Cover image for The Storm Keeper's Island
Title:
The Storm Keeper's Island
ISBN:
9781681199597

9781408896884
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury, 2019.
Physical Description:
308 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
Fionn Boyle, terrified of the sea, must spend the summer with this older sister, Tara, and their grandfather on Arranmore, an island that has been known to make people disappear, and seems to be restless again.
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Children's Book Fiction Doyle
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Children's Book Fiction Doyle
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Children's Book Fiction Doyle
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Children's Book Fiction Doyle
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Children's Book DOYLE
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Children's Book Fiction Doyle
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Summary

Summary

An evocative tale of ancient magic, bravery, and family bonds.

"Fans of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson can add Fionn Boyle as a generous and brave hero from the Emerald Isle." - School Library Connection

Fionn Boyle comes from a long line of brave seafarers, people with the ocean behind their eyes. But he can't help but fear the open sea. For years, Fionn's mother has told him stories of Arranmore Island, a strange place that seems to haunt her. Fionn has always wondered about this mysterious island, and from the day he arrives he starts noticing things that can't be explained. He can sense the island all around him, and it feels like the island is watching him, too.

Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for his grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. But as Fionn and the other descendants of Arranmore's most powerful families fight to become the island's next champion, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling a long-ago war and changing Fionn's life and the island's future forever.


Author Notes

Catherine Doyle grew up beside the Atlantic Ocean in the west of Ireland. Her love of reading began with great Irish myths and legends, and fostered in her an ambition to one day write her own. The Storm Keeper's Island is her debut middle-grade novel and was inspired by her real-life ancestral home of Arranmore Island (where her grandparents grew up), and the adventures of her many sea-faring ancestors. After living in Dublin City for two years, Catherine is now based in Galway but spends a lot of her time in the US and London.
www.catherinedoylebooks.com/
@doyle_cat


Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-The moment 11-year-old Fionn Boyle and his sister Tara set foot on Arranmore Island, he senses something unusual: every part of this island off the coast of Dublin calls to him as if it has been waiting for him to return. Fionn soon discovers there's a dark force buried deep on Arranmore that has also been lying in wait. It may be his destiny to confront this evil as the next Storm Keeper, the Island's magical protector. Though Fionn is riddled with self-doubt, his character is a fresh, contemporary take on the "underdog finding his special purpose" trope. His snarky sparring with Tara and her snobby crush on Bartley reveals wit and strength Fionn doesn't recognize in himself and his courage convincingly grows over the course of the novel. Guiding him toward his future is the siblings' adventurous grandfather Malachy, Arranmore's current Storm Keeper. His wisdom and patient advice underscore the novel's themes of remembrance, history, and family. Inspired by her grandparents' life on the real Arranmore Island, Doyle infuses every aspect of the novel with the richness of Irish folklore and culture: readers will be captivated by descriptions of the Island's beauty and magical history. The perilous climax doesn't resolve all plot threads, but enough questions are answered to provide an emotionally satisfying conclusion while teasing the battle ahead for the lovable crew. -VERDICT A first purchase, modern yet timeless fantasy with plenty of heart and a Celtic twist.-Marybeth -Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Eleven-year-old Fionn Boyle knows that places can be just as important as people . . . they can have the same power over you if you let them. Fionn and his sister are spending the summer with their grandfather, Malachy Boyle, on Arranmore Island, off the coast of Ireland. Nestled among the unpredictable wildflowers is Fionn's ancestral home, a rickety cottage stuffed with eclectic candles. As Fionn quickly learns, Arranmore holds secrets. Every generation, a Storm Keeper is chosen and imbued with the magic of the sea. They wield power over the elements and record moments in time in the form of candles. Malachy's time as Arranmore's Storm Keeper is ending, and another family on the island is vying for the position. The possibility of reigniting a centuries-long war between forces of good and evil is also at stake for those who would be the next Storm Keeper. Doyle's prose explodes with lyrical language as she deftly explores themes of loss, guilt, and how memory weighs on one's soul. Malachy's struggles with dementia feel entirely relatable to those with family members also struggling with the condition, and are inextricably woven into the fantasy narrative. Doyle proves with this exquisite debut that she is a middle-grade fiction author to watch, and readers can look forward to the continuing adventures of the Storm Keeper.--Caitlin Kling Copyright 2018 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

A shape-shifting fox, a sentient island, an eerily perfect town and twins who use magic to stay together. Beloved by young readers, speculative fiction often gets a very different reception from grown-ups, some of whom lament that such books lack the depth of literary fiction, especially if - horrors! - they are popular ones in a series. It took a tsunami of media attention to get such adults to capitulate to J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books and, once they did, they raved about the series as an exception, seemingly unaware of its distinguished lineage. Fortunately, others feel differently, aware that some of the most inventive, enthralling, provocative and (yes) literary writing for children comes in this form. Setting their stories in invented places, a magical version of the real world or far across the universe, these authors explore weighty themes in highly original ways. For established fans, new readers and open-minded skeptics, four new titles offer distinctive and rich reading experiences. would life be better if we could forget the past? That's the question Corey Ann Haydu ("Rules for Stealing Stars") poses in her engrossing EVENTOWN (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 336 pp., $16.99; ages 8 to 12). It certainly seems that way for almost-12-year-old Elodee, her identical twin, Naomi, and their parents, whose lives have become unbearably sad because of something none of them can stand to think about. Needing a fresh start, they move to Eventown, where they are delighted at first with the charming environment, the kind people, the overriding sense of well-being. While the quiet Naomi settles in comfortably, the more outgoing Elodee does not. An inventive cook, she is pleased with the scrumptious results she gets from a recipe box in their new home, but when she tries to tinker with them or recreate her own, the results are disastrous. After a couple of times watching her gymnast sister perform every routine with nary a grunt or drop of sweat, always getting a perfect score along with the other Eventown girls, Elodee stops attending the meets. Then there is the rosebush their father brought from their old home, blooming wildly and differently from the gorgeous ones around it, never fitting in any more than Elodee does. For it seems that an "even" lifestyle comes with costs. While Eventown has its dystopian aspects, there are no sinister villains â la President Snow of "The Hunger Games," just well-intentioned people who have understandable reasons for keeping the town as it is. With its embedded question about the consequences of erasing all your problems, "Eventown" will doubtless hit many a middle grade reader's sweet spot, reminding them that memories, good and bad, make life worth living. identical twins are also at the center of Anne Ursu's THE LOST GIRL (Walden Pond/ HarperCollins, 368 pp., $16.99; ages 8 to 12). They're physically alike, but Lark is dreamy and creative while Iris is outgoing and fact-oriented. They have always looked out for each other - but in fifth grade, for the first time, they are put into separate classes. Devastated, the girls struggle with this new reality, Lark withdrawing into a world of her own while Iris frets and worries about her. With every difficult situation, Iris becomes more alarmed. How is she to take care of Lark if they are in different classes? Distraught, Iris gravitates to a strange new antique shop in town run by the eccentric Mr. Green, while elsewhere things big and small start to go missing. Told by a mysterious narrator, the story gets darker and darker as the foolhardy and desperately unhappy Iris stumbles in her attempts to help her sister. Yet the book's somber moments are balanced by lighter ones, especially those featuring Iris's classmates and the energetic girls of her after-school Awesome Club, all of whom she has discounted in her self-absorption, but who turn out to be supportive, and critical at the end. While the bulk of "The Lost Girl" is set in a realistic world, the final section is suffused with magic. Capturing with piercing accuracy Iris's evolving anguish, Ursu ("The Real Boy") ends this passionate and complex story with a celebration of sibling autonomy, youthful agency and the power of friends. Eleven-year-old Fionne, the hero of Catherine Doyle's debut middle-grade novel, THE STORM KEEPER'S ISLAND (Bloomsbury, 304 pp., $16.99; ages 8 to 12), is also miserable. Having never known his father, who died shortly before he was born, he is close to his mother - but she has sent him and his sister to their grandfather's island while she recovers from depression. The whispering wind and magical landscape that greet Fionne make it immediately clear that this island is not ordinary. Nor is their grandfather, the Storm Keeper, who has long kept dark forces at bay with the handcrafted candles that fill his cottage. Now, having grown forgetful, the old man is ready to cede his place. While the siblings bicker constantly, Fionne is still hurt when his sister abandons him to search for the legendary Sea Cave with her new crush, who wants to use the place's single wish to become the next Storm Keeper, bypassing the tradition of the sentient island making the selection. Wanting the wish to somehow get his father back and then to help his mother, Fionne tries to find the cave before them, discovering along the way more clarity about his own past as well as a growing awareness of the evil lurking deep below in the island. Doyle's writing glows, with the pitchperfect barbs the young people sling at each other, the atmospheric weather events, her masterfully delineated characters - including the island itself - and a page-turning plot. Heart-wrenching and heart-stopping, this is one gorgeous novel. With the arrival of a stranger to a dilapidated home on J ingu, one of the many planets that make up the Thousand Worlds, Yoon Ha Lee hits the ground running in DRAGON PEARL (Rick Riordan/Hyperion, 310 pp., $16.99; ages 8 to 12). Our 13-year-old protagonist, Min, hears the stranger say that her beloved older Space Cadet brother is believed to have deserted in order to seek the coveted and long-lost object known as the Dragon Pearl. Furious and disbelieving, she knocks the man out and then races off to find Jun. In this world of humans and supernatural beings, Min is a shape-shifting fox who, like all of her kind, stays disguised as a human to avoid the prejudice she would otherwise encounter. Using her wits and a magical ability called Charm that she has been forbidden to use, but does under these urgent conditions, Min manages to get on her brother's ship by disguising herself as a recently slain male cadet whose ghost she encounters. With two delightful friends - a female dragon and a genderneutral goblin with a magic snack-producing spork - Min participates in lessons, learns about the ship's workings and has thrilling adventures galore. Part of the new line of multicultural fan-tasy novels overseen by Rick Riordan - he of the popular Percy Jackson series - "Dragon Pearl" is a clever mash-up of Korean mythology and science fiction tropes. With crisp dialogue, a winning protagonist and a propulsive plot, the tale is enormously entertaining. And a heads-up to speculative-averse adults: If you decided Harry Potter was O.K., this is another one that might surprise you. Monica edinger, a fourth-grade teacher in New York City, is the author of "Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad." She blogs at Educating Alice.