FICTION

Lalani of the Distant Sea

Greenwillow/HarperCollins/. Sept. 2019. 400p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062747273.
COPY ISBN
Gr 5-8–Lalani Sarita must leave her home on Sanlagita Island in search of solutions to the struggles of her family and friends. After her mother falls ill and a devastating landslide wreaks havoc that leaves the island leaderless, Lalani feels responsible as she’s the one who approached their cursed mountain and wished for rain. She sets out to find the island of Isa, which legend says will provide the help Sanlagita so desperately needs. But dozens of sailors have been sent to find Isa previously and never returned. After Lalani leaves, her friend Veyda and her brother Hetsbi, and the other islanders struggle to survive. Lalani has no idea the dangers she is up against just trying to cross the Veiled Sea, let alone what faces her should she reach Isa. But she’s determined to find help for her loved ones and make up for her mistakes—and her pure motives may just be enough to carry her through. Kelly’s beautifully rendered novel leaves readers with much to ponder. The tale has themes of good and evil, hope and despair, and finding the courage to bring change to old traditions. Lalani’s story is intertwined with the tales of those around her, human and creature alike. All of these eventually culminate into a journey illustrating the importance of story and the power of faith and hope.
VERDICT A first purchase where books such as Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon are popular

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