Deftly transforming a fairy tale into a richly layered exploration of culture and relationships, Henning tells the origin story of the Sea Witch from Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” Sixteen-year-old Evie is a child of Havnestad, a Danish fishing town, and of the sea, but she also possesses a dark secret that could see her killed by her own people. After the death of their mutual best friend, Anna, Evie and the crown prince, Nik, forge a friendship, which is tested daily by public judgment as well as their private pain from the loss of Anna. Evie finds welcome escape from her grief with Iker, Nik’s cousin, a crown prince in his own right and the young man who has captured her heart. Then Annemette, a mysterious young woman, arrives in the kingdom and quickly fills the role that Anna previously held in Evie and Nik’s lives. Exquisitely detailed examinations of Danish seaside traditions lend gravitas to a debut novel rooted in the sea and its mercurial moods. A focus on Evie’s internal monologue and romantic attachments unfortunately overshadows the subtly nuanced explorations of magic and its uses, but readers who persevere will be rewarded with richly woven threads of fairy tale allusions and a surprising ending. Ages 13–up. Agent: Rachel Ekstrom, Folio Literary Management.(July)
Reviewed on: 05/28/2018 Release date: 07/01/2018 Genre: Children's
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