Gr 8 Up-Misskaella Prout, the baby of the family, was born on a craggy, seal-covered island, when "there were no looks left for Prout girls." She is resentful of the boys who can't see past her lumpish form, and when she discovers she has a magical ability to cause human figures to step out of the bodies of seals, she calls forth a lover and finds herself with child. Over the years, she draws forth beautiful black-haired women, bought for a dear price by island men eager for wives. Now known as a witch, she can afford to buy the biggest house on the island, but finds herself no closer to happiness. The seal coats are hidden away, trapping the selkies in human form, where they create discontented families and bear half-enchanted sons. The story follows several generations, primarily those of Misskaella (who ages very slowly) and the Mallett family. When several sons unite to steal back the seal coats, the mams weave seaweed blankets and wrap their sons, so all can transform into seals together, leaving the human men behind. The men are not all bad, and one of them wonders occasionally why the women don't take a bit more charge of their own fate. Lanagan's writing is undeniably gorgeous. Her phrases and pacing almost demand that readers stop and admire their beauty. Many high school readers may not be ready to look past a plot of lumpen, unpopular misfits, and dark choices wrongly made. Encourage them to read for the richness of the language, and they may find the plot will grow on them. A natural audience would be readers who enjoyed the literary qualities of Christina Meldrum's Madapple (Knopf, 2008), Franny Billingsley's Chime (Dial, 2010), and E. Annie Proulx's The Shipping News (Scribner, 1999).-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Best of Children's Books 2012
Kirkus Reviews Best of Teen's Books 2012
Tor.com, September 1, 2012:
"I've not been more moved by a book in years...It’s a wistful book, but wondrous. It will break your heart, and remake it.”
Starred Review, Booklist, June 1, 2012:
"A haunting, masterfully crafted novel that, as one should by now expect from Lanagan, isn’t a bit like anything else."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2012:
"Bracing, powerful, resonant. . . . Earthy, vigorous characters and prose ground the narrative in the world we know, yet its themes are deep as the sea."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, July 2, 2012:
"Powerful. . . . A beautifully written story featuring a thoroughly realized setting and cast."
Starred Review, The Horn Book, September/October 2012:
"Lanagan’s world is busily, passionately alive. Seal, human, sea, sky, and the rocks themselves animate this powerful story, a blend of folk tale and pungent, sharply observed—or invented—regionality."
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September 2012:
"Like Lanagan’s previous Tender Morsels, this eerie, evocative story breathes mesmerizing life into familiar fairy-tale constructs as it explores issues of power, agency, culpability, freedom, and love within a deceptively quiet atmosphere of intimate horror."
School Library Journal, September 2012:
"Lanagan’s writing is undeniably gorgeous. Her phrases and pacing almost demand that readers stop and admire their beauty...A natural audience would be readers who enjoyed the literary qualities of Christina Meldrum’s Madapple, Franny Billingsley’s Chime, and E. Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News."
"I am in thrall to Margo Lanagan's voice. This is a marvelous book, full of magic and cunning." ―Kelly Link, award-winning author of Stranger Things Happen, and founder of Small Beer Press
"Margo Lanagan's writing is dangerously beautiful; it knows how to dance, and it knows how to fight." ―Mal Peet, winner of the Carnegie Medal for Tamar
"A brilliantly written and fascinating novel from the weird but wonderful mind of Margo Lanagan." ―Garth Nix, bestselling author of the Old Kingdom Chronicles
"Breathtaking. Margo Lanagan raises the bar with every story she tells." ―Melina Marchetta, winner of the Printz Award for Jellicoe Road
Not your average young adult novel. For one thing, this is not an action packed, plot driven novel. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Saja
Lanagan introduces readers to an updated version of the ancient Scottish Selkies in her magical fairytale-like novel.
From a young age, Misskaella had never known love. Read more
Misskaella was marked a witch from a young age, and she drifts aimless and unhappy through life as the men and women of Rollrock Island do their best to avoid her. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Molly the Librarian
It draws you in until all you hear is crushing waves and braying sea gulls. A little gem of a story.Published 11 months ago by Catriona
One of the best books of 2012, The Brides of Rollrock Island takes (as two other great novels from 2012 did: The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Tudor Ciocarlie
This lovely book (alternative title Sea Hearts if you live outside the USA) captures snapshots of well-drawn characters in typical Lanagan style. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Satima Flavell
This was a bit of a slow starter for me. I think part of the issue was when I was trying to read (at bedtime when I was tired). Read morePublished 14 months ago by Barbarino
I did not know quite what to expect from this book. Some websites identify it as YA, but though it's not a very long book I would not call it that at all. Read morePublished 22 months ago by A Reader
Caveat: Was a book club selection & would not be a book I woul generally purchase. It's a short YAF which makes for a quick read, & it's easy to empathize with the main character.Published on June 22, 2013 by Jj