cover image Surfacing


Nora Raleigh Baskin. Candlewick, $17.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4908-1

From the perspective of sophomore Maggie Paris—with occasional interludes from the spirit of her sister, Leah, who drowned at age nine—Baskin (All We Know of Love) writes an unsettling novel that shows the impact of guilt and childhood trauma. Maggie is an excellent swimmer, a top contender on her school’s team, and people she barely knows tend to confide in her (“Maggie knew, even if no one else understood, that this kind of intimacy made people resent her”). Haunted by regret over not being able to save Leah’s life, Maggie feels distant from others and is reluctant to build a solid relationship with a boy who is interested in her. Maggie is a sympathetic, psychologically complex heroine; her self-destructive impulses, coupled with recurring reminders of loss and death (including flashbacks to her sister’s accident), create a bleak atmosphere. The passages from Maggie’s sister, presented as a collection of memories, cast the family’s vision of Leah in an intriguing new light, but are only peripherally related to Maggie’s immediate concerns. Ages 14–up. Agent: Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Mar.)