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A maimed owl and a sunken U-boat spark an inordinate amount of activism, romance and multigenerational family healing in this winsome melodrama. Out to observe a single rare snowy owl, high school beauty and passionate bird-watcher Mickey crashes her bicycle and goes sailing into the arms of soulful surfer-dude Shane. She joins his guerrilla campaign to prevent greedy developer Cole Landry from raising said U-boat from its resting place just off their local Rhode Island beach, where the underwater hulk churns up sublimely gnarly waves. Meanwhile, Mickey's struggling divorced mom, Neve, falls for hunky park ranger Tim, who has his own anguished reasons for revering the submarine. When the developer's son, Josh, bashes the owl with a log, Mickey, Shane and Neve take it to an ancient raptor healer, who, in an unsurprising coincidence, turns out to be Tim's estranged dad, Joe O'Casey, the commander of the navy ship that sank the U-boat. From this tangle of totems and relationships erupts a torrent of emotional catharsis and romantic rapture that salves the psychic scars of war. Yes, it's saccharine (" 'Love's what counts in this world... even for snowy owls' ") and soap-operatic, but Rice (Sandcastles) draws her cast of appealing characters sharply, from overexcitable teens to disarmingly deadbeat dads, and her significant storytelling skills are fully deployed. (Feb. 27)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Rhode Island teenager Mickey and her best friend, Jenna, have shared a love of bird watching, but now they are growing apart as Jenna becomes part of the cool crowd and Mickey clings to her love of nature. She also has to deal with the finality of her parents' divorce and her burgeoning feelings for an outcast surfer. When Mickey finds a snowy owl at Refuge Beach, she brings together her mother and the park ranger Tim O'Casey, a World War II hero and raptor expert. When the owl is injured, and the beach is threatened by a developer who is attempting to dig up a sunken U-boat that is a treasured part of the community's history, a bond forms between adults and teens as they try to save the owl and the refuge, and maybe even heal themselves. Once again Rice weaves together an involving tale of love, loss, and redemption, then deepens the story with a resonant appreciation for nature. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.