Selkie Girl by Laurie Brooks Elin Jean lives on the Orkney Islands. She doesn’t know why she has webbing in between her fingers, only that the bullying that disfigurement causes has kept her from having any social life outside her croft. Though she adores her mother and grandfather, the only person in the village she thinks she might be able to be friends with is Tam, a gypsy boy even lower in society than she is. She does not know why her father gets so upset at the amount of time she spends in or near the ocean, or why she is the only person in the villager so upset by the annual baby seal cull. When she is sixteen, she finally learns that her mother is a selkie, kept with her father and aging prematurely because of her own seal skin, hidden by Elin Jean’s father. Now Elin Jean has a choice of living with selkies or humans herself, ultimately finding herself on a quest to find the deep answer to her own question. The story isn’t clearly set in any time, though the place is vivid and the characters, especially Elin Jean, ring true. The lyrical language speaks of the enduring power of music, dance and story. This is a beautiful and timeless take on the ancient stories of the selkies, as well as a solid coming-of-age tale.
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