Reminiscent of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon for its story of family, belonging, and magic coupled with detailed illustrations, A Crack in the Sea is a story that takes you back to simpler days.
In the span of 350 pages, H.M. Bowman manages to write a story that encompasses five special children, two dimensions, sea monsters, a gateway, Amelia Earhart, the Vietnam War, and a slave ship called the Zong, and never once do you have to question any of it. With the help of magic and some skillful placement, she manages to put those seven elements that really shouldn’t go together into a semblance of order that makes sense.
It’s that sort of organized chaos I was missing in YA literature. YA literature is tedious for its predictability. As soon as one story blasts off into the NY top charts, every other author would try to follow, with varying degrees of success. Here, though, A Crack in the Sea wasn’t trying to mimic anyone. The author had a story that was their own, and only their own. It was refreshing.
That isn’t to say I thought it was perfect. Since the book is targeted toward younger children, the simplistic language was off putting at times, and characters really weren’t as developed as they could have been. But that’s only to be expected. This book isn’t meant for analysis. It exists solely to entertain, and entertain it did. Even the pictures were a nice contrast against all the paragraphs upon paragraphs of words that I had become accustomed to reading, and I thoroughly appreciated it.
All in all, I give this book a 4 out of 5. It doesn’t have much meaning besides the obvious family is good! Everyone is special in their own way! spiel, but that’s the point. Sometimes, books aren’t meant to be digested, summarized, picked apart. Sometimes, it’s okay to just read.
Review by Janice R.
A Crack in the Sea by H. M. Bouwman
A Crack in the Sea makes use of an alternate universe to create a world where water is the defining factor. There’s the Earth and also a world with only a few islands around. On this alternate world, people have two choices as to where to live and so two distinct groups have developed: Islanders, who of course live on the islands, and Raftworlders, who float around on Raftworld, a gigantic society that lives on a raft which travels throughout the ocean. With such an emphasis on water, it’s no wonder that water-related magic comes up too- breathing in water and talking to fish are examples. However, it’s not just for these two aspects- a watery world and watery magic that makes this book stands out- there are also three interwoven stories- one of the past, and one each from Earth and the alternate world. The three mix together, and at the end, connections have been made- each of group of characters in some way contributes to the world of water that they live in. Each pair of siblings in each route is interesting in some way, and has some interesting dynamic that reflects the normally strained relations between siblings. However, a major problem is that the characters are annoying- at times, they make horrible decisions and as a whole make no sense at times. Yet as a whole, A Crack in the Sea is engaging due to its three stories, which distract from the lackluster characters.