Josephine Against the Sea

Josephine Against the Sea
Age Range
Release Date
July 06, 2021
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Meet Josephine, the most loveable mischief-maker in Barbados, in a magical, heartfelt adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology.
“A heart-wrenching adventure with big laughs and well-earned surprises.” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That's why she makes a habit of scaring his new girlfriends away. She's desperate to make it onto her school's cricket team because she'll get to play her favorite sport AND use the cricket matches to distract Daddy from dating.

But when Coach Broomes announces that girls can't try out for the team, the frustrated Josephine cuts into a powerful silk cotton tree and accidentally summons a bigger problem into her life . . .

The next day, Daddy brings home a new catch, a beautiful woman named Mariss. And unlike the other girlfriends, this one doesn't scare easily. Josephine knows there's something fishy about Mariss but she never expected her to be a vengeful sea creature eager to take her place as her father's first love! Can Josephine convince her friends to help her and use her cricket skills to save Daddy from Mariss's clutches before it's too late?

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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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