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Josephine Against the Sea

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Meet Josephine, the most loveable mischief-maker in Barbados, in a magical, heartfelt adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology. “A heart-wrenching adventure with big laughs and well-earned surprises.” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That's why she makes a habit of scaring his new girlfriends away. She Meet Josephine, the most loveable mischief-maker in Barbados, in a magical, heartfelt adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology. “A heart-wrenching adventure with big laughs and well-earned surprises.” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That's why she makes a habit of scaring his new girlfriends away. She's desperate to make it onto her school's cricket team because she'll get to play her favorite sport AND use the cricket matches to distract Daddy from dating. But when Coach Broomes announces that girls can't try out for the team, the frustrated Josephine cuts into a powerful silk cotton tree and accidentally summons a bigger problem into her life . . . The next day, Daddy brings home a new catch, a beautiful woman named Mariss. And unlike the other girlfriends, this one doesn't scare easily. Josephine knows there's something fishy about Mariss but she never expected her to be a vengeful sea creature eager to take her place as her father's first love! Can Josephine convince her friends to help her and use her cricket skills to save Daddy from Mariss's clutches before it's too late?


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Meet Josephine, the most loveable mischief-maker in Barbados, in a magical, heartfelt adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology. “A heart-wrenching adventure with big laughs and well-earned surprises.” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That's why she makes a habit of scaring his new girlfriends away. She Meet Josephine, the most loveable mischief-maker in Barbados, in a magical, heartfelt adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology. “A heart-wrenching adventure with big laughs and well-earned surprises.” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That's why she makes a habit of scaring his new girlfriends away. She's desperate to make it onto her school's cricket team because she'll get to play her favorite sport AND use the cricket matches to distract Daddy from dating. But when Coach Broomes announces that girls can't try out for the team, the frustrated Josephine cuts into a powerful silk cotton tree and accidentally summons a bigger problem into her life . . . The next day, Daddy brings home a new catch, a beautiful woman named Mariss. And unlike the other girlfriends, this one doesn't scare easily. Josephine knows there's something fishy about Mariss but she never expected her to be a vengeful sea creature eager to take her place as her father's first love! Can Josephine convince her friends to help her and use her cricket skills to save Daddy from Mariss's clutches before it's too late?

30 review for Josephine Against the Sea

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shakirah Bourne

    I've now read this book 102 times and I still enjoy it, sooooo :) I've now read this book 102 times and I still enjoy it, sooooo :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    A thoroughly enjoyable read that I wanted way more of, what an amazing read! In Josephine Against The Sea we are transported to Barbados and we meet eleven-year-old Josephine who lives with her father who is a fisherman. Since the death of her mother its just been Josephine and her Dad… yes, there’s been women who want to date her dad…but Josephine manage to nudge them along. Josephine’s seem to be no match for Mariss… she will not leave and something is “off” about her. Get ready for adventure A thoroughly enjoyable read that I wanted way more of, what an amazing read! In Josephine Against The Sea we are transported to Barbados and we meet eleven-year-old Josephine who lives with her father who is a fisherman. Since the death of her mother its just been Josephine and her Dad… yes, there’s been women who want to date her dad…but Josephine manage to nudge them along. Josephine’s seem to be no match for Mariss… she will not leave and something is “off” about her. Get ready for adventure, for laughter and super cute moments that will melt your heart. This book is perfect for middle graders and adults alike. I read it and was blown away by the writing and how the writer pulls you in and teaches you about Barbados’s culture, history and mythology. It perfectly captures Father-Daughter relationship, we don't see a lot of that and I wanted more. It is truly a beautiful read. I want more people reading this beautiful book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Woc Reader

    Josephine is a mischievous little girl who lives in the seaside village of Fairy Vale, Barbados with her father. She has a habit of chasing away every woman her widowed father dates. She plans on it just being the two of them and this year is the year she will make the school cricket team. One day a mysterious woman shows up on her father's arm. But for some reason this new woman, Mariss isn't succumbing to Josephine's attempted pranks. She immediately senses something is off about the way men an Josephine is a mischievous little girl who lives in the seaside village of Fairy Vale, Barbados with her father. She has a habit of chasing away every woman her widowed father dates. She plans on it just being the two of them and this year is the year she will make the school cricket team. One day a mysterious woman shows up on her father's arm. But for some reason this new woman, Mariss isn't succumbing to Josephine's attempted pranks. She immediately senses something is off about the way men and women bend to Mariss' will so easily. And what's with the way the fish act around her? This pushy woman has forced her way into Josephine's life fairly quickly and is positioning herself to be her new mother. This book was a good read. It's been awhile since a book had me laughing the way this one did. There was this scene where Josephine tries to sabotage Mariss by pouring wiri wiri pepper into her soup and I was on the edge of my seat waiting for her reaction. If you've ever tasted it you know it is not for the weak! I loved how well it showcased Josephine's father's heritage as well. He's an originally from Guyana and not to get too deep into it but some Guyanese people face discrimination in Barbados (Rihanna talked a little bit about it in an interview last year). I myself have Guyanese family in Barbados so it was a beautiful and familiar thing to hear her Josephine talk about her father's homeland and foods and traditions he brought from there. And there are many people in the Caribbean whose family has roots on other countries and they balance traditions and foods from both. The characters use Bajan Creole freely and it's not explained or translated. Young readers who aren't of Caribbean heritage will just have to use context clues to figure it out. And they will see that though they live a little differently the children in the Caribbean have many similarities to them as well. I'm also a lover of any water related mythos and was a big fan of mermaids as a child so that's one of the reasons I wanted to pick up this book. This book also deals with grief but in a way that's not preachy while still showing how you never completely get over loss but slowly do heal. And I think the kids will enjoy the magic and the fast pace. Shakirah Bourne writes in a way that is guaranteed to easily capture even the most reluctant reader's attention. If your children liked The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste they'll love this one. And if you're looking for more Caribbean folklore based books for your children be sure to pre-order A Comb of Wishes. See original review https://womenofcolorreadtoo.blogspot....

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fanna

    June 25, 2020: I mean, a young daughter saving her father is amazing but the fact that Jo plays CRICKET? Um, this is going to be the first time I'll see a protagonist love cricket in a story soooo BYE wake me up when it's 2021. June 25, 2020: I mean, a young daughter saving her father is amazing but the fact that Jo plays CRICKET? Um, this is going to be the first time I'll see a protagonist love cricket in a story soooo BYE wake me up when it's 2021.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    A lively and delightful read, compelling from the first page to the last. The voice is so fantastic and believable you'll feel you're listening to ten-year-old Josephine talk to you about her widowed Daddy (the fisherman), and the new woman he's brought home. Josephine doesn't trust Mariss at all and suspects she's not even human! Especially when Josephine sees the jeweled comb Daddy found in his fishing net, Daddy suddenly has better luck fishing, and money starts pouring in to pay all the bill A lively and delightful read, compelling from the first page to the last. The voice is so fantastic and believable you'll feel you're listening to ten-year-old Josephine talk to you about her widowed Daddy (the fisherman), and the new woman he's brought home. Josephine doesn't trust Mariss at all and suspects she's not even human! Especially when Josephine sees the jeweled comb Daddy found in his fishing net, Daddy suddenly has better luck fishing, and money starts pouring in to pay all the bills. Mariss moves in, and then the framed portrait of Josephine's dead mama disappears from the dresser... Chock-full of the kinds of details that make a book authentic and bring the Barbados setting to life. There are wonderful details about modern life in Barbados: cricket matches (Josephine longs to play on the school team, if she can convince the coach to let a girl on), spicy food, and reggae music, But there are also ancient tales of powerful spirits. A kind librarian lends Josephine her only copy of The Treasure Chest of African and Caribbean Folkore. There she finds the perfect description of Mariss, a Mami Wata, or Sea Mumma, a creature from the sea who enters someone's life and takes over, bringing riches, but also bringing destruction. Josephine realizes she must do something to stop Mariss. You won't be able to stop turning the pages. Thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this gem of a book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    How I read this: Free ebook copy received through Edelweiss There is a lot of positive stuff about this one, but it didn't quite balance it out for me. I'll get the negative stuff out of the way and then mention what I did think was awesome. I wasn't sure what to think of this book - I couldn't figure out for a long time whether we're supposed to hate this new stepmother character, or not. Because some of the times, she'd do something terrible or threatening, and you'd think she's a manipulator an How I read this: Free ebook copy received through Edelweiss There is a lot of positive stuff about this one, but it didn't quite balance it out for me. I'll get the negative stuff out of the way and then mention what I did think was awesome. I wasn't sure what to think of this book - I couldn't figure out for a long time whether we're supposed to hate this new stepmother character, or not. Because some of the times, she'd do something terrible or threatening, and you'd think she's a manipulator and a danger to Josie, the main character. Other times, she would do something positive or show understanding, and it was unclear whether she was going to come out positive after all. Is this a bad woman who Josie will have to beat? Or is it just a different point of view that Josie will have to overcome and eventually they will click and there will be learning? This wasn't clear way past even the midpoint, and it was driving me nuts. I do understand that in life things aren't quite black and white like that, but the reader, especially a middle grade reader, is usually being guided towards what they're supposed to feel. I couldn't pick that up here - it felt like the book isn't quite making up its own mind. Another big trigger for me is irresponsible or bad dads. Unfortunately, this book had one. Absolutely not the book's fault and that's probably the whole point, but that's also why I didn't quite click with the story. While most of the time the dad is being manipulated by a woman, he is still... just not a very good dad. This made the story pretty hard for me to read. I guess I didn't expect the dad to not be on the side of the child, and it greatly upset me. But I realize this is all me - that's a valid plot and it's not the book's fault that it particularly triggers me because I had an absent father. On the positive note, I have to mention that the book is plenty culturally genuine - I can't check the veracity of how accurate it is, because I am a person born and living in Europe, so I've never known much about the Caribbean. But the language in the book and some of the cultural details mentioned were interesting and really painted a picture for me. That's always great, and we should have more books like that. Another thing that was great was that Josie really wanted to play cricket, and she was really good - but she was constantly being put down as a girl player, and not allowed to play with boys. A big part of the story was overcoming that and that's a good storyline for sure. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to carry the story for me. I would have preferred a clearer plot - if it's 50% in and you're still wondering whether the villain is the villain, I would say the story is being needlessly ambiguous. It did get obvious later on, but I have to say, it kind of got terrifying after that. (view spoiler)[ An 11 year old who fears for the life of her dad, disappearing pets and drowning teachers - (hide spoiler)] it was all a bit too scary and dark for a middle grade for me. Not to even mention that the ending read like a horror scene for me. I don't know if I would have wanted to read that as a kid. But maybe that's just me! I am a sensitive adult as well as I was a kid, so please consider other people's reviews too (especially if they're Carribean reviewers!) I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the ebook in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion. Book Blog | Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Josephine's mother has been gone for five years, but she is not happy that her father is now interested in dating. She would prefer that the two of them stay as they are, watching cricket after her father's busy days as a fisherman in Barbados. She even rigs a bucket of fish guts to spill onto the head of a woman that he brings home, with the help of her friend, Ahkai. Miss Alleyne, Josephine's new teacher, wants her to do well on her upcoming Common Entrance 11-Plus E E ARC provided by Edelweiss Josephine's mother has been gone for five years, but she is not happy that her father is now interested in dating. She would prefer that the two of them stay as they are, watching cricket after her father's busy days as a fisherman in Barbados. She even rigs a bucket of fish guts to spill onto the head of a woman that he brings home, with the help of her friend, Ahkai. Miss Alleyne, Josephine's new teacher, wants her to do well on her upcoming Common Entrance 11-Plus Exam, but this preparation leaves her feeling overwhelmed. Instead, she has gathered her savings and is planning on taking her father to a cricket match to take his mind off of women, but has to give the money to her father when one of her attempts to drive off his dates end with a broken window in their rented home. When a woman named Mariss shows up, she proves impossible for Josephine to scare off. Nothing works, and she and Ahkai start to believe that perhaps she is a sea creature called a Sea Mumma who has designs on her father. Will Josephine and Ahkai be able to fend her off? Strengths: It's very difficult to find middle grade fiction set in the Caribbean; a search of Follett's Titlewave brings up Taylor's 1969 The Cay as one of the very few choices, which is problematic. I loved reading about Josephine's struggles in school, her adventures outside, and her struggles with Mariss. It's an interesting premise to have a parent dating an ACTUAL slightly demonic creature! I'm sure many young readers will appreciate that. Her friendship with Ahkai is good to see, and Miss Alleyne was probably my favorite character. I'm curious to see this author's expected 2022 release, Duppy Island. Weaknesses: Josephine was a challenging character. There was no excuse to drop a bucket of fish guts on the head of her father's date, and the fact that he didn't discipline her more strongly is concerning. What I really think: This is a good choice for readers who want tales rich with Caribbean folkore like Baptiste's The Jumbies or enjoyed tales with magical elements like Callender's King and the Dragonflies or Smith's Hoodoo.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Payal Doshi

    Shakirah Bourne’s Josephine Against the Sea is a marvelous adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology led by a spunky and lovable heroine, 11-year-old Josephine Cadogan. Josephine has two missions. One is to get on her school’s cricket team so she can meet the West Indies team and reignite her father’s love for cricket which he has lost after her mum died. And two is to make sure none of her father’s lady friends turn into girlfriends because according to Josephine, it’s pretty simple: All she an Shakirah Bourne’s Josephine Against the Sea is a marvelous adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology led by a spunky and lovable heroine, 11-year-old Josephine Cadogan. Josephine has two missions. One is to get on her school’s cricket team so she can meet the West Indies team and reignite her father’s love for cricket which he has lost after her mum died. And two is to make sure none of her father’s lady friends turn into girlfriends because according to Josephine, it’s pretty simple: All she and her dad need are each other and their love for cricket. But a plot twist ensues! Ever since the day her father, a fisherman, returns home with a bejeweled comb caught in his fishing net, his luck changes for the better. And then, enters Mariss, a strange, alluring, and seemingly devious woman who has her father wrapped around her finger and is immune to all of Josephine’s tricks to keep her away from him. Josephine knows in her gut that Mariss is not who she says she is as odd things start to occur around her and much to Josephine’s dismay, the town seems completely oblivious to it while her father is quickly falling under her spell. As Josephine begins her own investigation into who Mariss truly is, we enter into the rich world of Caribbean folklore and dive into sea sprits of the underwater kingdom, mermaids with mind control abilities, shape-shifting snakes, and go on a treacherous journey with Josephine into the sea for a fighting chance to save her father. Apart from the plot which fast paced and riveting, Bourne has created a triumphant character in Josephine. From the very first sentence in the book, “It’s 4:58 p.m. and Daddy still isn’t back from his date. I should have never allowed him to leave home,” the reader instantly taps into Josephine’s personality and loves her for it. The love for her dad and the jealously she has against any potential ‘girlfriend’ who she feels will replace her mother is heartwarming to read. Bourne adds humor to it as well with Josephine’s straight-shooting thoughts and commentary which not only lends a lightness to the more beautiful and poignant moments but also had me laughing out loud several times! However, the real adventure and the full force of Josephine’s personality come through as she begins her search for answers about Mariss and has to come up with creative ways to overcome the obstacles that thwart her at every step. You can’t help rooting for Josephine. From vivid prose and hilarious one-liners like “Nice teachers don’t teach fractions on the first day of school’ and ‘I’m deathly allergic to being caught red-handed,’ to learning about duppies and River Mummas and reading about cricket terminologies like the Mexican wave and Howzat, this book was an absolute joy to read. As a cricket fan myself, you don’t get to read about cricket in too many books, not to mention a girl who is talented in the game. And I’m here for it! But Bourne’s biggest strength lies in the characters she creates, and it is clear she spent time to develop the secondary characters as well—Miss Alleyne, Miss Mo (whose weird traditions and superstitions had me tickled!), Josephine’s father, and my favorite, Josephine’s best friend, Akhai—since they remain with you long after you’ve read the book. Ahkai is autistic and Bourne has woven that part of his personality effortlessly into his character. There is a sentence that informs readers that Ahkai is autistic, and I can argue few people could have done it better. In the book, Josephine thinks to herself, “He’s on the—what’s it called again? It reminds me of something wonderful—Awesome, Rhythm, Autism! That’s it. He’s on the autism spectrum, and I am one of the few people Akhai utters a word to.” A special shout out to Mr. Pimples, the angelfish, and the rickety, old Jalopy who make for memorable side characters as well! Josephine Against the Sea has so much heart on top of dollops of adventure. It is a heartwarming, thrilling, and nail-biting story until the end, where the reader is immersed in Barbadian island life, can smell the sea spray in the air, and heart-thumpingly awaits what happens next when Josephine’s father does not return from his fishing trip. I cannot wait for the world to meet Josephine and go on this incredible adventure with her! Thank you to the publisher, Scholastic, for the eARC!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Baje Bookclub - Dawn

    My Fishy Stepmom is about eleven year old Josephine who lost her mom at a young age and loved life with her dad. Her other love is cricket. Josephine had grown accustom to it being her and her dad only. She’s been battling with her dad’s “friends” ensuring that none of them get “comfortable” with her dad. In steps Mariss and the battle begins. Houston we have a problem! This YA/Teen story which was set in Barbados, was a finalist in the 2018 Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. My Fis My Fishy Stepmom is about eleven year old Josephine who lost her mom at a young age and loved life with her dad. Her other love is cricket. Josephine had grown accustom to it being her and her dad only. She’s been battling with her dad’s “friends” ensuring that none of them get “comfortable” with her dad. In steps Mariss and the battle begins. Houston we have a problem! This YA/Teen story which was set in Barbados, was a finalist in the 2018 Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. My Fishy Stepmom is a funny and captivating story loaded with Barbadian folklore which intrigued me and scared me a bit 🤦🏽‍♀️🤣. I loved the interactions between Josephine and Ahkai and my favorite chapter is Chapter 8. Mariss intrigued me as she did Josephine. I think I held my breath while reading the last 5 chapters! I look>forward to reading Josephine Against The Sea (North American edition) to see the differences to My Fishy Stepmom. Thank you Shakirah.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ruthie

    I really enjoyed Josephine Against the Sea and how the Caribbean mythology was blended seamlessly into a heartfelt story of a cricket-playing girl growing up with her single father. I don't know anything about Caribbean folklore so I was definitely kept guessing about whether the antagonist was going to be a mermaid, or a sea spirit, or a shapeshifter, or some combination of all three. Josephine is guessing too and trying to find out so I love that we get to find out with her. There's great repr I really enjoyed Josephine Against the Sea and how the Caribbean mythology was blended seamlessly into a heartfelt story of a cricket-playing girl growing up with her single father. I don't know anything about Caribbean folklore so I was definitely kept guessing about whether the antagonist was going to be a mermaid, or a sea spirit, or a shapeshifter, or some combination of all three. Josephine is guessing too and trying to find out so I love that we get to find out with her. There's great representation as well with Josephine's best friend, Ahkai, on the Autism spectrum. Disclaimer: I was given a free review copy from the publisher as part of my participation with TBR and Beyond Tours on Instagram. It was my choice to read and I'm leaving this review voluntarily.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathie

    Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book. Fans of The Jumbies will not want to miss this Caribbean-inspired story set in Barbados, where a young girl must figure out the strange magic her father's girlfriend is using on him and the people in their community before it claims a life. Josephine wants to play cricket on the school team, and spend time watching it on TV with her dad like they used to. She doesn't think there's any need for him to be bringing home girlfriends, Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book. Fans of The Jumbies will not want to miss this Caribbean-inspired story set in Barbados, where a young girl must figure out the strange magic her father's girlfriend is using on him and the people in their community before it claims a life. Josephine wants to play cricket on the school team, and spend time watching it on TV with her dad like they used to. She doesn't think there's any need for him to be bringing home girlfriends, and she wants him to be able to come to her matches and spend more time with him. But when Josephine doesn't make the team, she takes her anger out on an unusual old tree that unleashes trouble beyond her expectations. The next thing she knows, her father has brought home a girlfriend named Mariss who won't fall for Josephine's tricks to chase her away. When strange things start to happen, Josephine realizes that there might be some bad magic involved, and she needs to figure out what Mariss's plan is, and how she can save her dad from falling completely under her spell. With the help of her friend, Ahkai, they set out to discover who Mariss really is, and and how they can send her back where she came from. I enjoy reading stories set in other countries, and found Barbados an interesting and unique setting for this story. I loved watching Josephine come to terms with the loss of her mother, and finding a way to accept a new love interest in her father's life. I also really enjoyed Mariss's magic and how it related to the sea. Readers will be drawn in by the mystery surrounding Mariss, Josephine's fight for a spot on the cricket team, and the high stakes that as the story unfolds.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ambika

    My Fishy Stepmom is a middle grade, #ReadCaribbean read written by the talented Ms. Shakirah Bournes. It follows a girl by the name of Josephine, her best friend and neighbour Ahkai who does things in fives, her widowed father and her new potential stepmom, Mariss, who happens to overcome all the boundaries and traps she usually sets for all her dad's new girls. While trying to also be recognized to be a member of her school's cricket team, Josephine knows something is "fishy" about Mariss. Coul My Fishy Stepmom is a middle grade, #ReadCaribbean read written by the talented Ms. Shakirah Bournes. It follows a girl by the name of Josephine, her best friend and neighbour Ahkai who does things in fives, her widowed father and her new potential stepmom, Mariss, who happens to overcome all the boundaries and traps she usually sets for all her dad's new girls. While trying to also be recognized to be a member of her school's cricket team, Josephine knows something is "fishy" about Mariss. Could all the stories and myths Ahkai's mom narrate actually be true? A protagonist who loves cricket?!?!? SIGN ME UP! I absolutely loved the representation of all things Caribbean in this book. It truly felt like home. From the great sport, to the hills, to the sea, to the nice fruits, to the myths and folklores, to the fishing villages and so much more. I found myself laughing at and with Josephine and her Dad throughout this book. Other times, my hear ached for them as they both were recovering from the loss of their wife and mom respectively. What made it an even greater novel was the inclusion of the truths in the stories we tell. There may be falsity, but the truth is also hidden in plain sight. I loved the gender roles being displayed and how Josephine breaks those glass ceilings in something as small yet powerful as cricket. Lastly, the art on each chapter cover was well done! I absolutely loved it! A must read! I cannot wait to read Ms. Bournes newest book releasing 2021.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alysa

    Thank you to the author and Scholastic for the opportunity to read an ARC of this marvelous MG debut! Set in a small village in Barbados JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA is the story of Josephine who loves the game of cricket almost as much as she loves her widowed father. But since Jo's mother died, Jo's father lost his passion for the game. If only he'd also lose his interest in dating. With the help of her best friend Josephine hatches a series of brilliant and very fun plans to run off her father's Thank you to the author and Scholastic for the opportunity to read an ARC of this marvelous MG debut! Set in a small village in Barbados JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA is the story of Josephine who loves the game of cricket almost as much as she loves her widowed father. But since Jo's mother died, Jo's father lost his passion for the game. If only he'd also lose his interest in dating. With the help of her best friend Josephine hatches a series of brilliant and very fun plans to run off her father's girlfriends. Until Mariss comes along. There's something very fishy about this woman, and Jo is determined to save her father from the strange hold Mariss has over him. Inspired by Caribbean mythology, JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA is a funny and fast-paced mystery with a heroine to cheer for, and a world to get lost in. Bourne has created two worlds for her readers to explore: the real world of a small village in Barbardos and the mythological one where carving your name into a silk cotton tree can unleash sea demons. I loved Jo's determination, her sense of humor, and her friendship with her next-door neighbor. This is an un-put-downable story, and I cannot wait for MG readers to catch this treat of a book!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Such a treat to get to travel to Barbados in Shakirah Bourne's debut middle grade novel, JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA. In the wake of her mother's death, all Jo wants is to play cricket - and to remind her daddy how much he loves the game. Maybe if he can remember that, he'll forget about dating... because Jo REALLY doesn't want her daddy dating anybody. Especially Mariss, his strange new girlfriend who... maybe isn't even human? The lengths Jo goes to in trying to drive away her dad's suitors are Such a treat to get to travel to Barbados in Shakirah Bourne's debut middle grade novel, JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA. In the wake of her mother's death, all Jo wants is to play cricket - and to remind her daddy how much he loves the game. Maybe if he can remember that, he'll forget about dating... because Jo REALLY doesn't want her daddy dating anybody. Especially Mariss, his strange new girlfriend who... maybe isn't even human? The lengths Jo goes to in trying to drive away her dad's suitors are absolutely laugh-out-loud hilarious and delightful, and the world Shakirah Bourne builds here is just stunning. JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA is rich with Caribbean folklore, and the mystery of Mariss' true identity will keep kids turning pages until the very end. I simply loved this book, and will shout about it to kids of all ages. Many thanks to the author and to Scholastic for the ARC.

  15. 5 out of 5

    May Cho

    A fun little book, with pages of mischief and magic set against the backbones of Carribean folklore. Very on the fence about this one because while I enjoyed all the separate components of the book – the exploration of grief, parenting, cricket, sea monsters, the Carribean, mischief – I felt that Bourne wasn't able to fully meld these elements into one coherent, seamless story. Very disjointed pacing which was distracting and not v emotionally fulfilling because of it. A fun little book, with pages of mischief and magic set against the backbones of Carribean folklore. Very on the fence about this one because while I enjoyed all the separate components of the book – the exploration of grief, parenting, cricket, sea monsters, the Carribean, mischief – I felt that Bourne wasn't able to fully meld these elements into one coherent, seamless story. Very disjointed pacing which was distracting and not v emotionally fulfilling because of it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    A lovely and imaginative book, I really enjoyed learning more about Barbados and their stories!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kim Bahr

    Mythology based in Barbados.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This Caribbean-inspired story takes place in Barbados, which is a new locale for me in the reading world! Josephine is my favorite kind of character. She’s witty, stubborn, and full of love for her father and her family friends. Once she discovers that her father’s girlfriend isn’t quite what she seems, the story takes off and it’s a fun one! I love magical realism, and this is an excellent example of that. This is the kind of story that you can easily fly through in a matter of hours. I guarant This Caribbean-inspired story takes place in Barbados, which is a new locale for me in the reading world! Josephine is my favorite kind of character. She’s witty, stubborn, and full of love for her father and her family friends. Once she discovers that her father’s girlfriend isn’t quite what she seems, the story takes off and it’s a fun one! I love magical realism, and this is an excellent example of that. This is the kind of story that you can easily fly through in a matter of hours. I guarantee that you’ll be rooting for Josephine by the mid point of this story. All Josephine wants to do is play on the school cricket team. She wants to find a way to bring her father out of his funk, after the loss of her father, and make him proud of her. I felt so hard for her, as she watched her father draw further and further into himself. By the time that Mariss enters the picture, and the magical aspect of this comes into play, there is already a beautiful family dynamic in place. As Josephine fought tooth and nail to save her father, and the people in her community, I was right there with her. Bourne has written the kind of character who is so very easy to understand. You can step right into her shoes. It’s too hard to write a long review for this one, because I don’t want to spoil anything for any potential readers. Suffice it to say that this is the perfect blend of magical realism and family dynamic. It’s sweet, suspenseful, and even a little sad. There is so much beautiful folklore woven in that I didn’t know about previously! I had an excellent time reading this, and highly recommend it!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    A fun read based around Caribbean mythology. Readers will love spunky Josephine and will root for her as she tries to save her fisherman father from his latest catch - a sea witch in disguise! Now I need to visit Barbados. Thank you for sharing the ARC with #bookposse!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    This book surprised me. I’m not a fan of YA or magical realism, and to say I enjoyed reading this book would be an understatement. Shakirah is a master storyteller and a talented writer - she is definitely amongst the most talented in the region, and I’m surprised it took me so long to engage with her work (thanks Rebel Women Lit). As a Caribbean person, it is always comforting to encounter elements of our folklore and culture on the pages of a novel, but I’m sure that readers outside of this co This book surprised me. I’m not a fan of YA or magical realism, and to say I enjoyed reading this book would be an understatement. Shakirah is a master storyteller and a talented writer - she is definitely amongst the most talented in the region, and I’m surprised it took me so long to engage with her work (thanks Rebel Women Lit). As a Caribbean person, it is always comforting to encounter elements of our folklore and culture on the pages of a novel, but I’m sure that readers outside of this context will also enjoy the references. I’m already looking forward to the sequel.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maëlla K.

    Great read! Caribbean folklore is used to create a compelling story. Josephine and Ahkai are definitely the kind of she/hero that younger generations will enjoy growing up with.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Vitalis

    Josephine is a fantastic, relatable character that had me laughing out loud during the first few pages. The story is heartfelt and gripping--I loved the many twists and turns!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens

    Josephine loves cricket, her dad, and her home in Barbados. What she does NOT love? The woman her Dad is currently dating. Because she's not human. Josephine loves cricket, her dad, and her home in Barbados. What she does NOT love? The woman her Dad is currently dating. Because she's not human.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Hottinger

    Josephine's mum "heart skipped a beat and never found rhythm again". Now Josephine protects her father as much as possible. Then Mariss appears and something is just not right. In the middle of a cricket game the ball seems to pause in the air...WHAT?! Dad seems to be under a spell...Could Mariss be a River Mumma? Loved reading this one while my students are studying mythology and writing their own. Shared some with my classes and they were immediately intrigued! Adding to my classroom library! R Josephine's mum "heart skipped a beat and never found rhythm again". Now Josephine protects her father as much as possible. Then Mariss appears and something is just not right. In the middle of a cricket game the ball seems to pause in the air...WHAT?! Dad seems to be under a spell...Could Mariss be a River Mumma? Loved reading this one while my students are studying mythology and writing their own. Shared some with my classes and they were immediately intrigued! Adding to my classroom library! Releases in July!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elle Weston

    I devoured this book in two days! So fun so uplifting and...can I just say it was refreshing to have a little troublemaker kid as the lead? Because Josephine needed a time out and I loved her for it. Spilling fish guts on her father's love interests and getting away with it because she's daddy's girl? Um...lets just say these girlfriends had a reason to be mad 😂. I am looking forward to book 2! I devoured this book in two days! So fun so uplifting and...can I just say it was refreshing to have a little troublemaker kid as the lead? Because Josephine needed a time out and I loved her for it. Spilling fish guts on her father's love interests and getting away with it because she's daddy's girl? Um...lets just say these girlfriends had a reason to be mad 😂. I am looking forward to book 2!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katie Reilley

    Thank you to the author and publisher for sharing an early copy with #bookexpedition. Set in Barbados, this Caribbean inspired story features 12 year old Josephine who loves two things: playing cricket and scaring away any possible love interests for her father. She plans to make her school’s cricket team so her daddy will be so busy attending her matches that he won’t have time to date. When Josephine’s plan doesn’t go as expected, she makes a wish on a powerful silk cotton tree that unleashes Thank you to the author and publisher for sharing an early copy with #bookexpedition. Set in Barbados, this Caribbean inspired story features 12 year old Josephine who loves two things: playing cricket and scaring away any possible love interests for her father. She plans to make her school’s cricket team so her daddy will be so busy attending her matches that he won’t have time to date. When Josephine’s plan doesn’t go as expected, she makes a wish on a powerful silk cotton tree that unleashes trouble beyond her wildest dreams. A beautiful woman named Mariss enters her daddy’s life, and this one doesn’t seem to scare off easily. Strange things start happening, and Josephine must figure out how to save her daddy from Mariss’s clutches before it’s too late! With the help of her neighbor and best friend Ahkai, Josephine yearns to learn who Mariss really is and what she’s after. Highly recommend this middle grade novel full of magic and Caribbean lore publishing in July.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I love this story! Josephine is fun and full of spunk! Full of Caribbean folklore, this one is has enough twists and turns to keep you racing to the end!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Josephine has a vision. It involves cricket, Daddy, and little else. So when women begin vying for Daddy’s attention, she is determined to make sure they quickly change their minds. And they do! Until one day, Mariss arrives on the scene. Mariss is not so easy to scare away, and she brings a few scary tricks of her own. But 11-year old Josephine does not back down from a challenge. This delightful Bajan middle grade story, inspired by Caribbean mythology, is sure to leave readers turning pages n Josephine has a vision. It involves cricket, Daddy, and little else. So when women begin vying for Daddy’s attention, she is determined to make sure they quickly change their minds. And they do! Until one day, Mariss arrives on the scene. Mariss is not so easy to scare away, and she brings a few scary tricks of her own. But 11-year old Josephine does not back down from a challenge. This delightful Bajan middle grade story, inspired by Caribbean mythology, is sure to leave readers turning pages nonstop.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Bhagan

    I haven't read any middle grade Caribbean fiction so this was new territory. That being said, the author did a fantastic job of sucking me into the protagonist's world. This novel would also translate well on the screen. Mariss was super intriguing too. I also like how seamlessly the author blended local folklore with the plot. It was also nice to read about bits and pieces of Bajan culture which seems very similar to Trini culture! I haven't read any middle grade Caribbean fiction so this was new territory. That being said, the author did a fantastic job of sucking me into the protagonist's world. This novel would also translate well on the screen. Mariss was super intriguing too. I also like how seamlessly the author blended local folklore with the plot. It was also nice to read about bits and pieces of Bajan culture which seems very similar to Trini culture!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    Wow! I DEVOURED this book! Thank you to Scholastic and Shakirah for sharing this middle grade fantasy with the LitReviewCrew. Of course, I was immediately drawn to the cover-the vibrant colors, the beautiful and fierce black girl, the hidden face in the sea foam. But the words were even more captivating! Folklore, mermaids, themes of finding yourself, acceptance, and grief. I had so many emotions the entire time and that ENDING WAS SUSPENSEFUL! I could not put this book down and recommend to all Wow! I DEVOURED this book! Thank you to Scholastic and Shakirah for sharing this middle grade fantasy with the LitReviewCrew. Of course, I was immediately drawn to the cover-the vibrant colors, the beautiful and fierce black girl, the hidden face in the sea foam. But the words were even more captivating! Folklore, mermaids, themes of finding yourself, acceptance, and grief. I had so many emotions the entire time and that ENDING WAS SUSPENSEFUL! I could not put this book down and recommend to all readers, especially those who love a good dark fantasy. I hope you love it too!

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