When your mum’s gone and your da doesn’t know when she’s coming back, someone must keep the family together. It is up to young Cordie, even if she must lie to do so.
Thomas spins a tale in present-day Ireland of a family coming apart and a brave girl tasked with responsibilities beyond her age. It is early summer, and soon, tourists will be arriving in the seaside town of Selkie Bay, searching for trinkets and evidence of the legendary creatures. But for the Sullivan sisters—Cordie, 11, Ione, 8, and baby Neevy—faced with the disappearance of their mother, other matters weigh more heavily. Did Mum leave because she did not love them? Or because she was a selkie responding to the call of her own kind? Why will Da not use the money in the sugar jar to pay the bills they are so behind on? And if they can find the secret island off the coast, will they find treasure—or better yet, clues about their mother? Readers will like Cordie and want to follow the story, but they may find the resolution too reliant on an improbable turn of events for credibility. Moreover, the last-minute addition of pixie seals and an environmental message further mar the ending and detract from Cordie’s affecting story.
Though the book is not without flaws, readers looking for a strong main character or intrigued by Celtic folklore will find much to enjoy. (Mystery. 8-12)