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Book Review: Ingo

by Helen Dunmore

The sea calls to Sapphy, a call that seems to say that the sea is in her blood and the sea is where she belongs. It calls to her brother Conor, too, and it may have called her father. Is that why her father disappeared a year ago? Sapphy has lived near the sea all her life, but when she meets one of the Mer, a boy named Faro, her life is changed. She begins to understand the voice of the sea, and the pull is so strong that she finds it difficult to resist. It pulls her away from her home and family. But when the sea and the air come into conflict, Sapphy and Conor must make a choice about where they belong and where their loyalties lie.

Ingo is a lovely and poignant book about choices. The choices we make affect not only our destiny but the lives of those around us, and sometimes, to gain one thing, we must lose another. The story is told from Sapphy’s point of view, which gives the reader an intimate connection to the difficult choices Sapphy must make. The characters are well developed, and the writing is vivid, especially in the beautiful underwater scenes. Helen Dunmore is especially skilled in making the reader feel what the characters feel: the pain of losing a father, the longing for the sea, and the anger at unexpected changes. This is a book that draws you into its depths and lingers after you turn the last page.

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