About the book, The Aquamarine Surfboard
- Middle Grade / Magical Realism / Fantasy
- Publisher: Atmosphere Press
- Page Count: 290 pages
- Publication Date: November 22, 2021
- Scroll down for a giveaway!
“Age never matters; these things are about bravery and heart.”
Thirteen-year-old Condi Bloom’s dream is to learn to surf, but her laid-back beach town isn’t what it used to be. Big resort owners are taking over the cove. Worse, someone’s harassing the Beachlings, the mysterious old women living in the cliffs off Windy Hollow, a lonely tower of rock that people say is haunted. When a new surfer boy named Trustin shows up in town and invites Condi to a forbidden surfing spot, she’s swept into an extraordinary underwater adventure, where a surprising encounter with Koan, the Riddlemaster of the Sea, changes her life. Along with Trustin, his quirky twin and a mystical aquamarine surfboard, Condi learns the untold stories of the Beachlings, uncovering the timeless secrets of Windy Hollow.Ebbing and flowing between reality and magic, times past and present, The Aquamarine Surfboard by Kellye Abernathy is a riveting beach tale about opening up to mystery, building community when and where you can — and discovering the ocean is filled with magic—the really BIG kind—the kind that changes the world.
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About the author, Kellye Abernathy
Kellye Abernathy’s passions are writing and serving trauma survivors as a yoga teacher and practical life skills advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Kansas. Her home is in land-locked Plano, Texas—where she’s dreaming of her next trip to the sea!
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As someone who was almost born on the beach and was swimming before I was walking, this book, The Aquamarine Surfboard, felt like it was written for my childhood self. From the opening chapter, where the protagonist, Condi, meets the mysterious Trustin, and tells him about the Beachlings, a group of free-spirited old women who are unhoused, but make their home in the caves by the sea, I was drawn into the world that author Kellye Abernathy created – a beachfront town that could be almost anywhere in the world – Hawaii or New Zealand feel most likely – that has cliffs overlooking the sea.
Thirteen-year-old Condi is a fabulous character, very much a real girl, who is living with the tragic loss of her parents. Despite this, she’s reasonably happy, finding pleasure in salt, sand, sea, and surfing – well, in the idea of surfing – because when we first meet her she’s just voicing her determination to learn. While she doesn’t have a ton of friends, those she does have are loyal, and the boys they share space with are written like real young teenagers – eager, oblivious, exuberant – sometimes all at once.
This book isn’t just a surfing story, although it would be a satisfying read if that’s all it was. Rather, it’s a magical trip from childhood to the cusp of young womanhood, filled with sea beings who aren’t necessarily mermaids (Koan, their leader, seems like a combination of Poseidon and Gandalf, and completely works as the Voice of Reason who never gives you the answers, just the clues you need in order to find them. There’s also local history woven throughout the novel, and rumors of hauntings.
Like the best adult books with the magical realism tag, this book rides the line between pure fantasy and purely realistic events, with dimensional characters, settings one would love to visit (well, I would, anyway) and a plot that’s easy enough for middle-grade readers to comprehend, while also bring complex enough for adult readers.
I especially liked the author’s use of simple, but evocative, language. I felt like I could hear the waves between each line of text. The way she dropped in snippets of Robert Frost’s work (and other poets) was perfect for the tone of the book, and felt very organic.
Overall, The Aquamarine Surfboard is an enchanting story that leaves you feeling like there’s sand between your toes and saltwater drying in your hair – in the most wonderful way, of course.
Goes well with: Italian ice treats in lemon or watermelon. Preferably purchased from a food truck or beachside snack bar.
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