THE TURN OF THE TIDE for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday


Two years ago I read the marvelous WRITTEN IN STONE by Rosanne Parry. This theturnofthetidepast spring I won a copy of this new title thanks to a giveaway from the Middle Grade Mafioso, Michael Gettel-Gilmartin. THE TURN OF THE TIDE also involves the ocean, but in a far different way.

After a a tsunami invades his community in Japan, young Kai is whisked back to the states to live with his cousins in the Pacific northwest. His parents stay in Japan to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. Kai doesn’t want to be in this strange place and feels it’s a betrayal to have left his home. Both grandparents are missing and he could help.

Kai goes on an emotional roller coaster. It’s his preparation and participation in The Treasure Island sailing race that brings him closer to cousin Jet, and together they attempt to win the race and chase away their past misfortunes.

This could have been a nice tidy plot with a predicable ending, but in the hands of this author we get so much more. There are unique twists and I learned so much about the sport of sailing. The writing is crisp and you’ll find yourself cheering these two kids on. The tide runs very high in my praise for this unique adventure of growth and understanding.


FULL PLOT (From Rosanne Parry’s Web Site)

Two cousins

One summer

A sailboat they both love

And a race they’d risk anything to win.

The Turn of the Tide is a story of two cousins with big ambitions who have made big mistakes. It’s about spending a summer far from home and overcoming your deepest fears. It’s about navigating the shifting currents of middle school friendship while holding a true to the woman you’d like to become. It’s about becoming a man of two worlds and remaining loyal to your whole family even when that family separated by race and an entire ocean. It’s about the split second you have to choose when lives hang in the balance and the wind could shift at any moment.  It’s about finding your own true north and setting a course for it against all odds.


  1. The information in the back of the book on sailing and the different components of the story were excellent. I especially appreciated the full glossary of sailing terms.
  2. Kai’s mother is Japanese and his father a Swedish American. This mixed race scenario is handled well and you understand Kai’s uncertainties about his roots.
  3. The aspect of Jet, a girl pursuing a career on a ship, makes for a great discussion starter as this career is predominately male.
  4. For those who have been to this part of the U.S. and for those who haven’t, you’ll be booking a flight based on the words coming alive on each page. Great use of setting.
  5. Middle school friendships are a tricky commodity at times. It’s expertly portrayed here.

FAVORITE LINES: Oliver came downstairs, poured himself a bowl of cereal, and picked at it with all the speed and enthusiasm of a banana slug. Oliver did not like strangers. Mom reminded him last night that he and Kai had been buddies when the family visited Japan five years ago. Oliver went to the computer, looked up a child-development website, and announced that “children do not remember things before they are three years old!” It was not the highlight of Mom’s evening.

AUTHOR QUOTE (From Rosanne’s web site):  Heartfelt thanks go to my cover artist Julie McLaughlin. I love it that she didn’t shy away from putting a biracial child on the cover, and I adore it that she crafted a cover that will appeal to boys and girls equally.


Make a comment below if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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8 Responses to THE TURN OF THE TIDE for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. I am not familiar with this author at all. I appreciate your comments on the story being well-written. I will look for this one (and author) at the library. I enjoy an unpredictable plot, and connection to a natural disaster is interesting.

  2. Violet Tiger says:

    I’ve heard of this, and I look forward to reading it. I’m really intrigued by the summary. Thanks for the review!

  3. Joanne Fritz says:

    I remember hearing about this book from Michael. Love that Jet wants to pursue a career that’s usually male-dominated.

    And I’ve always wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest.

  4. I have loved all my visits to the Pacific Northwest. it will be fun to read another book set there. I hadn’t heard of this one. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. cleemckenzie says:

    It sounds like the author has a great sense of humor and communicates that beautifully through her characters.

  6. It sounds like you really enjoyed this one! I liked the snippet you included, and am fascinated by the backdrop of this adventure story. Jet and Kai seem like they have the potential to be great characters.

  7. I loved Rosanne Parry’s first book and, unfortunately, haven’t read any of her others. That could change now.

  8. Andrea says:

    This sounds like a good one!

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