I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.
Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.
Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.
Lots of details in this YA novel are just my thing--a young woman apprenticed to a “witch,” mysterious goings-on, an unusual young man washed up from the sea, plus a wonderful setting, the Isle of Man.
Of course, the witch is an odd elderly woman, despised by the town, but in reality a good friend for young Bridey. And Bridey is different from her neighbours too, so its a lesson about being different successfully.
It’s also about choosing for the future--at the book’s beginning, Bridey wants nothing more than to get as far away from the sea as she possibly can. It is a major act of bravery that takes her to the shore to rescue the young man whom she christens Finn. Will she choose her village or the world? Will she choose Finn over the young man who has been her friend since childhood? Can she figure out what is luring away & killing the people of the village?
This is not a traditional HEA ending, so if you require that, put this book back on the shelf. As it happens, I love an ambiguous ending, so this novel suited me down to the ground. Since I can’t swim and dread deep water, I also had that link with Bridey--I could really identify with her fears.
No merpeople in this one, but since Finn is a mysterious man from the sea, I am still including it as part of my 2019 MerMay project.