cover image The Sea in Winter

The Sea in Winter

Christine Day. Heartdrum, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-287204-3

Day (I Can Make This Promise) tackles an important and timely issue in her sophomore novel: how to start over when a dream is no longer possible. Middle schooler Maisie, who is Makah/Piscataway, wants nothing more than to dance—it’s been her obsession since her first ballet lesson at age four. But an accident tears her ACL and isolates her from her ballet friends, and Maisie sinks into a depression that results in slipping grades and familial tensions. Around a family road trip to the Olympic Peninsula, though, Maisie learns how her Makah ancestors brought “their community together, despite horrible events,” and how her mother healed after her father’s sudden death. Slowly, she also takes her own steps toward healing—forgiving a friend, learning to rely on family, and talking about her feelings of loss. Day, who is Upper Skagit, creates tension in this quiet novel by gradually unspooling the backstory of Maisie’s injury and her father’s death in Afghanistan. It’s a contemplative and emotional story of resilience and reinvention whose dedication sums it up well: “To anyone who needs a reminder that pain is temporary.” Ages 8–12. [em](Jan.) [/em]