by Perry Chafe
It’s been 3 years since 12-year-old Pierce Jacobs lost his father to the sea, and his heartache and guilt haven’t gotten any better, not even with the support of his two friends, Bennie and Thomas. The only person who seemed to know what he was going through was Anna Tessier, a girl a couple of years older than him, but now she, too, has disappeared.
Pierce has always felt the authorities gave up too soon when finding his father. He is determined not to let the same thing happen to Anna, so with the help of his friends and Bennie’s cousin Emily, they go “undercover” to determine who is responsible for Anna’s disappearance. Living on tiny Perigo Island, just off the coast of Newfoundland, their suspects are few. Could it be the “outsider” Solomon Vickers, a recluse who lives on the island for part of the year? Or maybe it’s one of the “Arseholes”, a group of older boys who take pride in bullying the younger kids? Then there is the assortment of visitors on the island, many of whom have the potential to kidnap a young girl. Then there is also the sea itself. Unforgiving and unrelenting in its beautiful destructiveness.
I really loved this book. As soon as I started reading it, I knew immediately it would be perfect for a novel study for junior and senior high. It possesses beautiful imagery, an interesting assortment of characters, and a variety of themes (friendship, grief, coming of age, industrialization, identity, and environmentalism, to name a few) with the potential for rich classroom discussion.
Thank you to Scribner Canada and Netgalley for the free copy.