Review posted July 23, 2022.
Quill Tree Books, February 2022. 5 hours, 32 minutes.
Review written July 23, 2022, based on a library eaudiobook
Oh, this story was wonderful, and the audiobook version adds the perfect touch of atmosphere to pull me into its spell.
Set on the Caribbean island of St. Rita, Bahni Turpin used appropriate accents for the characters, but my favorite was hearing her say "Crick! Crack!" at the start and end of the chapters about the Sea Woman, as a storyteller on the island would do.
In the chapters set in our world, we see a girl named Kela whose mother died three months earlier in a car accident, whom Kela is still deeply grieving.
So when a magical comb seems to call to her in a sea cave, and Kela learns she can use it to get a wish, it's no surprise what she would wish for. Of course there are consequences. Especially when adults get wind of the comb, and she can't give it back to the sea as she had promised.
I loved the way this story is woven. Normally, I'd see all the drawbacks of magic messing with something so major -- but the story itself brought those to the front, and I could believe the way it played out. The depiction of the island and the sea people added to the beauty of the story.
I loved the way Kela made jewelry with sea glass -- something humans had thrown into the sea so she was allowed to remove -- and the common name for them of mermaid's tears.
This tale features a Black girl in the starring role, and people of all backgrounds will be enchanted.