Somewhere, between the sea and the sky, there are other places.
Pearl and Clover live with their father on the oyster farm. Clover yearns to go to school but Pearl is determined to never step foot on land again, certain the land’s poisons were responsible for her mother’s death. Pearl and Clover are keeping a big secret, one that will tear their family apart if anyone ever finds out.
Nat lives on the land with his mother, a science advisor who works hard to provide for her son. Nat enjoys playing with his friends but is always careful not to get caught doing anything that will accumulate civil disobedience points for his mother. The constant threat of peacekeepers and the visual reminder of the prison ship keep the people on the land in line.
“You don’t know what it’s like, living there,” he’d said quietly, gazing back to land. “Some rules are hard to keep.”
Nat doesn’t want to stay at the oyster farm with his mother this summer and Pearl definitely doesn’t want “landlubbers” intruding on their lives but it’s the beginning of something new. Nat has his own secret, one that could change everything.
I couldn’t help comparing this book with the author’s debut, Where the World Turns Wild. Both feature worlds that ours could easily begin to resemble in the not too distant future if we don’t take climate change seriously.
My biggest delight came when I realised that the names of the characters in both books have been so carefully and cleverly chosen. There are some names in this book that foreshadow a character’s role or something about their personality. However, the ones that really stood out to me were those I could easily align with elements, which are a vital part of this story. For example, Sora is a Japanese name that means ‘sky’.
Water is the sea all around us. Earth the poisoned land. Air’s the sky where the gulls fly.
Fire is the Decline. Here it was floods and the rising storm water, but elsewhere it was fire. The world got too hot. Fire burned forests and villages, whole cities too.
Spirit is everything that was lost.
The only thing I adored in Where the World Turns Wild that I missed in this book was a connection to a special adult. I love Annie Rose from Where the World Turns Wild as much now as I did the day I met her. While I liked many of the adult characters in this book there wasn’t someone that I got to know well enough to want to spend all of my time with. The closest I came was with Olive but, for reasons that will become clear as you read the book, she wasn’t ever going to be as knowable as Annie Rose was.
Kate Forrester, whose cover image was what initially drew me to Where the World Turns Wild, has also designed this cover. The details will all mean something to you once you’ve finished reading.
“But if people don’t try, things won’t ever change, will they?”
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Stripes Publishing, an imprint of Little Tiger Group, for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
In a near future where a series of environmental disasters has left much of the country underwater, Pearl lives on a floating oyster farm with her father and younger sister, Clover. Following her mum’s death several years earlier, Pearl refuses to set foot on land, believing her illness was caused by the poisons in the ground. Meanwhile, Clover dreams of school, friends and a normal life.
Then Nat comes to spend the summer at the sea farm while his scientist mum conducts some experiments. Leaving behind the mainland, with its strict rules and regulations, he brings with him a secret. But when the sisters promise to keep his secret safe, little do they realise that they may be risking everything…