cover image Josephine Against the Sea

Josephine Against the Sea

Shakirah Bourne. Scholastic, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-338-64208-7

Bourne (My Fishy Stepmom) conjures young heroes and a mean game of cricket in a roaring tale of hidden Caribbean mysticism set in Barbados. Spirited 11-year-old Josephine has grown accustomed to living with just her Guyanese fisherman father after her mother’s death, but she hates the way her dad avoids mentioning her mom—or discussing cricket, the sport they all loved—and his efforts to move on by dating. Alongside her best friend Ahkai, who’s on the autism spectrum and selectively nonverbal, Josephine successfully ousts each prospective partner—the latest with “operation slime”—until the arrival of mysteriously seductive Mariss, with whom her father falls in love. As the relationship deepens, Josephine notices strange household changes, including fading traces of her mother, that hint at an uncanny presence. While struggling to keep her father safe, preserve her mother’s memory, and make a cricket team that she’s told is only for boys, Josephine looks into a figure of Caribbean folklore. Twining fantastical elements with a steady pace and a contemporary setting, Bourne nets a relatable story of processing grief, trust in one’s family and community, and Black girl magic. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (July) [/em]