Cindy: July is a great time to read about a first trip to the ocean, although the middle of a midwest winter would be good, too, when everyone has tired of the snow. Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea (2018) by Lynne Rae Perkins is a delightful beach book full of small moments of discovery and emotion that add up to a satisfying vacation from the angst-filled drama of so many other stories.

Alix and her older sister Jools have never seen the ocean. The car is loaded and on its way before dawn, with them curled up like a two-headed caterpillar in their sleeping bag on the back bench seat. Right away, Perkins’ descriptions and spot drawings bring smiles, and the anticipation of adventure is on!

The days at the beach cottage are full of new delights, like the feel of the tide sucking the sand away from under the sisters’ feet, and also of potential dangers like that same tide pulling unsuspecting swimmers off their feet. The days are not so over-scheduled, though, to prevent reading books, perfecting backsprings with a new friend, or slowly gaining the admiration of an older sister. As always, in Perkins’ deceptively simple and moving writing, it is the small moments that matter, encouraging the reader to notice them in their own lives.

Lynn: Reading this sweet summer treat is a bit like walking along the edge of the beach with the soft water slipping over our toes, leaving small treasures with each wave. As Cindy says, this is a book made up of small moments of one family’s week at the beach. This is no fancy resort. The Treffreys are watching their pennies, but the beach magic doesn’t need big dollars. Each chapter brings a new experience for the sisters: new friends, sand castles, finding sea glass, releasing a healed falcon at a raptor center and climbing the 182 steps of a lighthouse. Both Jools and Alix learn just a little bit, grow just a little bit and let their imaginations and their hearts expand with the secrets of the salty sea. You will love joining them! This is a perfect family read-aloud wherever you are this summer.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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