On the Bookshelf...

Blackfin Sky

Kat Ellis

When Sky falls from Blackfin Pier and drowns on her sixteenth birthday, the whole town goes into mourning – until she shows up three months later like nothing happened. Unravelling the mystery of those missing months takes Sky to the burned-out circus in the woods, where whispers of murder and kidnapping begin to reveal the town’s secrets. But Sky’s not the only one digging up the past – the old mime from the circus knows what happened to her, and he has more than one reason for keeping quiet about it.

I've been promising myself for a while that I’ll read more young adult fiction. It’s not long ago that I used to read the genre all the time, but then I grew out of the habit, spending time reading crime, thrillers and adventure stories. As someone whose stories are aimed at the YA genre it’s unforgivable. At half term, Amazon were having a sale on books, and I picked this up for 99p, a bargain price. I knew the author vaguely from Instagram but hadn’t read any of her works until now.

So, a nice cover that promised a thriller type story, mystery, and a bit of magic. The blurb re-enforced the thought and added ‘a girl coming back from the dead’. See must be some deep dark black magic in there Have to say I struggled with the first few chapters, maybe because I’d been reading a different style book before, so it might just have been me. My dad once told me that if I didn’t get on with a book, then quit. ‘There are far too many books to read without wasting your life on something you don’t like ‘. He always added though that ‘BUT read at least a quarter of the book first. ‘Sound advice. Before I was twenty pages in, I was hooked. Wanted to find out how a girl came back from the dead after three months.

It’s set in a small town. At first, I thought it was somewhere in Canada, the use of high school (although I went to a high school in the UK, it isn’t usual. It’s set in the UK though and yet it fits perfectly to a small northern fishing village. The town is unusual, from having to knock to a tune to gain access to the sweet shop to the blackfins that come to the bay, which give the towns its name, a quirky place where anything surreal seems possible.

Character wise, there’s the main protagonist Skyler, a girl of sixteen who awakes in the town three months after she’s drowned. It startles the locals, and especially her friends and parents. Yet somehow her friends seem to cope very well with the news, maybe a side effect of this surreal town. Her parents, who have a secret that they keep from her, live in the Blood House. Then there’s Jarad, a newcomer to the town who works with Sky’s father in the garage. Something about him makes Sky uneasy. Then there’s Sean, spelt wrong unfortunately, the ‘romantic interest’. Yes, there’s a love story buried in there, but it never gets in the way of the story, it adds and in the end is essential to that story.

So, did I enjoy it? Yes, it was a brilliant, intoxicating read. As I devoured the pages I imagined the scenes in my head, saw myself watching the words translated into scenes in my head. Somehow Llandudno pier and Whitby intertwined into one. The story was well told, it flowed well with no slackening towards the middle. The final climax was great, a good ending to the story. Yet I feel the story of Sky and Sean should go on. It has possibilities for a series.

So I highly rate this book, a solid read that delights and astounds through its twists and turns.

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January 16, 2024

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