Review / Beyond the Bright Sea

20210402ma_0843-copyBook: Beyond the Bright Sea (2017)
Author: Lauren Wolk
Genre: MG, Mystery/Historical Fiction

Opening lines from the book …
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.


1) Crow is such an interesting main character. At the age of 12, she becomes curious about where she came from and goes about trying to solve the mystery. She writes letters. She visits islands. She even does some of this without any adult supervision.

2) Which brings me to the adults in her life: Osh and Miss Maggie. I love these two characters. They have such love and support for Crow. Osh is like her dad, while Miss Maggie is her teacher. Every child needs an Osh and Miss Maggie!

3) This book has treasure hunts, nearly-desert islands, and mystery galore!

4) It’s fun to piece together the clues as the mystery begins to sort itself out. More clues are added and we finally get our answers. Or most of our answers.

5) I was fascinated by the history behind this story, especially of Penikese Island which housed a leper colony until 1921. How the locals treat Crow (thinking she might have leprosy) was heartbreaking to read about. Since the hospital is closed by the time the story takes place, we only get to “see” the empty buildings, etc. And most of our information (in the book) comes through the letters that Crow receives from the nurse.

6) That book cover is beautiful!


1) When I went back, I finally found the page that lets us know when the story takes place. It’s 1925. But I missed this information (probably because it was on its own page, in small print, and looked like a dedication page) when I first read it. Therefore, I wasn’t sure if this was a historical book or a fantasy? I think the name Crow made me think it was some sort of magical realism. But then, none of those elements came into play! I just wish they had put the “1925” on the same page as the first chapter.


I really enjoyed this book. It’s a mystery with elements of the historical and adventure novels. I highly recommend it!

(P.S. Thank you to Rosi Hollinbeck for this book! I won it a gazillion years ago as a giveaway. And finally, I got down to reading it. It’s been sitting on my TBR pile forever!)



Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

7 thoughts on “Review / Beyond the Bright Sea

  1. I had this on my list to read several years ago and then it got buried. I’m so glad you reviewed it today as I’m going to find a copy and finally give it a go. A unique story and the adult characters certainly draw me in. Happy MMGM!


  2. I loved Lauren Wolk and Beyond the Bright Sea is a favorite. I really enjoyed how the island/sea was a major character in the story. I don’t remember seeing the dates of 1925 in the book, although I do remember the colony was set at another time and had closed. Wolk does enjoy period pieces. I read/reviewed the book when it first came out, so I’ve forgotten specifics. Plan to read it again some day.


  3. I actually tried to read this book once, but it was during a weird reading slump where I quit a bunch of books that were probably perfectly good. But I do remember what you mean about thinking it was fantasy—it almost seems like you’re supposed to wonder what might be going on as you read it. Your review makes this sound like a great read—thanks so much for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

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