image of ocean water and a book cover with a dark haired girl in a black wetsuit sitting astride a turquoise surfboard in the ocean
book review,  Books

Review: The Aquamarine Surfboard by Kellye Abernathy

I was looking for an engaging, easy read that was positive and bright. The Aquamarine Surfboard by Kellye Abernathy – a young adult magical realism/coming of age story – was just what I needed. Read on to learn more about this book!

Review: The Aquamarine Surfboard by Kellye AbernathyThe Aquamarine Surfboard by Kellye Abernathy
Published by Atmosphere Press on May 26, 2023
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Magical Realism
Pages: 260
Format: Kindle
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"Age never matters, these things are about bravery and heart."

Thirteen-year-old Condi Bloom's dream is to learn to surf, but her laid-back beach town isn't what it used to be. Big resort owners are taking over the cove. Worse, someone's harassing the Beachlings, the mysterious old women living in the cliffs off Windy Hollow, a lonely tower of rock that people say is haunted. When a new surfer boy named Trustin shows up in town and invites Condi to a forbidden surfing spot, she's swept into an extraordinary underwater adventure, where a surprising encounter with Koan, the Riddlemaster of the Sea, changes her life. Along with Trustin, his quirky twin and a mystical aquamarine surfboard, Condi learns the untold stories of the Beachlings, uncovering the timeless secrets of Windy Hollow.

Ebbing and flowing between reality and magic, times past and present, The Aquamarine Surfboard by Kellye Abernathy is a riveting beach tale about opening up to mystery, building community when and where you can - and discovering the ocean is filled with magic-the really BIG kind-the kind that changes the world.



Where to start? As the quote reads, “Age never matters, these things are about bravery and heart” – and that extends to this book as it is a delightful read suitable for for older middle grade, young adult, AND adult readers. I have a deep appreciation for a book that can be enjoyed by multiple ages.

Part of the reason for this is Abernathy’s writing. It is rich and vivid in painting both scene and emotion, creating a picture of this small oceanside community, an underwater world, and engaging, interesting characters. She also incorporates bits of poetry in a way that adds to the mystery of a character or to a scene, and it works.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, too. Condi is a wonderful main character who feels read. She has suffered a tragic loss, but has appreciation for what she does have in life and is kind and giving. She doesn’t have a lot of friends, but the ones she has are also good and kind and feel real. Trustin, the new boy in town, is a bit of a mystery and a piece of the magic himself. The Beachlings, a self-sustaining community of elderly women who live in the caves by the beach are fascinating. We get to see real growth in and acceptance for many characters in the story as a sense of community is rebuilt. We also see bullying pretty fairly depicted. (And it’s the handling of bullying and abuse of one character that was my only real disappointment in the story.)

Of course, with any book involving magical realism, there is a balance of realistic scene and setting and story with the fantastical side, and we get this with Condi’s underwater adventure to meet Koan (and I’m still not sure how to describe him.) There were elements in the story that were confusing when first introduced, but are slowly revealed over the course of the plot.

All in all, this was a delightful combination of fantasy, coming-of-age story, the bringing together of a community, and trusting oneself. Four-and-a-half stars for this delightful book!

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