Lauren Wolk
Beyond the Bright Sea

Corgi (11+)

9780552574303 (paperback)

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbour across the sandbar. Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.

Simple, sparing prose and a vivid sense of time and place combine beautifully in this quiet, enriching novel. The moving story of orphaned Crow’s increasing determination to discover the truth about her parentage provides profound comments on identity and what it means to belong. All three main characters are well-drawn, warm and loving people who intrigue the reader with their personal mysteries and pasts. The plot is skilfully controlled; with an appropriate slowness that reflects life on the island and a credible, satisfying ending. This is a lyrical story with imagery that powerfully evokes the isolation and loneliness of Crow’s simple life.


Lauren Wolk graduated from Brown University in 1981 with a degree in English literature, spent a year as a writer with the Battered Women’s Project of the St. Paul American Indian Centre, and then worked as both an editor and an English teacher. Since 2007, she has been the Associate Director of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod.  She is an award-winning poet and also a visual artist. Her critically acclaimed 2016 debut novel Wolf Hollow was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2017 and was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2017. She lives in America.

Back to The CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist for 2018