Craig Moodie,
(Roaring Brook, 2008)

Craig Moodie sets a poignant tale about a boy's physical separation from his mother and sister and his emotional separation from his father aboard a small boat at sea in Seaborn.

Moodie, a sailor himself, knows his seamanship, so it feels completely natural for readers when Luke and his dad take the tiny Piper out to sea. Their immediate plans are short excursions out of Nantucket, but the pair -- both feeling wrecked after Luke's mother leaves them on the eve of their journey -- soon decide to sail out to see the Gulf Stream. And it might all have been fine if a storm hadn't come up.

Luke isn't always an easy character to like, but cut the kid a break, he's had a bad week. He's a bit self-centered in his moroseness, but what 16-year-old isn't? Thing is, he's so wrapped up in his own heartache, he never really considers his father's -- and Luke's dad, let's give him credit, does a fair job of trying to keep spirits up all around -- even if it is a fruitless effort. As for the dad, he has plenty of flaws, too, but I'll let Moodie reveal them at his own pace.

This story could have been told in any setting, but I especially liked Moodie's nautical touch. And not only is Luke's family a sailing bunch, they also have a shared artistic bent that adds even more interest to the proceedings. All in all, Seaborn is a fine coming-of-age novel that can be enjoyed by adults and young-adults alike -- particularly if they have any affinity or longing for the sea.

book review by
Tom Knapp

22 January 2011

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