Goodreads: The Girl from the Sea
Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a secret: She can’t wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives. She’s desperate to finish high school and escape her sad divorced mom, her volatile little brother, and worst of all, her great group of friends…who don’t understand Morgan at all. Because really, Morgan’s biggest secret is that she has a lot of secrets, including the one about wanting to kiss another girl.
Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn’t seem so stifling anymore.
But Keltie has some secrets of her own. And as the girls start to fall in love, everything they’re each trying to hide will find its way to the surface…whether Morgan is ready or not.
The Girl from the Sea is a sweet summer romance centered around one girl’s search for her identity. Morgan has plans to leave her island home as soon as she can go to college. Only then does she plan to reveal to the world that she is gay. However, when a girl named Keltie appears from the ocean, Morgan finds herself trying to balance her attraction to Keltie with her desire to blend in with her friend group. When hiding her budding relationship becomes unsustainable, Morgan will have to decide what she values more: the life she has crafted on the island or the life she could have. Fans of Molly Knox Ostertag will enjoy this new graphic novel.
The Girl from the Sea is one of those books that shows the power of literature to help readers see things from new perspectives and empathize with others. Were the story told from another point of view, Morgan could easily look like the villain. She brushes off her brother, who is obviously trying to get her attention and connect with her, in favor of hanging out with her new girlfriend Keltie. She lies to her friend group about where she is and what she is doing–again, to hang out with her girlfriend. She then publicly rejects her girlfriend and makes fun of Keltie behind her back in order to keep fitting in with her friends from school. Morgan is not particularly kind to anyone in this story, but, because it is told from her perspective and not from her brother’s or her friends’, readers feel sorry for her. She wants to be able to be with Keltie, but she is also not ready to tell the world that she is gay. If keeping her secret means hurting others, she is willing to do it.
This all creates a lot of drama and suspense, and readers will find themselves eagerly turning the pages in hopes that things will get better. Only by being true to herself can Morgan repair her relationships and save the local wildlife in the process. The narrative is relatively fast-paced while still providing enough detail to flesh out most of the characters. The only really rushed bit is the insta-love; Morgan and Keltie see each other once, kiss immediately, and are a couple forevermore. The book does at least try to explain this away by saying Keltie is a selkie and it is destined. Readers may just have to try to accept that and move on.
The Girl from the Sea is an engrossing story that expertly blends a story of self-acceptance with a hint of romance and a dash of magic. The beautiful artwork only adds to the tale. Readers who enjoy graphic novels, especially ones that blend the fantastic with the everyday, will want to pick this one up.