Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea

Ashley Herring Blake. Little, Brown, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-53545-8
Packing an emotional punch, this delicately woven novel by Blake (The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James) features clearly wrought characters who capture the heart. Twelve-year-old Hazel Bly, her mother Evie, and five-year-old sister Peach have moved eight times in the last two years, following the death of the girls’ Mum. Wracked with guilt and physically scarred from the event that took Mum’s life, Hazel retreats into trying to keep the family safe. Newly arrived in Rose Harbor, Me., for the summer, she finds herself unwilling to face the ocean, once her most treasured escape. After running into neighbor Lemon, also 12, and Lemon’s mother, Claire (Evie’s childhood friend, it happens), Hazel learns that she’s the spitting image of Rosemary Lee, a turn-of-the-century captain’s daughter, rumored to have become a mermaid, on whom the seaside town’s lore is based. Grieving, prickly Hazel must navigate making friends—including with Kiko, who’s of Japanese ancestry, and Jules, who’s white and nonbinary—and address her trauma. Slowly unfurling her story, which is resonant with messages about healing, the author invites readers into an exploration of grief, memory, and familial relationships while employing layered metaphors about oceanic fact and fiction. Ages 8–12. Agent: Rebecca Podos, Rees Literary. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/25/2021
Release date: 05/25/2021
Genre: Children's
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