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Beyond the Bright Sea
Cover of Beyond the Bright Sea
Beyond the Bright Sea
From the bestselling author of Newbery Honor–winner Wolf Hollow, the moving story of an orphan, determined to know her own history, who discovers the true meaning of family.
"The sight of a campfire on a distant island...proves the catalyst for a series of discoveries and events—some poignant, some frightening—that Ms. Wolk unfolds with uncommon grace." –The Wall Street Journal
★ "Crow is a determined and dynamic heroine with a strong intuition, who pieces together the puzzle of her past while making profound realizations about the definition of family." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Beautiful, evocative." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.
Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.
Vivid and heart-wrenching, Lauren Wolk's Beyond the Bright Sea is a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of family.
From the bestselling author of Newbery Honor–winner Wolf Hollow, the moving story of an orphan, determined to know her own history, who discovers the true meaning of family.
"The sight of a campfire on a distant island...proves the catalyst for a series of discoveries and events—some poignant, some frightening—that Ms. Wolk unfolds with uncommon grace." –The Wall Street Journal
★ "Crow is a determined and dynamic heroine with a strong intuition, who pieces together the puzzle of her past while making profound realizations about the definition of family." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Beautiful, evocative." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.
Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.
Vivid and heart-wrenching, Lauren Wolk's Beyond the Bright Sea is a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of family.
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    1
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  • Lexile:
    770
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Prologue

    My name is Crow.

    When I was a baby, someone tucked me into an old boat and pushed me out to sea.

    I washed up on a tiny island, like a seed riding the tide.

    It was Osh who found me and took me in. Who taught me how to put down roots, and thrive on both sun and rain, and understand what it is to bloom.

    The island where we found each other was small but strong, anchored by a great pile of black rock that sheltered our -cottage—a ramshackle place built from bits of lost ships—nestled on a bed of earth and sea muck, alongside a small garden and the skiff that took us wherever our feet could not.

    We didn't need anything else. Not in the beginning.

    At low tide, we could cross easily to the next island, Cuttyhunk, through shallows strewn with bootlace weed and minnows.

    At high tide, the cottage sat so close to the risen sea that it felt nearly like a boat itself.

    For a long time, I was happiest when the water rose and set us apart, on our own, so just the two of us decided everything there was to decide.

    And then, one night when I was twelve, I saw a fire burning on Penikese, the island where no one ever went, and I decided on my own that it was time to find out where I'd come from and why I'd been sent away.

    But I didn't understand what I was risking until I nearly lost it.

    Chapter 1

    I'll never know for sure when I was born. Not exactly.

    On the morning Osh found me, I was just hours old, but he had no calendar and didn't much care what day it was. So we always marked my birth on whatever midsummer day felt right.

    The same was true of my other milestones: moments that had nothing to do with calendars.

    Like the day Mouse showed up at our door, whisker thin, and decided the cottage was hers, too. Much as I had.

    Or the first time Osh let me take the tiller of our skiff while he sat in the bow and let the sun coddle his face for a while, his back against the mast, the fine spray veiling him in rainbows. Or the ebb tide when a white-sided dolphin stranded on our shore, Osh gone somewhere, and I came back from Cuttyhunk to find her rocking and heaving, her cries babylike and afraid. I used my bare hands to scoop away the wet sand that stuck her fast. And I grabbed her crescent flukes and tugged, inch by inch, until the water lifted her enough so we both slipped back suddenly into the sea.

    She looked me in the eye as she passed, as if to memorize what I was at that moment. As if to say that I should remember this, too, no matter what happened later.

    None of which had anything to do with calendars.

    Still, I know I'd lived on that tiny island for eight years before I began to be more than just curious about my name. The dream that woke me, wondering anew about my name, was full of stars and whales blowing and the lyrics of the sea. When I opened my eyes, I lay for a minute, watching Osh as he stood at the stove, cooking porridge in a scabby pot.

    I sat up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. "Why is my name Crow?" I asked.

    When Osh stirred the porridge, the spoon made a sound like a boat being dragged across the beach. "I've told you," he said. "You were hoarse with crying when you washed up here. You cawed over and over. So I called you Crow."

    That answer had always been enough before. But it didn't explain everything. And everything was what I had begun to want.

    "In English?" I asked.

    Osh sometimes spoke in a language I didn't know, his voice like music, especially when he prayed, but also when he painted his pictures of the islands and the sea. When I first asked Osh about it, he said that it...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 27, 2017
    Creating mystery and suspense in an unusual setting, Newbery Honor–winner Wolk (Wolf Hollow) spins an intriguing tale of an orphan determined to find her roots, set in the 1920s. As a baby, Crow was found in a boat washed up on a (fictional) Massachusetts island. Osh, the introverted painter who found her, named her and took her in. Since then, Crow has enjoyed a tranquil existence, except for being ostracized by those who believe she came from nearby Penikese Island, which housed lepers. When Crow, now 12, spots a fire across the water on Penikese, her curiosity is awakened. After persuading Osh and their friend Miss Maggie to investigate, she takes the first step in an emotional quest to discover who her parents were. Crow is a determined and dynamic heroine with a strong intuition, who pieces together the puzzle of her past while making profound realizations about the definition of family. Wolk’s economical prose clearly delineates Crow’s conflicting emotions and growing awareness, and readers will feel the love and loyalty that she, Osh, and Miss Maggie share. Ages 10–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from April 15, 2017
    This book will make people want to run away to the Elizabeth Islands.It's the 1920s. Crow and her adoptive father, Osh, live in a tiny house on a tiny island off Cape Cod, but her descriptions make it seem strange and mysterious. The cottage is "built from bits of lost ships," and it's full of found treasures: "a pair of sun-white whale ribs arched over our doorway, a tarnished ship's bell hanging from their pinnacle." Every chapter in the book has a new mystery to be solved: why was Crow sent away in an old boat when she was a baby? Why is a fire burning on an abandoned island? Did Capt. Kidd really hide treasure nearby? But some readers will love Wolk's use of language even more than the puzzles. Crow says her skin is "the same color Osh [makes] by mixing purple and yellow, blue and orange, red and green." (The race of the characters isn't always identified, but Osh says, "I came a long, long way to be here," and his native language and accent make him sound "different from everyone else.") The pacing of the book isn't always as suspenseful as it should be. There are a few lulls, which the author tries to fill with heavy foreshadowing. But the mysteries--and the words that describe them--are compelling enough to send readers to the islands for years to come. A beautiful, evocative sophomore effort from Newbery honoree Wolk (Wolf Hollow, 2016). (Historical fiction. 9-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2017

    Gr 5-8-The definition of family and one young girl's struggle to find out who she really is take center stage in Wolk's follow-up to her Newbery Honor book, Wolf Hollow. As long as she can remember, Crow has lived her whole life on the sleepy island of Cuttyhunk, part of the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts. When she was a baby, only days old, a lonely fisherman named Osh found her moored on the rocks after being set adrift in a shabby rowboat. The only place Crow could have safely come from and still survived the boat trip is the neighboring island of Penikese, whose sole occupants were the patients and staff of a leper colony. Many of the townspeople avoid Crow like the plague, assuming that she carries the disease despite exhibiting no physical symptoms. Even though Crow is loved by her adoptive father and their kind and helpful neighbor Miss Maggie, she is determined to discover where she comes from and (hopefully) locate her birth family. Wolk's writing is lyrical and heartrending. Her impeccable research of the area during the 1920s (described in a lengthy author's note) is on full display. Crow, Osh, and Miss Maggie are fully fleshed-out characters who jump off the page. Wolk strikingly conveys the intense feelings of hope and anxiety Crow and Osh experience, respectively, as Crow sets out to track down her birth family. This is a tear-jerking yet ultimately uplifting tale of establishing one's place in the world and realizing that sometimes your family is the one you make, not the one you are born into. VERDICT A stellar story full of heart, action, and emotion that will make readers feel like they are a part of Crow's family.-Christopher Lassen, BookOps: The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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