Anna lives on a rocky island off the coast of Scotland, and that is all she knows.
Anna knows no one but her father, her father’s assistant, Max, and Biddy and Jasper, the cook and handyman. Her father, who spends his time in his study working out mathematical formulas, has kept most knowledge of the outside world from her, although she studies mathematics, and someone (she thinks it is Max) leaves her forbidden books to read. Embodying the trope of a stranger washed up on the shores of an isolated place, a boy named Rob is discovered one day, broken and nearly drowned, by Max. Anna is kept from Rob, too, but she is stirred by his presence and wants to know more—about everything. Written in the simple language of this high-interest, low-vocabulary series, there is little nuance or subtlety in the storytelling. Stark images of the waters, the sounds of the islands and Anna’s longing to learn lead readers through to an end—or possibly a new start.
The lack of closure is irritating, but the romance of the tale even in this abbreviated form is compelling. (Fiction. 10-16)