Genre: YA fiction with a touch of telepathy
Length: 324 pages
Setting: Seven Bay Island (feels like the North East, somewhere), 1980s
Interest: I’m currently reading A Wrinkle in Time to Mr. Curiosity and flashing back to reading it as a kid. That book reminded me of this book, which was one of my favorites as a teen. I haven’t read it since high school, but suddenly had a strong urge to read it now.
Summary: The Austin family have come back to Seven Bay Island for the summer, but it’s not the usual summer. For one thing, Grandfather (whose house they stay in) is dying of leukemia. For another, a family friend, Commander Rodney, dies of a heart attack after saving a rich kid from drowning. Sixteen-year old Vicky’s mixed up in all of it. Leo, Rodney’s son, turns to Vicky for comfort and more (although Vicky doesn’t want to give the “more”). The rich kid turns out to be Zachary, who came to the area looking for Vicky, his anchor in a stormy life. Vicky also helps Adam, her brother’s friend and colleague at a nearby marine station, in a project trying to communicate with dolphins. Turns out Vicky has some latent telepathic abilities.
Final thoughts: I can see why I loved this book as a teenager. I mean, I wasn’t particularly angsty, but there’s still the general confusion of trying to find yourself that L’Engle so beautifully describes in Vicky’s life as well. The big difference is Vicky got to swim with dolphins (and I so wanted to be a marine biologist and do the same). The book is enjoyable to read as an adult, but perfect for the teenage girl. Throughout the story, there is a strong sense of the importance of family and being true to yourself. There’s an element of religion as well, but it’s quite inclusive and not dogmatic. You can start with this book, but the Austins are introduced in Meet the Austins and Adam is introduced in The Arm of the Starfish. Reading those first set up quite a bit of backstory, but aren’t strictly necessary.
Title comes from: A line in a poem by the 17th century poet Henry Vaughan that is referenced throughout the book.
Reading challenges fulfilled: 15/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and an R in the Alphabet Soup Title Challenge
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