What the Waves Know: Book summary and reviews of What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine

What the Waves Know

by Tamara Valentine

What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2016
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A compelling debut novel about a young woman's quest to find herself - and her voice - on the island where she lost both.

The tiny state of Rhode Island is home to even tinier Tillings Island - which witnessed the biggest event of Izabella Rae Haywood's life. For it was there, on Iz's sixth birthday, that her father left...and took her voice with him.

Eight years later in the summer of 1974, Iz's mother is through with social workers, psychiatrists and her daughter's silence. In one last attempt to return Iz's voice, the motley pair board the ferry to Tillings in hopes that the journey will help Izabella heal herself by piecing together splintered memories of the day her words fled.

But heartbreak is a difficult puzzle to solve, and everyone in Tillings seems to know something Iz does not. Worse, each has an opinion about Izabella's dreamer of a father, the undercurrents of whose actions have spun so many lives off course.

Now, as the island's annual Yemayá festival prepares to celebrate the ties that bind mothers to children, lovers to each other, and humankind to the sea, Izabella must unravel the tangled threads of her own history and reclaim a voice gone silent…or risk losing herself - and any chance she may have for a future - to the past.

What the Waves Know is a moving, magical novel that asks us to consider the stories which tell the truth and the stories we tell ourselves.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"With the sass of Fannie Flagg and the subtle magic of Alice Hoffman, this short but powerful book should find readers of many generations." - Booklist

"Valentine's debut is a well-written, charming book. She writes gracefully about loss and sadness and how time and good people can help to heal the wounds of a hurting child." - Library Journal

"A novel rich in mythology and childhood secrets... This dreamy coming-of-age mystery unfolds in tantalizing waves with keen insight and lush prose." - Kirkus

"Valentine's debut novel is a beautiful tale of loss, love and the fortitude of the human spirit." (Romantic Times Bookclub, 4 stars)

"What the Waves Know is a beautiful, elegant book that dives deep into the heart of childhood, memory and voice. Izabella, our silent protagonist, will surely stay with you for a very long time, as if she were someone you once knew and loved." - Jessica Anya Blau, national bestselling author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties

"In this journey of trauma and healing, the walking wounded repair their lives together, their voices shaping a rough chorus that calls us back from darkness to light." - USA Today bestselling author Pamela Schoenewaldt

"With poignant language and compelling characters, Tamara Valentine explores voice and silence, creativity and madness, imagination and memory, and the mysteries that imbue our world and our minds. In so doing, Valentine reminds us that to be fully human is to be both a story teller and a story dweller." - Christina Meldrum, author of Madapple and Amaryllis in Blueberry

"What the Waves Know is a marvelous novel that creates a sense of place so specific you can practically taste the salt spray on the windswept New England beaches." - New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Mary McNear

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Tamm y Garcia

A Warm Coming-of-Age Story
Izabella hasn't spoken a word in eight years since her father disappeared into the night after she screams at him to go away. This is the tale of the struggles of growing up with a parent wrestling with mental illness --- a journey about the fortitude of the human spirit and the embracing healing nature of love.

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Tamara Valentine was born in rural upstate New York where she spent much of her time deep in the northern wood astride a horse in search of hidden worlds; in college, she found them instead in the bitten up wood of a pencil and an old journal. With a deep awe of the power of stories, their transformative and healing nature, she obtained a B.A. in English with a concentration in Communications in 1991 and an M.A. with distinction from Middlebury College Bread Loaf School of English in 2000 where she made her first attempt at crafting a novel.

For the past fourteen years, Tamara has held the position of Professor of English at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island where she teaches an array of advanced writing, literature, and communication courses. During her years of writing, she has contributed to Parent's Paper Magazine, Stillwater, The Maze, Teacher as Writer, and publications for the New England Association of Teacher's of English, as well as select biographies and articles for the former Goosewing Press. Presently, Tamara lives in Kingston, Rhode Island with her husband and three children where they spend their free time as accomplished beach bums - not far from where she began as a child - still seeking hidden worlds.

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