Diane Tullson. Red Sea. Orca, 2005. ISBN 978-1551433318 176 pp. $
Libby has been ripped from her social scene (think Jen from Dawson’s Creek: beer bash + older boyfriend = caught in flagrante delicto) to spend the year sailing with her mother and stepfather Duncan. While restocking and waiting for favorable weather at Djibouti (a French territory in East Africa), Libby purposely lags behind on the morning of their departure, causing their boat to miss the launch of the flotilla. Alone in the Red Sea, they are attacked by modern day pirate who ravage the ship, murder Duncan and shoot her mother. The 14-year-old girl is left with little food, no medicine, no radio, no GPS, and bullet hole riddled sails–and a storm is on the way. Luckily, Libby has been well-trained in sailing, and her survival instincts are strong.
The action is speedy and the sea ever-changing and ferocious enough to fear for our strong heroine. The loss of Duncan allows Libby to finally let herself love this man who was so central to her mother’s life, without deteriorating into a sappy eulogy. There is beauty in small details, such as Libby’s remembrance that her stepfather taught her to tie sailor knots using black licorice. The writing is vivid and exciting, and the pacing makes this a one-sitting book–impossible to put down. The appealing crimson cover will stand out on public and school library shelves