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Tides
     

Tides

5.0 2
by Betsy Cornwell
 

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When high school senior Noah Gallagher and his adopted teenage sister, Lo, go to live with their grandmother in her island cottage for the summer, they don’t expect much in the way of adventure. Noah has landed a marine biology internship, and Lo wants to draw and paint, perhaps even to vanquish her struggles with bulimia. But then things take a dramatic turn

Overview

When high school senior Noah Gallagher and his adopted teenage sister, Lo, go to live with their grandmother in her island cottage for the summer, they don’t expect much in the way of adventure. Noah has landed a marine biology internship, and Lo wants to draw and paint, perhaps even to vanquish her struggles with bulimia. But then things take a dramatic turn for them both when Noah mistakenly tries to save a mysterious girl from drowning. This dreamlike, suspenseful story—deftly told from multiple points of view—dives deeply into selkie folklore while examining the fluid nature of love and family.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cornwell's auspicious debut weaves historical fantasy together with sensual romance. Multiple points of view—both human and otherworldly—act as tributaries, pooling into a larger stream and coalescing meaningfully. High school senior Noah and his sister, Lo, are spending the summer with their grandmother Gemm in a lighthouse keeper's cottage in the Isles of Shoals, which acts as a liminal place situated between dreams and waking life ("It was like living inside a story," says Gemm of growing up there). Noah and Lo are on the cusp of adulthood, both grappling with tangible concerns; Noah, studious perhaps to a fault, buries himself in a hard-won marine biology internship, and Lo sketches to distract herself from her bulimia. When Noah has a chance encounter with a gorgeous selkie named Mara, it leads to an unexpected love, the search for her missing sister, and risks for both of their families. Cornwell's themes of body image, abuse, and the danger and pleasure found in relationships of all kinds emerge organically through the book's visceral, disturbing, and often lovely imagery. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (June)
From the Publisher

"Cornwell's themes of body image, abuse, and the danger and pleasure found in relationships of all kinds emerge organically through the book's visceral, disturbing, and often lovely imagery."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[A] graceful debut novel. . . The narrative shimmers and haunts, and will appeal to readers who don't typically like fantasy."
Booklist

"Cornwell seamlessly weaves together three distinctive narrative voices to tell a completely original story. . . [Tides] offers a valuable message of acceptance."
VOYA, 4Q 3P J S

"A satisfying mix of folktale, mystery, and family drama, this eerie story will leave readers with the distinct impression that Gemm's island home has a bottomless supply of heartbreaking tales of love and loss."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"A haunting, atmospheric, intergenerational tale of the "inbetween," suffused with selkie lore."
Kirkus

"Subtle themes of turning weakness into strength and threaded throughout the story and ultimately create a nuanced debut novel. . . . An insightful and compelling work."
School Library Journal

"Longing for the beyond vies with the deep bonds of love, home, and family in Betsy Cornwell's dreamlike and heart-wrenching novel, and her fresh, delicate lyricism conveys her characters' struggles with compelling power. A truly beautiful debut!"
Sarah Porter, author of the Lost Voices trilogy

Tides is a rich, taut, suspenseful, and funny exploration of two worlds, selkie and human.  It's full of mystery but it's also so fully imagined that a reader can jump right in.  Betsy Cornwell is a terrific new talent with a boundless imagination.”
Valerie Sayers, author of Who Do You Love and Brain Fever

VOYA - Amy Cummins
Tides, a debut novel by Betsy Cornwell, presents fantasy within a realistic setting on small islands off the coast of New Hampshire. Brother and sister, Noah and Lo, visit the remote island where their grandmother is the lighthouse keeper. Noah has a summer internship with a famous marine biologist, while younger sister, Lo, a visual artist, struggles with body image problems. The summer transforms Lo and Noah through their discovery that selkie folklore is fact. Lo and Noah befriend Mara, in her human form before she reveals her true nature; she is a selkie. Selkies do not age like humans, and they connect with one another through a "link" that shares feelings. Humans intending to profit from selkie biology threaten Mara's family, her pod. Disaster strikes while the pod holds a midsummer ceremony. Noah and Lo must risk their own safety to help the selkies. Cornwell seamlessly weaves together three distinctive narrative voices—Noah, Lo, and Mara—to tell a completely original story. Tides portrays respect of nature, diverse cultures, and non-traditional family structures. Gemm, Lo's and Noah's grandmother, provides the nurture they need. Gemm knows from experience what it means to fall in love with a selkie and to realize a conflict in value systems. Tides makes readers think in new ways through Cornwell's magical, unique world in which folklore comes true. Although potential challenges to the book from some adults might result from Cornwell's affirming representations of interspecies love and romance between a human woman and a selkie woman, the book offers a valuable message of acceptance. Tides is a recommended purchase for young adult collections. Reviewer: Amy Cummins
School Library Journal
10/01/2013
Gr 8 Up—Contemporary issues merge with Irish lore in this richly detailed, lyrical fantasy set off the coast of New England. The narrative, which revolves around mythic creatures called selkies, starts slowly but quickly gains momentum. Eighteen-year-old Noah Gallagher spends his summer with his grandmother and his bulimic sister, Lo, while working as a biology intern for a highly respected scientist. He falls in love with Mara, whom he learns is a selkie. Mara's Elder, Maebh, enjoys a long-standing relationship with his grandmother, and as such Gemm is aware of the selkie pod's secrets long before her grandchildren. Mara's younger sister was kidnapped five years earlier. Now her younger brother has been taken, and Noah is determined to help rescue them. Character development is complex, and the story builds suspense as Noah discovers the horrifying purpose of the abductions. Atmospheric details enhance the quality of the book. Subtle themes of turning weakness into strength are threaded throughout the story and ultimately create a nuanced debut novel. The book jacket mirrors Cornwell's visual imagery. An insightful and compelling work.—Magdaline Henderson-Diman, formerly at Bass Harbor Memorial Library, Bernard, ME
Kirkus Reviews
In this debut, a contemporary teen arrives at New Hampshire's Isles of Shoals for a coveted summer internship and discovers the liminal boundary between fantasy and reality. Eager to begin his dream internship at the Marine Science Research Center on Appledore Island, Noah and his sister, Lo, are staying with their grandmother, Gemm, who lives on nearby White Island. Noah and Lo quickly realize Gemm and her friend Maebh are partners, while Gemm learns Lo is bulimic. Meanwhile, Noah meets an intriguing young woman named Mara, who spends a lot of time in the ocean. Attracted to each other, Noah and Mara tentatively become friends, which proves challenging after Mara reveals she and Maebh are selkies, living most of their lives as seals but with the ability to remove their skins and appear as humans. When a young selkie vanishes, Noah suspects the Research Center's director may be involved and risks his life trying to uncover the shocking truth. In addition to her sensitive portrayal of Gemm and Maebh's lifelong relationship and Noah and Mara's emerging romance, Cornwell successfully incorporates themes of same-sex relationships, eating disorders and ruthless scientific research into her novel. A haunting, atmospheric, intergenerational tale of the "inbetween," suffused with selkie lore. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547927756
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
06/04/2013
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
601,412
File size:
945 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Longing for the beyond vies with the deep bonds of love, home, and family in Betsy Cornwell's dreamlike and heart-wrenching novel, and her fresh, delicate lyricism conveys her characters' struggles with compelling power. A truly beautiful debut!" —Sarah Porter, author of the Lost Voices trilogy
 
Tides is a rich, taut, suspenseful, and funny exploration of two worlds, selkie and human.  It's full of mystery but it's also so fully imagined that a reader can jump right in.  Betsy Cornwell is a terrific new talent with a boundless imagination.” —Valerie Sayers, author of Who Do You Love and Brain Fever

Meet the Author

Betsy Cornwell is the New York Times best-selling author of Tides, Mechanica, and Venturess. She graduated from Smith College and was a columnist and editor at Teen Ink before receiving an MFA in creative writing from Notre Dame, where she also taught fiction. After grad school, she ran away to Ireland to live with the fairies, and she now resides in a small cottage on the west coast with her horse-trainer spouse. To learn more, visit www.betsycornwell.com.

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Tides 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An extremely well written book that will appeal to young (and not so young) adults. The story line is captivating. The characters are brought to life by the author. She allows us to see through their eyes, and share their emotions. The book is set in the beautiful Isles of Shoals just off the the New Hampshire Seacoast, a perfect setting for the North American cousins of the selkies of Celtic legend. The magic and beauty of the selkies in that setting combined with heart warming themes of love, family and acceptance made this one of the most enjoyable books I have read in quite a long time. I would not hesitate to recommend it to my students or my friends. I sincerely hope there is a sequel in the not too distant future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago