Fantasy fans will appreciate the whimsical nature of this middle-grade quest, though some events could use more buildup. Reynolds opens with an earthquake that kickstarts Andi’s mystical connection with Lux, a friendship that, despite its abrupt beginning, forms the basis of Andi’s endeavor to save her family. Andi’s loyalty to her brother and grandmother are endearing, particularly for such a young character, and Lux—who loses his mother in the first pages, a tragedy he has in common with Andi, whose mother has disappeared—provides her with the support she craves: when Andi dives into the ocean to meet Lux, her thoughts echo “She was not alone. She would never be alone again.”
Readers should come prepared for mature content, as themes of child physical abuse and neglect are woven throughout, but the heart of this adventure is a warm story of family, loss, and resilience. Lux’s protectiveness fills an aching need for Andi, who wants nothing more than a safe place for her family to exist, and those readers charmed by their imaginative friendship, and the book’s winning combination of magic and science fiction, will be pleased with the suspense-laden ending that promises more adventures to come.
Takeaway: A fantasy-filled tale of friendship that transcends time and space.
Great for fans of: Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A