, as Mara's hopes to lead her "pod" provided a coming-of-age story-line, and her fears over her brother leaving reflected the fears of real people in every day life. Noah's grandmother and her friend, who turns out to be a little something more than a friend, brought up the societal issues and pressures revolving around love and sexuality, which was further explored when their pasts together were explained in detail, which provided some great back story and a background for their own sweet sub-plot.
There was a bit of romance within the book between Noah and Mara. While it seemed genuine and refrained from the addition of a love triangle, it was very predictable. I think that was one of the short comings of this book for me. It was extremely predictable, as I guessed the majority of the events and reveals correctly, which was a bit disappointing.
Overall this was a great read, with beautiful descriptions and a bittersweet ending. I recommend this to those looking for books which explore real-life issues while including paranormal or fantasy creatures. If you're interested in young adult novels that take place on islands or near beaches, this is a great pick for you.
This review can also be found at http://fortheloveofbooksreviews.blogspot.ca/2017/01/tides-by-betsy-cornwell.html
Great descriptions of the setting