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What the Waves Know    by Tamara Valentine Amazon.com order for
What the Waves Know
by Tamara Valentine
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2016 (2016)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine is one of those books that come along and take the reader by surprise. The fact that it is a debut novel is the initial surprise. From first page to last, writing talent absolutely drips from the novel. I found myself re-reading analogies to simply grasp the beauty of the thoughts.

The story, as well as the pre-story, takes place on tiny Tillings Island off the coast of Rhode Island. Eight years prior to the time we meet Izabella Rae Haywood, Iza's father left his wife and daughter and that daughter, on her sixth birthday, lost her voice! From her father's departure until eight years later, Iza has not uttered a sound. She grieves daily for the father she adored.

Iza's mother made the rounds of social workers and psychiatrists with no positive results. Iza still did not speak. She is brought to Tillings in hopes that memories will coax a sound from her. This is the place where her voice stopped. Maybe memories will start it up again.

Iza falls into the spirit of the island meeting people, joining in activities, helping tourists find their way, working on the ferry that runs to the mainland and back. She communicates by paper and pencil. As she falls into the routine of the island, she senses that there are things that she doesn't know, things that might help her to reconcile to her father's absence. What the Waves Know is a true gem of a book.

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