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Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley

I actually read this book a couple years ago, but it happens to be one of my favorites--so, here I am, reviewing it!

Book Description: Gwen, 17, has returned to a small beach community seven years after the scandal that forced her family to flee. Now she's spending the summer working at her grandmother's inn and hoping to put the past behind her. The very first morning she's there, however, she meets Jesse, a boy who claims he already knows her, and knows what happened all those years ago. Overcome by her attraction to him, Gwen spends more and more time with him and realizes that he has secrets he isn't telling her. Her grandmother's tales of selkies foreshadow what is to come, and readers will probably guess the outcome long before Gwen does. If they can get past the sentimental title that belies the real story, the romance and mystery will keep them reading until the very end. Expect this to be popular where retold myths and fairy tales are in demand.  (Amazon.com)

One of the reasons I stumbled upon this book is because I was in search of a good story about selkies.  Selkies are one of the lesser-known mythological creatures out there, but definitely more fascinating than many.  Seal-to-human shapeshifters, they actually shed their sealskins to go from one form to another.  They're also, as Gwen points out to a couple of tourists, pathologically beautiful and seductive.  (But without the whole dead thing vampires have going on.)

Jesse, the hero of Seven Tears, definitely has these traits going for him.  But at the same time, Terri Farley gives him a strangely naive, childlike personality--as if he hopes that everything will work out, but is wise enough to know otherwise.  He's definitely not the arrogant bad boy you see in most romantic fantasy stories today, though he's no weakling, either.  Jesse is different, and I love that Farley marked him as one of a kind in her book.  This is why Gwen is originally drawn to him. He doesn't care--or even know, really--about our society's way of life.

Gwen's an endearing heroine, being pretty practical and independent for a girl who is falling for a selkie.  Although I think that the "incident" of seven years before--which, though not really that terrible, sounds like it is--could have resonated more with her, she's definitely not an idiot.  She's a girl falling in love with the impossible, but not stupidly. 

Seven Tears is written for a teenage audience, and it, like Stephenie Meyer's books, is pretty chaste, considering the YA books we see today.  There's kissing, and plenty of passion, but it doesn't go in-depth--and it definitely doesn't make you feel like you're reading a cheesey romance novel.  The side characters of Gwen's grandmother and Zach are interesting as well, though I think that Zach's ending in the story could have been more specific.  The book is well-written, and has a bittersweet, but believable, ending.  My mother read this book, and loved it just as much as I did, so don't let the teenage label stop you from trying it out.  This definitely isn't Farley's "Phantom Stallion" series, and it shows that she has the chops to carry off something better.

Recommended buy for fantasy and romance lovers.

Rating: Four and a half out of five stars.

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