Washed Ashore

320p. Scholastic/Chicken House. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545904209.
Gr 8 Up—In the wake of a giant storm just off the coast of Scotland's Isle of Nin, Fraser Dunbar and whale scientist Ben McCaig find the body of a pilot whale washed ashore, but that's not the only oddity in the tiny town of Skulavaig. Hayley Risso, an American transplant new to the island, befriends Fraser's brother, Dunny, who is mute and has autism. When Fraser, Hayley, and Dunny discover the body of a man washed ashore, they uncover a human trafficking ring that implicates someone on the island. It's up to them to keep the man safe, with the help of some surprising friends. This quiet mystery tells the story of two brothers who struggle to understand each other and to be understood. Fraser wants nothing more than for his younger brother to be "normal," but what he doesn't realize is that Dunny has a special gift, one that will bring them closer if only the older brother would listen. The plot is quiet yet compelling, matching the pace of life in the tiny town. The foundation of the mystery is laid tenuously, making the big reveal more hollow than surprising. Nevertheless, Fraser and Dunny will compel readers forward, and teens will be captivated by the mysteries that lie beneath the ocean and how alike yet different the siblings really are.
VERDICT A good purchase for libraries with fans of light mysteries and mythology about the sea.

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