Emily Windsnap and the Falls of Forgotten Island by Liz Kessler, 305 pp, RL 5
I've read and loved other books by Liz Kessler (North of Nowhereand A Year Without Autumn) yet somehow never reviewed any titles in her seven book, bestselling series about thirteen-year-old girl who is part mermaid (a semi-mer: legs on land, a tail in the water) until now. And, while I had to a bit of digging to learn the backstories of a few of the characters, I got a great feel for the mythology and adventure that Kessler creates for Emily in each book.
Emily Windsnap and the Falls of Forgotten Island begins with a prologue that tells the story of a fiercely epic rainstorm with attitude that cleaved and island in two and left it surrounded by an ever present cloud cover. Present day finds Emily, who narrates the book, on the boat that she calls home, joined by her (human) mother, who lives on the upper deck and (merman) father, who lives below deck, under water. Millie, her mother's best friend, is also on board, trying to convince the family to take a much needed vacation. After some negotiating, the family settles on Majesty Island, deciding to bring Shona, Emily's best mermaid friend, Aaron, her semi-mer boyfriend, and Millie, to keep an eye on the kids.
On Shona's insistence, Emily has vowed not to be, "tempted by adventures, risks, or mysteries for at least one month." Yet, when they arrive on Majesty Island and take a boat tour of the Falls of Forgotten Island (the island from the prologue, now visible thanks to a break in the cloud cover) Emily can't help but notice a pair of dark eyes peering out from behind a break in the massive falls that make Niagra and Victoria look tame. Emily finds herself trying to make amends to Shona for breaking her promise, spend time with Aaron and sneak away from Millie and her parents so that she can explore the island behind the island.
Once there, she discovers that she, Aaron and Shona are part of an ancient prophecy involving a mysterious giant and a looming earthquake. Kessler creates a magical backstory that includes the Queen of the Earth, a woman who can foretell the future and a love story with a tragic ending. While Aaron is Emily's boyfriend, Kessler keeps their romance very chaste and G-rated while also giving readers a good example of the challenges that come when you have to juggle friends and boyfriends. Kessler's writing is vivid - I could see the warm, clear waters of Majesty Island, feel the spray of the enormous falls and smell the damp of the caves Emily explores as she makes her way to the heart of the mystery of Forgotten Island.
More books by Liz Kessler
The Emily Windsnap Series
Source: Review Copy