Seven years after siblings Maya, Simon, and Penny visited the mysterious island of Tamarind in The Secrets of Tamarind (2011), Penny, now 12, returns alone on her own perilous, life-changing adventure.
With Maya and Simon grown up, Penny lives with her preoccupied scientist parents and her beloved but aging grandmother, who’s becoming weak, confused, and forgetful. One night Granny Pearl warns Penny of an ominous upcoming event and tells her she must go to Tamarind immediately because there’s something only she can do. Bravely, Penny heads out in a rowboat, crossing the Blue Line into Tamarind. Penny arrives in time to participate in a competition to select the next Bloom Catcher who will retrieve the magical Bloom from the Great Wave, saving Tamarind from a cunning, enigmatic, destructive mandrill. Hoping to win the competition and collect the Bloom to restore Granny, Penny proves she’s a heroine in her own right, tackling the competition’s grueling challenges, making new friends, reuniting with an old ally, and emerging as part of something big and important. Sensory descriptions of imaginary flora, fantastic fauna, and vivid landscapes plus an atmosphere charged with impending danger add to Tamarind’s allure. Penny’s possible Latina heritage is hinted at in her use of “Mami” and “Papi” to call her parents but is otherwise unexplored.
This exciting, fast-paced, satisfying finale to the Tamarind trilogy does not disappoint. (map) (Fantasy. 10-14)