cover image The Girl from the Sea

The Girl from the Sea

Molly Knox Ostertag. Graphix, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-338-54057-4

This endearing and often funny graphic novel cohesively combines queer teen romance, realism, and fantasy. Sixteen-year-old Morgan Kwon, who has tan skin and dark hair, lives with her recently divorced mom and irritable younger brother on Canada’s Wilneff Island. She plans to lay low and hang out with her close-knit group of friends, then “move to the city, ANY city” for college before coming out as gay. One night, feeling distressed, she slips on rain-soaked rocks and falls into the water, where she’s rescued by Keltie, a selkie with plans of her own. A dreamy kiss between the two allows Keltie to shed her seal form and walk on land as a thick-limbed human with masses of blonde hair. Keltie’s stilted speech and love of fish mark her as a weirdo among Morgan’s friends, compelling Morgan to live a double life (“Now we can find our fortunes together!” Keltie announces. “Yeah, no, nope, we’re not doing that,” says Morgan). Meanwhile, Keltie wants to stop the island’s new cruise ship, owned by the family of Morgan’s friend Serena, from routing harbor tours past the seal rookery. Ostertag’s (the Witch Boy series) artistically and textually strong characters are easy to root for, from their witty text exchanges to their contemporary fashions and layered emotions. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 12–up. [em](June) [/em]