The Turning (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Aran’s mother is a selkie, a being who morphs between human and seal shape, but Aran was born without a pelt and can’t join his mother and the rest of the selkie clan as they explore the ocean. Placed in the care of a human woman when his mother goes away, Aran struggles to keep his true identity hidden while simultaneously helping the humans who become a part of his life. This middle-grade book by Portland author Emily Whitman will appeal to readers who enjoy a dose of fantasy. A beautifully written coming-of-age story.

(Young Adult Middle Grades)

— Karen


Does he belong to the land or to the sea?

Readers who loved Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon and Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Echo will be transported to the place where the water and land meet in this exquisitely crafted coming-of-age tale about a selkie boy.

Aran has never truly fit in with his selkie clan. He was born in his human form, without a pelt to transform him into a sleek, strong seal. Each day he waits, left behind while his selkie family explores the deep ocean. What if his pelt never comes? Does the Moon even see him? Is he putting his clan at risk?

When his mother undertakes a journey to the far north to seek help, Aran is left in the care of a reclusive human woman on remote Spindle Island. Life on land is full of more wonders—and more dangers—than Aran could have ever imagined. Soon Aran will be forced to decide: will he fight for his place on land, or return to his home in the sea?

About the Author

Emily Whitman's first novel, Radiant Darkness, was praised for its "originality and flair" by BCCB and was a #1 IndieBound Pick. The author lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.

Praise For…

“Whitman keeps the suspense high and delivers a satisfying conclusion. A wonderful selection for readers ready to dip their toes into variations on myths and legends without the mayhem and adult themes that often accompany the original tales.”
— School Library Journal

“Whitman builds a beautiful slow burn with her evocative middle-grade debut. ...the many layers make for a satisfying read. A contemplative tale about the yearning to belong.”
— Booklist

“A half-human, half-selkie boy searches for a way to belong. ...Told from Aran’s first-person point of view, the story goes smoothly...[a] well-conceived story.”
— Kirkus Reviews
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062657954
ISBN-10: 006265795X
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: July 24th, 2018
Pages: 400
Language: English