Beyond the Bright Sea

Beyond the Bright Sea

eBook - 2017
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Penguin Putnam
- Winner of the 2018 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction - 

From the bestselling author of Newbery Honor–winner Wolf Hollow, Beyond the Bright Sea is an acclaimed best book of the year.

An NPR Best Book of the Year • A Parents’ Magazine Best Book of the Year • A Booklist Editors' Choice selection • A BookPage Best Book of the Year • A Horn Book Fanfare Selection • A Kirkus Best Book of the Year • A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year • A Charlotte Observer Best Book of the Year • A Southern Living Best Book of the Year • A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year

“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.” —Publishers Weekly
★ “Beautiful, evocative.” —Kirkus 

The moving story of an orphan, determined to know her own history, who discovers the true meaning of family. 

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.

Baker & Taylor
Set adrift on the ocean in a small skiff as a newborn, 12-year-old Crow embarks on a quest to find the missing pieces of her history. By the award-winning author of Wolf Hollow. Simultaneous eBook.

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group, 2017
ISBN: 9781101994863 (electronic bk.)
110199486X (electronic bk.)
Branch Call Number: eBOOK FIC WOLK
Characteristics: 1 online resource ()


From Library Staff

As a baby, Crow washed up on an island off the Massachusetts coast. Now 12, she's determined to figure out the truth of her birth. Wolk combines mystery, adventure, and historical fiction in this lyrical story about family. Ages 9 and up.

As a baby, Crow washed up on an island off the Massachusetts coast. Now 12, she's determined to figure out the truth of her birth. Wolk combines mystery, adventure, and historical fiction in this lyrical story about family. Ages 9 and up.

Ages 9 and up. A baby in a basket washes up on a tiny island. A man discovers her and raises her as his own. When this book begins the baby is now 11-year-old Crow and she is starting to get curious about her origins. Where did she come from? And who put her in a basket and let her drift off to s... Read More »

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JCLAngelicaR Feb 23, 2018

A beautiful female character-driven story with an intensifying pace, heart-wrenching tone, authentic characters, and compelling writing style. Wolk deftly raises the gamut of complex societal issues including identity, unconditional love, kindness, inclusion, outcasts, among others. And have I mentioned that there's also a sea treasure adventure and a rough-edged villain in the story? Rich and complete in its own right, "Beyond the Bright Sea" will make a great choice for a book club or reading buddies just like "Wolf Hollow", earlier Wolk's masterpiece.

Feb 14, 2018

This beautifully written story of life on a small island on the Atlantic seaboard immerses the reader in the lives of an orphan and the man who rescued her. This story is part mystery, part adventure, and part family story. The finely drawn characters are people the reader can care about (or dislike) and the author is able to show the subtle growth and changes they undergo.

JCLChrisK Feb 01, 2018

For this review, I'm going to repeat what I wrote about Wolk's previous book, Wolf Hollow:

"This is a beautifully crafted book with as vivid a sense of place, time, and character as I've encountered. Readers come to fully know the story's setting and participants with an affecting clarity. [Crow] makes a wonderful narrator, and her carefully observed insights into herself and others provide a perfect perspective for understanding the tragedies at the heart of the story. She knows, by the end, that she has made a significant transition from childhood to adulthood. She knows far more about pain and suffering, and she knows far more about decency and kindness and community. The unfolding of that transition is transporting, meaningful, and moving. This is a story you feel."

A few of those details may not be quite right, but the gist of it is. I repeat myself, however, for the same reason I'm giving this only four stars instead of five: it follows in Wolf Hollow's footsteps a bit too precisely. The details are different, but the structure, flow, and style are so similar that in some ways I felt I was reading the same story. It's an excellent story; I just needed it to be a bit more distinct. That's a very nitpicky criticism, though, that won't matter to most readers. I really enjoyed reading it and most likely you will, too.

Highly recommended.

Nov 29, 2017

I read and reread passages because this book is so well-written. Crow is strong and smart.

MissLauraStorytime Oct 17, 2017

My choice for the 2018 Newbery Award, Wolk's novel is masterfully written with tenderly crafted characters and vivid settings. The plot develops gradually, just as the main character, Crow's, desire to know more about where and who she came from comes upon her over time.
Well-paced with unexpected twists, this book is for all ages, 3rd grade and up.

bookcat51 Sep 25, 2017

Another beautifully written book by Lauren Wolk to be enjoyed by children and adults. Gorgeous language leads the reader through this historical fiction novel about a young orphan exploring where she came from and the true meaning of family.

AL_KATI Jul 10, 2017

Beautifully written novel about growing up on an island in the 1920s. I liked the characters and felt that they were real and made believable choices. A great novel about an unconventional family--and treasure! That's right. Treasure.

Jun 26, 2017

An orphan, buried treasure, and an unconventional family on a remote Massachusetts island.
I liked it...but thought it was flawed.

May 28, 2017

The pretty cover and the fact that it is historical fiction got my attention on this beautifully written children's book that adults will enjoy. Crow made me think of Nim (Nim's Island). She is precocious, a little bit wild, and totally loveable. Her relationship with Osh and Miss Maggie is the foundation of this story and very endearing. The descriptive setting on the Elizabeth Islands will make you feel like you are right there in the wind and the waves with them. A really heartwarming little adventure story. Recommend.

May 21, 2017

I didn’t love this as much as Wolk’s debut, Wolf Hollow, which was one of my favorite kids’ books of 2015 – this one was, by contrast, a bit slow to get going for me. The relationships between the characters are beautifully drawn, though, as is the setting of a remote island off the coast of New England, and by the end of the book, I was fully immersed. Fans of thoughtful historical fiction, and stories of families bound by ties stronger than blood, will find this a rewarding read.


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JCLChrisK Feb 01, 2018

"I think I've been wrong about some things," I said slowly. . . .

"Like what?"

"Like people," I said.

He huffed. "Easiest mistake in the world," he said.


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