The peace of a remote Scottish island is shattered when two bodies wash up on the beach. One is a whale; the other is human.
When 15-year-old Hayley’s mother needs to travel to Europe for her research, Hayley imagines London or Paris, not the island of Nin, with its painfully slow Wi-Fi and nonexistent cellphone service. As a local, Fraser is used to the quiet life, but he wishes for something to interrupt his predictable holiday. Hayley, as rude as she is beautiful, is definitely a mixed bag. When Dunny, Fraser’s electively mute little brother, discovers a man hiding in the caves above the beach, it is up to the three white kids to figure out how to help the stranded man, who is black, get to safety. But human traffickers are dangerous foes, and they soon find themselves in over their heads. The richly scenic setting and unusual story hold promise, but it is marred by static characters and an aimlessly meandering plot. Hayley is the blonde, loud cheerleader from Texas, and Fraser is the introspective dreamer with a love for the sea. Only Dunny, with his mysterious ability to communicate with the whales, is engaging, although that portrayal subscribes to yet another stereotype.
A promising and timely story that never finds its sea legs. (Fiction. 10-14)