Pages: 292 (hardcover)
Published: June 2009 by Point
Recommended for: paranormal fans, someone looking for a light beach read
Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.
Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?
Sea Change is pretty much the poster child for a beach read. I mean, even the cover and the synopsis have me thinking blue sea and white sand. I read it in a hotel room in Mexico, listening to the waves lap on the shores of the lagoon below my window. I haven't read a lot of paranormal books about mer-people, selkies, etc, and honestly finished this only a little the wiser towards them.
Our protagonist Miranda is a no-nonsense, brainy kind of gal, fairly likable. She and her mom head to tiny Selkie Island after her grandmother dies and leaves them her beautiful and mysterious old seaside house. The local teens are modern Southern aristocrats who spend their summers chasing boyfriends/girlfriends and drinking out by the docks as they gossip beneath the simmering Southern sun. I read a lot of books with romanticized views of the South (Beautiful Creatures comes to mind, though don't get me wrong, I love that series), and honestly, I far from have a problem with it. I'd much rather people write about this area as charmingly quaint and beautiful than full of loudmouth rednecks, lol. Still, I had to kind of chuckle occasionally, especially when one of the older Southern ladies in the story corrected Miranda for saying 'Thank you' in everyday conversation, telling her instead to say 'Amen!' Soma us down here do talk purty funny, gosh darn it, but ya'll ain't never met Southern the likes a my grandma. (I do apologize for that last most sincerely.)
Anyway, Miranda finds an old book in her grandmother's house which describes the myths and legends of Selkie Island-- namely (duh) the selkies who have made it their home since ancient times. Miranda's skeptical, but oddly intrigued by the stories, especially after she meets Leo-- a local boy who immediately captures her suspicion (as well as her heart) due to his habit of appearing very suddenly whenever she's alone by the ocean. Leo works at the local marine center and comes across as pretty much perfect, except that he evasively dodges every question Miranda asks about his family or life on the island. It soon becomes pretty obvious that Leo and the other inhabitants of the local Fishermen's Village are probably, in fact, merpeople who spend part of their lives on land, the other half in the ocean. I say 'probably', because unfortunately this is never really confirmed beyond a doubt in the book. I would almost categorize this novel as just plain romance or chic lit rather than paranormal, just because there's so little of the paranormal going down.
The author has previously written a few bestselling chic-lits and personally I think she kind of wanted to package a summer romance story as a paranormal to go along with the current market trends. I mean, maybe I'm totally wrong, and there's a sequel and more about Leo and his mysterious people to come, but that's just the vibe I get. The pace of this book is just a little slow, but there are a few good plot twists involving Miranda's grandmother and family skeletons in the closet which kept things just interesting enough. Of the ending, I'll just say that it was neither great nor terrible. Haven't heard anything about a sequel to Sea Change, but I wouldn't be at all surprised. Altogether, this is a fun, light, and romantic read-- just don't expect any paranormal action or great depth.
Cover: 5/5 (I like it, very shiny...and blue)
Plot: 3/5Overall Rating: 3/5