Blake, Ashley Herring

Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea

(2) 4-6 Twelve-year-old Hazel and her younger sister have been moving around the country with Mama for two years, ever since Hazel's other mother died in a kayak accident for which the protagonist blames herself and which left her with visible scars. Now, they've arrived for the summer in Rose Harbor, Maine, where the ocean is difficult to avoid despite Hazel's fear of it since the accident. While Mama, reunited (perhaps a bit too coincidentally) with her first love Claire, begins to move on, Hazel's processing of her own grief is slower, though helped along by the friendships she forms. The novel surrounds her with people who affirm her need for patience, notably Claire's daughter Lemon, who is herself grieving the loss of her twin sister; and Jules, a friend who is nonbinary and on whom Hazel develops a crush. Blake (most recently The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James, rev. 3/19) balances many plot elements, often serious ones, without overburdening the narrative, to create a character-based, atmospheric novel with a strong sense of place.


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