A fishing contest leads 10-year-old Finn into danger, both literally and socially, when he’s rescued, befriended and helped by the town pariahs.
Seamer Bay is a tightknit community with strong traditions and social mores. The Finer family, living far out at Clee Point, have been outcasts all Finn’s life. Hoping to win the contest, Finn ventures down the point and gets cut off by the tide. It is Davey Finer who rescues him and then shows him where the best fishing is and how to set his lines more successfully. What does Finn owe Davey and his family? Risking your classmates’ disapproval is one thing; it’s harder to disobey your parents. The moral questions here are clear and beautifully set against the menacing background of the ocean. It is deaths at sea that led to the Finers’ exile and the implacable tide that makes Finn’s fishing suspenseful. When a storm threatens to destroy Clee Point, Finn must make a decision. Spare prose, an unusual setting and interesting fishing details distinguish this tightly focused story, set in an indeterminate past. The narrative’s slow pace gives readers time to think. Manna’s watercolor illustrations, vignettes and full-sized paintings framed by the white page border, will help them picture this isolated world.
A treat for the thoughtful reader. (Historical fiction. 9-12)