SELKIE GIRL by Laurie Brooks


Age Range: 12 & up
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Life on Shapinsay Island in the Orkneys is tough for Elin Jean. Her strange, webbed fingers and mysterious family history unsettle the other islanders, who shun her cruelly. On the cusp of womanhood, she worries that no will ever love her, and she struggles to define herself as something other than a freak. When Elin Jean discovers her mother’s selkie pelt hidden in the rafters and returns it, she frees her mother from her earthly prison but loses her to the sea, thus forcing herself to make a series of difficult choices. Eventually, Elin Jean arrives at “the knowin’ ”—a better understanding of herself and her place in the world. The antiquated language, a product of either geographic isolation or the unnamed time period, and a few scenes of grisly violence might be off-putting to some readers. But Brooks, a playwright making her novelistic debut, ultimately pulls off this retelling of the selkie myth with compelling, compassionate characters and creatively detailed descriptions of the terrain above and below the surface of the sea. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-85170-4
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2008


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