WHEN SEA BECOMES SKY, by Gillian McDunn, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, Feb. 28, 2023, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
When Sea Becomes Sky, by Gillian McDunn, explores the connection between siblings and the joy and pain that comes with that bond.
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. —Synopsis provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
When Sea Becomes Sky is a quiet read that starts out simple enough — two siblings exploring their favorite haunt during the summer. But it becomes much more than that.
Following the discovery of a strange statue submerged in the saltmarsh, Bex and Davey’s summer gets more interesting. There’s a mystery to solve and their corner of the island to save and together, they can do it.
Told from big sister Bex’s point of view, readers gain a true sense of who Davey is, particularly to her. The siblings are close and have a special connection. One worth holding on to.
Without giving too much away, there’s a big twist that occurs about two-thirds of the way through When Sea Becomes Sky that readers won’t see coming. And it’s a gut punch. A gentle, compassionate gut punch, but a gut punch nonetheless. It’s heartbreaking and moving and takes this story in a completely different direction. And it’s what really sets it apart.
When Sea Becomes Sky is a contemplative read that explores love and loss and the path forward from both.
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