book review,  Books

Amethyst, The Shallows: Book Review & Blog Hop

Oh, lucky fans of MG/young adult novels, do I have a sweet book for you! Today I’m thrilled to be sharing a review of Kellye Abernathy’s delightful YA book, Amethyst, The Shallows. This story is a sequel to her magical book The Aquamarine Surfboard, which I read earlier this year and reviewed here. Read on to learn more about the story, get my thoughts on the book, and courtesy of Lone Star Book Blog Tours, enter into a drawing to get both books in the series!

Kellye Abernathy

YA / Magical Realism / Coming of Age
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Page Count: 296 pages
Publication Date: February 6, 2024

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The cover of Amethyst, The Shallows depicts a long-haired girl in a wetsuit carrying a surfboard in the shallow edge of the shore.

“This is a night for being brave.”

In the aftermath of a devastating sickness that shatters their close-knit beach town, six lonely kids are drawn together during the unpredictable autumn equinox. Among them are fourteen-year-old Lorelei, who yearns to be an oceanographer, and her peculiar younger brother, Tad, who possesses an otherworldly curiosity.

When Lorelei has a strange and almost deadly encounter in a sea cave, her loyal boyfriend, Casey, cannot reconcile her fantastical experience with the rational world. Condi, Lorelei’s best friend, understands ocean magic but isn’t free to share what she knows. Kait, a girl from Ireland, regrets her impulsive move to America–all because of an odd occurrence involving her deceased boyfriend’s lost surfboard. When tides turn and the moon shifts, Isaac, the new kid in town who despises the ocean, is forced to face the truth–a profound and powerful magic lives in the deep.

Guided by a wise surf master, mystical old women known as the Beachlings, and an open-hearted grandmother, six kids embark on transformative adventures that challenge their beliefs about possibilities and the intense nature of love.

Amethyst, the Shallows is the companion novel to The Aquamarine Surfboard.




Amethyst, The Shallows is a lovely and magical coming-of-age story for young adult readers. It is the companion novel to author Abernathy’s earlier novel The Aquamarine Surfboard, which I will highly recommend reading first – in part, because it will help all of the magical elements make sense, but mostly because it is such a sweet and delightful book.

Where The Aquamarine Surfboard leaned more heavily into its elements of magical realism, Amethyst, The Shallows is a bit more grounded in reality. It offers a mix of sweet and heartbreaking moments as we find its residents emerging from their homes at the tail end of a pandemic which is simply referred to as “The Sickness.” In the time between the ending of the prior

Amethyst, The Shallows shares many of the same delightful characters as the first book and introduces us to a few new ones. Unlike the first, which mostly focused on Condi’s story, this second novel is more of an ensemble piece. We get more of Condi and her grandmother, the interesting elderly ladies the town refers to as The Beachlings, the surf shop owner, and Condi’s friend Lorelei, as well as meeting new characters. I do wish there had been MORE of Lorelei, because I think she is such a complex character in her own right (and from her first experiences in the story I thought she was actually the protagonist.

Ultimately, though, I very much enjoyed all the storylines of the cast of characters, all of which wove together nicely.

Where the previous book ended on a hopeful note, this book opens with a more somber situation. Things are not all right at Dipitous Beach, as characters deal with loss and illness resulting from “The Sickness”, a worldwide pandemic that resulted in the closing of their beloved beaches and had everyone quarantining at home. (I confess, I was relieved by the author’s word choice for the period that the characters endured, as I don’t much want to hear about the “C” word.)

This story definitely tugged on the heart at times, made me suspicious, frustrated, had me laughing out loud with the antics of the bird, and also had some very sweet scenes. Abernathy’s writing captures the moods of these young characters well.

In this book, two characters have magical experiences with mystical sea creatures. When they share what happened, they aren’t believed and this definitely creates conflict between some of the characters. Eventually, the teens are believed, secrets are revealed, and everything comes together in a lovely tale about the wonder of the ocean and the power of community.

It’s a gentle, moving story, and I give it four star(fish)!



Kellye Abernathy’s passions are writing and serving trauma survivors as a yoga teacher and practical life skills advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Kansas. Her home is in land-locked Plano, Texas—where she’s dreaming of her next trip to the sea!

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