‘The Edge of the Water’ by Elizabeth George — sequel to her first young adult

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Rating: 4 stars

“The Edge of the Water” is the sequel to “The Edge of Nowhere,” by Elizabeth George, a mystery that takes place on Whidbey Island.

It includes characters from the first book: Becca, a girl who can read the thoughts of others but not always clearly; Derric, a Ugandan orphan with whom she developed a close relationship; and a few others who helped Becca when she found herself alone on the island.

She and her mother were on the run from her murderous stepfather (Becca found out when she accidentally read his mind). Her mother was going to get settled, and she had Becca stay with a friend on the island in the meantime, but when Becca arrived (in the first book), the friend had just died. Becca has not been able to contact her mother since.

In this book, Whidbey Island is getting ready to celebrate the yearly arrival of Nera, a coal black seal, who visits the island on the same day every year. What kind of seal she is and why she visits the island on the same day each year is another part of the mystery.

George is a masterful writer, and she writes chapters from different characters’ points of view, allowing the reader a chance to really learn about all the characters and why they react to each other the way they do. Only one character, the mysterious Cilla, is written in first person narration.

There are mysteries aplenty in the story. Where will Becca end up living when she is no longer able to stay in the tree house in the woods? What is special about the black seal? Why is Cilla not able to speak or communicate clearly and where did she come from?

As in the first book, there is an element of the paranormal in the story. George takes the story about Becca and turns it into not only Becca’s story, but a tale about motherly love and sacrifice. It’s also about friendship, trust, and helping others.

This is a story that will appeal to a wide range of readers. It can be a stand-alone story, but because it continues Becca’s story, it’s better read as the second book in the series. And be assured – readers will want to read the third book in the series as soon as it’s available.

Please note: This review is based on the advance reader’s copy provided by the publisher, Viking Juvenile, for review purposes.