A Crack in the Sea

by H. M. Bouwman

Other authorsYuko Shimizu (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2019


Checked out
Due 17 Sep 2020



Puffin Books (2019), Edition: Reprint, 384 pages


An enchanting historical fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Thanhha Lai's Newbery Honor-winning Inside Out and Back Again   No one comes to the Second World on purpose. The doorway between worlds opens only when least expected. The Raft King is desperate to change that by finding the doorway that will finally take him and the people of Raftworld back home. To do it, he needs Pip, a young boy with an incredible gift--he can speak to fish; and the Raft King is not above kidnapping to get what he wants. Pip's sister Kinchen, though, is determined to rescue her brother and foil the Raft King's plans.   This is but the first of three extraordinary stories that collide on the high seas of the Second World. The second story takes us back to the beginning: Venus and Swimmer are twins captured aboard a slave ship bound for Jamaica in 1781. They save themselves and others from a life of enslavement with a risky, magical plan--one that leads them from the shark-infested waters of the first world to the second. Pip and Kinchen will hear all about them before their own story is said and done. So will Thanh and his sister Sang, who we meet in 1978 on a small boat as they try to escape post-war Vietnam. But after a storm and a pirate attack, they're not sure they'll ever see shore again. What brings these three sets of siblings together on an adventure of a lifetime is a little magic, helpful sea monsters and that very special portal, A Crack in the Sea.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member melaniehope
This was such an incredible and original story. Perfect for middle school and up. The story begins in the second world. Pip is a young boy with a gift for being able to talk to fish. Kinchen is his older sister. When Pip is kidnapped by the Raft King, Kinchen along with another young girl begin a search for Pip. We learn that there is a first world (the one we live in) but at certain times when there is a storm or maelstrom, a door will open up in the ocean that leads to the second world.

What was so great about the book was that it was not always told in perfect order. Some chapters are stories of the past that explain how things came to be. The author also weaves in real stories of history and then transforms them in the second world with magic.
… (more)
LibraryThing member JanesList
Sigh. Ok, so, my main problem is that this is a book about nonwhite people written by someone who is white, and I kinda felt that. The world building and characters were definitely interesting, although I wasn't completely sure what the ultimate plot was about. I was initially really happy to discover a YA book with nonwhite characters, and the wonderful illustrations made that clear, even if you'd breezed over the descriptions. And I was over-the-moon to have a character who was face-blind. But the afterward talked about how this book was based on historical events (about enslaved Africans and Vietnamese refugees) and how maybe if we could envision something better happening - albeit only through magic and a gate to another world - we could help make a better world now (no idea how). Although I enjoyed reading (although was slightly puzzled by) this book, in the end it seemed like this was a white person's desire to give - almost as a gift - a better outcome for nonwhite people suffering horrific events in history.… (more)


Original language


Physical description

384 p.; 5.13 inches


0399545212 / 9780399545214


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