|Hazel Bly and the deep blue sea|
Author: Blake, Ashley Herring
For two years, twelve-year-old Hazel has coped with her Mum's accidental death by overprotecting her sister and Mama, but when Mama reconnects with her first love, roles begin to shift.
School Library Journal (+) (06/01/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/06/21)
The Hornbook (00/07/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2021 In the two years since the accident that claimed Mum’s life and left Hazel with facial scars, the 12 year old’s world has shrunk, fitting tightly around her duty to keep her little sister safe and trying not to remind Mama of all they lost. But when they move to a small beach town and Mama is reunited with her first love, things begin to change for their family, forcing Hazel to deal with feelings she’d long been avoiding. This latest from Blake (The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James, 2019) is a moving story of grief and guilt. Though the bulk of the story follows Hazel trying to make sense of her emotions alone, the novel addresses the help she needs to deal with her possible PTSD. While the book does feature intense moments of sadness, there are plenty of lighter moments around things like her new friend’s love of all things mermaid. This novel deals with loss in a way that feels accessible but never condescending. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2021 Gr 4–8—Twelve-year-old Hazel lost her mum in a tragic accident two years ago, and it feels like she's been losing parts of herself ever since. Now Hazel, her younger sister Peach, and her other mother, Mama, have left their family home and are bouncing around from town to town trying to outrun their grief. This summer they've settled into Rose Harbor, ME, a coastal town famous for its mythical mermaid. Hazel is introduced to the tale of the Rose Maid by her new neighbor Lemon. Lemon and her friends draft Hazel into their "MerSquad" despite her skepticism, slowly breaking down her walls. One friend, Jules, is nonbinary, and their fledgling romantic connection with Hazel is a sweet promise of hope that never seemed possible before. By opening up to others and leaning into the magic of something larger than herself, Hazel forges a new path forward. The rich character development and deft writing allow readers to empathize with Hazel. Hazel, her family, and most other characters are cued white; one secondary character is of Japanese descent. VERDICT Blake continues to expand her catalogue of positive, nuanced LGBTQ+ representation in middle grade novels. An honest and moving exploration of loss that highlights the healing power of reclaiming oneself and allowing hope to thrive.—Sophie Kenney, Aurora P.L., IL - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.