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Kids Fiction 282
engaging middle grade fantasy
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JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA is an engaging middle grade fantasy. Josephine is an 11-year-old girl who lives with her father in Barbados. Since her mother died, she has been pretty happy with just the two of them, but her father is beginning to date, which means that Josephine is working to sabotage those dates. She has an idea to get her father to back to the way things used to be through cricket, a sport that used to be a family past-time.

However, soon her father shows up with a mysterious woman named Mariss. She isn't scared off by Josephine's pranks, and strange things seem to happening around her. Josephine is suspicious, and she begins to investigate what Mariss could really be, soon learning about mythology of sea spirits, and realizes she must be a Mami Wata or Sea Mumma. Fearing the consequences if she is not stopped, Josephine tries to stop Mariss before it's too late.

What I loved: The mythology here was really interesting, and I loved the inclusion of library research to help get to the bottom of things. Josephine's best friend, Ahkai, the boy who lives next door and is on the spectrum, was another great character, and I appreciated their interactions and trouble-making. Josephine grows a lot as a character during the course of the book, beginning to understand more about her father and his own grief after her mother's death. The family and magical elements made this a great read for middle grade fans.

Final verdict: A charming middle grade fantasy, JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA is a story of family, love, and magic. Recommend for fans of THE JUMBIES, WATCH HOLLOW, and LOVE SUGAR MAGIC.
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