Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne (July 6, 2021, Scholastic, for ages 8 to 12)
A lively, funny, and delightful read, compelling from the first page to the last. The voice is so fantastic and believable you'll feel you're listening to ten-year-old Josephine talk to you about her widowed Daddy (the fisherman), and the new woman he's brought home. Josephine doesn't trust Mariss at all and suspects she's not even human! Especially when Josephine sees the jeweled comb Daddy found in his fishing net. Daddy suddenly has better luck fishing, and money starts pouring in to pay all the bills. Then Mariss moves in with them, and the framed portrait of Josephine's dead mama disappears from the dresser...
Chock-full of the kinds of details that make a book authentic and bring the Barbados setting to life. Bursting with the flavor of modern life in Barbados: cricket matches (Josephine longs to play on the school team, if she can convince the coach to let a girl on), spicy food, and reggae music. But there are also wishes on silk cotton trees, and ancient tales of powerful spirits.
The writing is brilliant. You won't be able to stop turning the pages. Thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this gem of a book.
Find out more about Shakirah Bourne on her website.