cover image When the Sea Is Rising Red

When the Sea Is Rising Red

Cat Hellisen. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-36475-5

Romancing a vampire and a human rogue at the same time might be many girls’ idea of a dream come true, but 16-year-old Pelim Felicita is not enjoying herself. After the suicide of her only friend, she escapes her noble family for a life in the slums, scrubbing dishes in a teashop and trying to lie low. The attentions of Jannik, a “bat” lordling, and Dash, an “arrogant little gutter-dandy,” make it difficult for Felicita to remain anonymous. Her struggles become more than personal when signs of a boggert appear—a parasitic spirit that drains the essence of the living to maintain its presence. A strong magic-wielder, Felicita might be able to forestall the doom that a boggert forebodes, but only at a terrible price. The first-person narration is solidly in character and carries the story with excellent pacing. Debut author Hellisen’s style features evocative descriptions and unflinching detail, drawing readers into the unusual and intriguing elements that make up Felicita’s socially complex world. Ages 12–up. Agent: Suzie Townsend, Nancy Coffey Literary. (Feb.)