Review: When Sea Becomes Sky by Gillian McDunn

When Sea Becomes Sky by Gillian McDunn

When Sea Becomes Sky
Gillian McDunn
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published February 28, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About When Sea Becomes Sky

In this heartfelt summer story, acclaimed author Gillian McDunn paints a stunning portrait of the bond of siblings and the love we’ll always carry with us.

Bex and Davey’s summer in the saltmarsh is different this year, thanks to the record-breaking drought. Even the fish seem listless–and each day the water level lowers farther. When they discover a mysterious underwater statue, they’re thrilled at the chance to solve the puzzle of its origin. This is the summer adventure they’ve been waiting for.

When they learn of a development plan that will destroy their special spot, they’ll need to act quickly. Unfortunately, sometimes progress happens whether you’re ready or not. What will it mean if Bex and Davey lose their corner of the marsh where otters frolic and dragonflies buzz–their favorite place to be siblings together?

As Bex and Davey attempt to save the statue and their beloved marsh, they come to see that the truth is not as simple as it seems . . . ultimately discovering so much more about life, permanence, love, and loss than they ever expected.

Award-winning author Gillian McDunn crafts a gorgeous story of love and siblinghood, of secret statues and island life, of holding on and letting go.

When Sea Becomes Sky on Goodreads

My Review

I’ve been a fan of Gillian McDunn’s books since her debut, CATERPILLAR SUMMER. That one was really special to me because of the main character and her bond with her family over fishing– something also special to me. So while I am always on the lookout for her next book, and I’ve enjoyed all of them, I don’t go into the books with the expectation that they’ll replace CATERPILLAR SUMMER in my heart.

This one really came close, though! You know that feeling, reading a book, where the setting becomes part of the story, and the characters feel so real you can’t help but get lost in what they’re feeling, and you catch yourself not breathing because you’re waiting for something to happen? Yeah. WHEN SEA BECOMES SKY definitely achieves that.

I really liked the way the environmental dilemma resolved and the way all the pieces of the story fit together. There are a lot of things that at first don’t seem related to one another that we discover are actually connected. I loved that, too.

This is a sad book. By the time I got to the Author’s Note, I was outright bawling. I think when an author can do that to you (I’m totally looking at you, Ashley Schumacher!!) and you love the book even more, that’s a great book.

I think readers who loved NEST by Esther Ehrlich or THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH by Ali Benjamin.

When Sea Becomes Sky on Bookshop

Content Notes for When Sea Becomes Sky

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Major characters are white.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content

Violent Content

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 WHEN SEA BECOMES SKY in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

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

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