Published by: Duet, a YA imprint of Interlude Press
Format: Kindle, Paperback, eBook
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy, Romance, LGBTQA+
Reviewed by: Sara Beth
What to Expect: A charming twist on the selkie legend, one that will keep you laughing and rooting hard for the love of two boys against a tradition that might have them pegged as doomed from the start.
Plot: The sea holds many secrets.
Kevin Luong walks to the ocean’s edge with a broken heart. Remembering a legend his mother told him, he lets seven tears fall into the sea. I just want one summer one summer to be happy and in love.
Instead, he finds himself saving a mysterious boy from the Pacific-a boy who later shows up on his doorstep professing his love. What he doesn’t know is that Morgan is a selkie, drawn to answer Kevin s wish.
As they grow close, Morgan is caught between the dangers of the human world and his legacy in the selkie community to which he must return at summer’s end.
Review: When we’re teenagers, everything is so intense. The casual cruelty that leads to broken hearts can leave us shaking in our uncertainty about whether anything will ever be okay again. Those feelings are overwhelming and shocking and honestly the worst ever.
When we meet Kevin Luong, this is basically the hopeless headspace he is occupying. His world is limited by what he knows – his family, his high school, his town, and his best friend with benefits, Miles. When Miles takes himself out of that landscape, and none too nicely, Kevin is left floundering. As described in the blurb, he takes his deep and profound yearning for somebody who actually cares about him, just for one summer, to the ocean. He knows that despite his wish at the water’s edge, he’ll likely spend the summer alone, and doesn’t have high hopes for the rest of high school, either.
Enter Morgan, a strangely naive, sweetly curious, and kind teen. His unfamiliarity with the human world is charming and hilarious. I laughed out loud many, many times as Kevin helped him untangle all kinds of seemingly obvious human things, from French fries to condoms. Though he’s sometimes mystified by Morgan, Kevin tells himself he must just be really sheltered, convincing himself nothing is amiss despite evidence to the contrary in that way that teenagers often do.
Morgan makes his intentions clear from the start – he loves Kevin, even if Kevin can’t understand why. He has no idea that Morgan is a selkie, and has been sent by the sea itself to fulfil his request. Morgan is determined not only to give Kevin a summer of joy because it is his duty, as determined by his selkie herd, but because he can see straight to Kevin’s heart, and it speaks to his own.
Kevin is initially uncertain of Morgan’s fast affection. He wonders how somebody could feel so much for another person so quickly? His only other romantic experience has been with closeted Miles, who treated him one way when they were alone, and another in public.
For his part, Morgan remains unabashed in expressing his interest, and it’s only a matter of time before Kevin submits to their chemistry and the true affection that lies between them.
Ultimately, this is a sweet and often funny romance between two boys who over the course of a summer learn what real love means, and learn how far they will go to keep it. Also, there are crazy scientists obsessed with capturing the selkies and studying them to advance their academic careers. This is pretty important to the story, and I am always down for crazy scientists.
What you might not like/doesn’t work for you: The book is written in the present tense, which I know can sometimes throw readers for a loop. Also, the bad guys are a little too obviously bad. The mad scientist as well as Miles can at times seem like caricatures of the ultimate baddie.
What you will love/really worked for me: Kevin is an openly bi sexual, asian teen who has no dramatic, angsty background story involving a disapproving or abusive family, and for this I say THANK YOU to the author. It is so refreshing to read an LGBTQA+ character whose future and story isn’t resting on how he handles the dark tragedy lurking in his past. If anything, his parent’s support is so zealous it drives the poor kid crazy. He even handles his social isolation at school in stride. Interestingly, Lee focuses more on how Morgan’s own status as half human has the potential to derail this love story. It’s a different and fresh angle to take, and I loved it.