Book Review and Giveaway: Amethyst, the Shallows by Kellye Abernathy

Kellye Abernathy
YA / Magical Realism / Coming of Age
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Page Count: 296 pages
Publication Date: February 6, 2024
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“This is a night for being brave.”
In the aftermath of a devastating sickness that shatters their close-knit beach town, six lonely kids are drawn together during the unpredictable autumn equinox. Among them are fourteen-year-old Lorelei, who yearns to be an oceanographer, and her peculiar younger brother, Tad, who possesses an otherworldly curiosity.
When Lorelei has a strange and almost deadly encounter in a sea cave, her loyal boyfriend, Casey, cannot reconcile her fantastical experience with the rational world. Condi, Lorelei’s best friend, understands ocean magic but isn’t free to share what she knows. Kait, a girl from Ireland, regrets her impulsive move to America–all because of an odd occurrence involving her deceased boyfriend’s lost surfboard. When tides turn and the moon shifts, Isaac, the new kid in town who despises the ocean, is forced to face the truth–a profound and powerful magic lives in the deep.
Guided by a wise surf master, mystical old women known as the Beachlings, and an open-hearted grandmother, six kids embark on transformative adventures that challenge their beliefs about possibilities and the intense nature of love.
Amethyst, the Shallows is the companion novel to The Aquamarine Surfboard.

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Amethyst, the Shallows is the companion novel to The Aquamarine Surfboard (you can read my review of that book here). I was delighted to return to Dipitous Beach. But things have changed since the first book. The town was hit hard by The Sickness, and folks have been isolated from each other for a while (sound like anything we’ve all lived through?). But the worst appears to be past, and the town is slowly reopening and recovering. The effects linger, though, and all is not quite back to normal.

We see more of Condi, Grand Ella, and the Beachlings from The Aquamarine Surfboard, but this story weaves the threads of several characters together rather than focusing on one primary protagonist. Lorelei’s  mother is still very sick, and with her father focusing on his wife’s health and worrying most about Lorelei’s boy-crazy younger sister, Lorelei and her younger brother Tad tend to look out for each other. Lorelei has a falling-out with her boyfriend Casey after she is rescued from near-drowning and he doubts what she says she saw in the waves. Casey’s parents run the B&B in town. They’re currently hosting someone who claims to be a scientist with the government, but is he really what or who he claims? Casey has his doubts. Isaac has come to town to live with his father, and he is the one who is not like the others. In his black leather jacket and heavy boots, and with a chip on his shoulder the size of a small country, he stands out among the teens of Dipitous Beach. But what draws Condi to him is how very much he resembles Trustin.

Aquamarine Surfboard had Condi dealing with the loss of her parents and Grand Ella’s reluctance to loosen the restrictions on her, with the town rallying in times of difficulty to overcome prejudice and work together. Here Abernathy goes a little bit darker, touching on themes like serious illness of a parent, loss of a spouse, and the lasting effects of a devastating illness on a community. But she still weaves in bits of humor and light. Two animals, an octopus named Figment and a parrot named Guardian, bring us a lot of those moments of levity, and they play integral roles in the story.

Someone else is unexpectedly saved from the sea, and we travel to the underwater world of Koan again. This story may not draw quite as heavily upon magical realism as Aquamarine Surfboard did, but it’s still there. The vintage surfboards at the surf shop still have stories to tell to those who are ready to listen.

You can read Amethyst without first reading Aquamarine Surfboard, but I’d really recommend you read the first book before jumping into this one. There’s a lot of context and backstory in the first that will inform this book, and trust me, these two books weave a tale you won’t want to miss a bit of! Middle grade or middle-aged (like me!), this book will appeal to a wide range of readers. I highly recommend it if you love the mystery of the ocean, the little surprises life brings, and a beautiful story about secrets revealed and truth bringing people together.

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Kellye Abernathy’s passions are writing and serving trauma survivors as a yoga teacher and practical life skills advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Kansas. Her home is in land-locked Plano, Texas—where she’s dreaming of her next trip to the sea!

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One Response to Book Review and Giveaway: Amethyst, the Shallows by Kellye Abernathy

  1. Cindy Davis says:

    Such a pretty, summery cover! Glad you enjoyed this one!!

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