Blurb (from Goodreads):
When sixteen-year-old Aileen Shay sees a dead girl floating in the bay during a midnight yacht party, she never imagines Jamie Flannigan, her new boyfriend, may be involved. The only thing she knows about Jamie is that he personifies the one thing she has been drawn to her entire life – the ocean. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes he knows more about the murder than he's telling. When another girl is attacked, and Jamie refuses to answer her questions, Aileen searches for answers on her own.
Aileen learns that Jamie's family belongs more to myths and legends than they do in the real world. They are selkies, and after the Flannigans threaten her family, Aileen suspects they are responsible for both attacks.
But they aren't the only ones in her small fishing town who can keep a secret. As Aileen uncovers the truth about the murder, the selkies, and her own family, she learns why her soul is bonded to the sea. But with that revelation comes a choice – to permanently sever her connection with the water, which comes at a painful cost, or embrace a legacy that just might get her killed.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Curiosity Quills Press and Netgalley.)
16-year-old Aileen is not allowed in the sea, or even in a boat without parental supervision. Ever since she went overboard during a storm when she was 3 years old, her mother has been totally mental about Aileen’s safety around water, to the point where she would not even allow Aileen to learn to swim.
Breaking her mother’s rules for the first time, Aileen goes out on a boat with friends, only to have the evening ruined when a dead body is discovered.
Nobody knows who the dead girl is, apart from Jamie, a boy new to town who claims the girl was his cousin. There is something a little off about Jamie and his family though, and Aileen can’t help but think of the old Selki tales that the man who works in her father’s shop tells her.
Aileen has more than Jamie and his family to worry about though, with a man in town who is determined to buy every shop in the high street and build a supermarket, including Aileen’s fathers bait shop.
Who killed the dead girl? What is Jamie hiding? Can Aileen save her father’s shop? And are Selkis real?
I enjoyed this book, it was an interesting insight in Selki folk-tales and history, and the mystery element was well done.
I really felt for Aileen, her mother was so rigid with her rules, and so over-protective of Aileen, and it seemed ridiculous that she wouldn’t want to teach her daughter how to swim when she had the ocean in her back-yard! I thought it was really bad how Aileen had basically been lied to all her life about the Selkis, and the reasons she wasn’t allowed to go into the sea. I was really glad that she had her grandmother there to support her, although her grandmother’s help was minimal really.
I liked the romance between Aileen and Jamie, and I thought that Aileen deserved to have someone like Jamie in her life, even if only for a short time.
I thought that the Selki storyline was well done. I haven’t read any stories exclusively about Selkis before, and I liked how the author had obviously gone to the trouble of finding out about Selki folk-law and had included it as part of the story, without it being an info-dump.
I liked how finding out who the Selkis were wasn’t the only mystery to be solved, and I thought the other storylines of the dead girl, the man who was trying to buy Aileen’s fathers shop, and the appearance of Jamie’s family in town were all interwoven nicely.
I thought that the ending of the story was done well, and I liked that although things didn’t turn out quite the way that Aileen wanted, but there was still a satisfactory conclusion to the story.
Overall; a good YA Selki story.
7 out of 10.