cover image The Last True Poets of the Sea

The Last True Poets of the Sea

Julia Drake. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-368-04808-8

In a strong debut loosely based on Twelfth Night, 16-year-old Violet’s family splinters after her brother Sam’s suicide attempt. Their parents enter counseling at home in New York City, Sam heads to Vermont for treatment, and party girl Violet is exiled to Lyric, Maine, where her family used to spend their summers. Living quietly with her uncle Toby and volunteering at the local aquarium, Violet reflects on her childhood with her brother, makes new friends through coworker Orion, and gains interest in the history of her great-great-great-grandparents, the town’s much-celebrated founders. Against the evocative backdrop of rugged coastal Maine, Drake’s suspenseful novel offers three strands of high drama: the impact of Sam’s mental illness on Violet, Violet’s family history (her grandmother, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, posed as a boy while working for her future husband), and a complicated love triangle between Violet, Orion, and Orion’s friend Liv, who has a special interest in Violet’s ancestors. The story of her grandmother’s transformation creates intriguing parallels with the internal changes Violet undergoes. If at times the novel seems crowded, Violet emerges as a genuine, sympathetic protagonist struggling to create something new from the wreckage of her life. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Peter Knapp, Park Literary & Media.(Oct.) [/em]