Author: S. M. Parker
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: August 22, 2017
Received: PageHabit Book Box
A powerful novel that embraces true feminism, hard work, perseverance, and determination! This book embraces topics like racism, sexism, grief, touches of mental disabilities, and then adds a fantasy-ridden twist. Great for it’s touches of suspense, and paranormal, this book gripped me from early on!
Rilla Brae has become property of the ocean, bound by its beauty, and after her father’s death, she becomes bound by duty. At eighteen years old she had plans to go to college soon, but with the loss of her mother to a psychiatric hospital twelve years ago, and the death of Jonathan Brae, she’s conflicted. Should she leave the only home she’s ever known, defy the statistics, and let Gram fend for herself, whilst getting an education so she can return ready to conquer the fishing industry? Or should she stay and care for Gram, take over the fishing business once successfully run by her father, and be the statistic she’s never wanted to be?
Rilla is a strong female protagonist, definitely making strides for feminism. She’s working in a world of men who are arrogant, and egotistical, but if he’s got the last name Benner then he’s just an ass. Defending the only thing she’s ever known Rilla sets off to take over the fishing business, to maintain the income for her and her Gram. With the change from a Trio to a Duo, she finds her heart crushed in the habits she still holds from before her dad’s wake, like making two lunches before heading out to sea.
When Rilla’s boat malfunctions and she sees a young girl standing at the shore of Malaga she hopes the girl can provide some help, but in the blink of an eye she disappears. Once Rilla gets up the courage to return to the Island of Malaga, following this same young lady, she bumps into Sam, an archeology student from away. With a budding friendship ensuing the two of them set out on an adventure. Rilla’s adventure is to escape the death of her father, the aching loss of her mother, and the anger she feels towards her for leaving, and the confusion between attending school or staying home. She battles distancing herself from her friends, like Hattie, whom she partially blames for taking her to a party when she could have been on the water to help her dad the day he died. Forgiving Hattie means she will have to forgive herself, and that takes courage. There’s also Reed, her boyfriend of two years who is still childish and selfish. Words left unsaid can do so much damage once they are released in anger, and she must determine what she wants to do with these words.
Meanwhile, Rilla battles the thought that she may be more connected to her mom then she could ever hope. She starts seeing visions of a young girl on Malaga island early on, but it doesn’t stop there. When the girl begins to invade her home, and every aspect of Rilla’s life, she can no longer deny the truth that is facing her, that this girl is real. Rilla is challenged to find this girl’s story, and how it was tied to her, and tied to her Mother. She’s been called crazy from early on, thanks to living in a small town and her mother leaving. She’s not ready to share this “private thing” with anyone because she isn’t ready to deal with the town thinking she’s gone insane after her father’s death. They already dismiss her ability to fend for herself and patronize her due to her gender, she doesn’t need to be tied to her mentally unstable mother as well.
Eventually she opens up to Sam and a whole new world begins where she’s able to be open with someone who believes in her, and is willing to fight the world to keep her safe. (Not going to lie, I shipped these two from the start!) Through the whole thing Rilla finds her town was far from innocent, and the ancestors of her people hid their horrific sins, but when she reveals the real story, hidden for years, the unmasked truth is surprising, but oh so refreshing to finally have a clear conscience.
Overall this was a great novel, held my attention, and was absolutely wonderful! Due to the content, and some language I’d say I’d rate it PG-13. Definitely worth the read!