A promising first novel that reworks the Celtic selkie myth, locating it in present-day Maine. Molly, ten, is bright, feisty, and independent, but not skilled with people. On a winter trip to her vacation home, she discovers a skinned mother seal, her crying baby nearby. Soon thereafter, Ruby--Molly's grandmother surrogate--takes in a ""niece,"" Meara, who is friendly but strangely untutored in everyday activities. Though she and Molly become close, Molly's curiosity is piqued by Meara's odd behavior and mysterious origins; she's also worried about sharing Meara's friendship. A final confrontation reveals Meara's selkie origins, making her choice moments later more poignant. Peck's vivid, no-nonsense style helps enlist interest in an initially unsympathetic heroine and maintain it through a predictable, but moving, ending. Attractively open format; Parker's occasional b&w illustrations don't add a great deal.