Review: The Swallowtail Legacy: Wreck at Ada’s Reef by Michael D. Beil

The Swallowtail Legacy: Wreck at Ada's Reef by Michael D. Beil

The Swallowtail Legacy: Wreck at Ada’s Reef
Michael D. Beil
Pixel + Ink
Published February 1, 2022

Amazon  | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Wreck at Ada’s Reef

Twelve-year-old Lark Heron-Finch is steeling herself to spend the summer on Swallowtail Island off the shores of Lake Erie. It’s the first time that she and her sister will have seen the old house since their mom passed away. And while her stepfather and his boys are okay, the island’s always been full of happy memories–and now everything is different.

When Nadine, a close family friend, tells Lark about a tragic boat accident that happened off the coast many years before, Lark’s enthralled with the story. Nadine’s working on a book about Dinah Purdy, Swallowtails’s oldest resident who had a connection to the crash, and she’s sure that the accident was not as it appeared. Impressed by Lark’s keen eye, she hires her as her research assistant for the summer.

And then Lark discovers something amazing. Something that could change Dinah’s life. Something linked to the crash and even to her own family’s history with Swallowtail. But there are others on the island who would do anything to keep the truth buried in the watery depths of the past.

A compelling and complex mystery with a classic feel, WRECK AT ADA’S REEF is perfect for fans of THE PARKER INHERITANCE, HOLESTHE WESTING GAME, and anyone looking for a satisfying puzzle that stretches across decades.

Wreck at Ada's Reef on Goodreads

My Review

Confession: I haven’t read any of the books that the blurb compares this one to, so I had no idea whether I would like it going in. I tend to enjoy mysteries with a young narrator (see my reviews of THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE or THREE TIMES LUCKY), so I figured this was a pretty good gamble.

And, you know what? It totally was. It takes place on this small island. The residents we meet are all really distinct characters who bring a lot to the story. I loved the relationships Lark develops between the other islanders. I also loved watching her connections with her family members change and grow, too.

Lark is a no-nonsense girl who doesn’t back down from a fight, ever, so when she stumbles onto an unsolved mystery that might have hurt the people she’s coming to care about, she’s ready to put the full force of her personality behind uncovering the truth.

I thought the pacing of the story was great, too. There’s a lot of tension as we begin to put the pieces together about what happened at Ada’s Reef that long ago night. Interspersed with the tension are sweet moments with Lark and her stepdad as well as silly moments with her and her siblings or other characters.

All together, I’m pretty hooked on this series so far. I loved this book and would absolutely read more about Swallowtail Island and its inhabitants. I think fans of middle grade mysteries like the books I mentioned above or the Northwoods mystery books by Margi Preus would really enjoy WRECK AT ADA’S REEF.

Wreck at Ada's Reef on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Lark is white and an orphan. A couple minor characters are gay.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
At one desperate point, Lark states that she’s not religious, but offers a prayer to whatever gods are listening.

Violent Content
Situations of peril.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of WRECK AT ADA’S REEF in exchange for my honest review.

Tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

Comments are closed.