Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine

I don't know that I completely agree with the jacket copy that says Tamara Valentine's debut novel is "In the tradition of Sue Monk Kidd and Beth Hoffman." However, Valentine has given us a teen character with her own unique voice in What the Waves Know. In fact, Izabella Rae Haywood is unique because she is a narrator without a voice.

Izabella had a voice until her sixth birthday. That was the day her beloved father disappeared from her life, and she hasn't spoken a word since. Until that time, she was enchanted by her magical father, a man who would pack her up and take her to Alaska, or take her on a three hundred mile drive. But, even at a young age, she worried her father would someday go off with the fairies he could see, and leave her behind with her practical mother. The arguments between her parents escalated until Izabella's birthday when, in a fit of rage, she yelled at her father that she hated him. And, when her father left, the little girl blamed herself, and shut down.

For the next eight years, Izabella's mother sent her to therapists until one of them suggested that they should return to Tillings Island, Rhode Island. Maybe, at the scene of Izabella's father's disappearance, she would finally remember what actually happened that day, and would regain her voice. Would the truth bring back Izabella's memory, or would she shut down completely?

Yes, like Kidd and Hoffman, Valentine introduces a story involving a group of women surrounding a young girl. But, Izabella's struggles to find answers are her own. And, she latches on to the legends of Tillings Island, the stories of the goddess Yemaya, because they remind her of her lost father. Throughout her young life, Izabella has struggled with the two sides of her nature, the part that wants to see the magic her father saw, and the part that fears his choices. And, she fears her own anger, the rage that may have driven her father away.

What the Waves Know marks the debut of a powerful new voice. Tamara Valentine's first novel is an unusual coming-of-age story of a girl searching for the answers to her own story, a story that is much larger than she ever imagined.

Tamara Valentine's website is www.tamjval9.wix.com/tamaravalentine

What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine. William Morrow. 2016. ISBN 9780062423857 (paperback), 352p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to participate in the book tour.


Kay said...

I like the sound of this one. I'll keep it in mind.

libbydodd@comcast.net said...

This does sound intriguing.

Lesa said...

Please do keep this one in mind. I liked it enough to loan my copy to one of my best friends.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

What a difficult thing for a little girl to experience ... and for her mom to deal with for all those years.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!