The Aquamarine Surfboard - Reviews


The Aquamarine Surfboard
Kellye Abernathy

“Age never matters, these things are about bravery and heart.”

Thirteen-year-old Condi Bloom’s dream is to learn to surf, but her laid-back beach town isn’t what it used to be. Big resort owners are taking over the cove. Worse, someone’s harassing the Beachlings, the mysterious old women living in the cliffs off Windy Hollow, a lonely tower of rock that people say is haunted. When a new surfer boy named Trustin shows up in town and invites Condi to a forbidden surfing spot, she’s swept into an extraordinary underwater adventure, where a surprising encounter with Koan, the Riddlemaster of the Sea, changes her life. Along with Trustin, his quirky twin and a mystical aquamarine surfboard, Condi learns the untold stories of the Beachlings, uncovering the timeless secrets of Windy Hollow.

Ebbing and flowing between reality and magic, times past and present, The Aquamarine Surfboard by Kellye Abernathy is a riveting beach tale about opening up to mystery, building community when and where you can — and discovering the ocean is filled with magic—the really BIG kind—the kind that changes the world.

Tone - Theme - Imagery  - Vocabulary - Author's Craft - Literary Devices

Live your dreams! 


MUST HAVE - Dear Student by Elly Swartz


*Click to purchase! 

Dear Student by Elly Swartz - OUT February 15! 

After her best friend moves across the country, Autumn struggles to connect with her new classmates. The two potential friends she meets could not be more different: bold Logan who has big ideas and quiet Cooper who’s a bit mysterious. But Autumn has a dilemma: what do you do when the new friends you make don’t like each other? When Autumn is picked to be the secret voice of the Dear Student letters in the Hillview newspaper, she finds herself smack in the middle of a problem with her friends on opposite sides. But before Autumn can figure out what to do, the unthinkable happens. Her secret identity as Dear Student is threatened. Now, it’s time for Autumn to find her voice, her courage, and follow her heart, even when it’s divided.

When Elly reaches out and gets an ARC of her newest sent to me ASAP, I drop everything and read. Elly’s protagonists in all her stories have always been so relatable as an adult and for my students. Autumn in Dear Student was no different.
Autumn’s whole world recently was shook up. Her dad joined the Peace Corps and took off, making Autumn feel abandoned and unworthy. Because of this they had to move above her moms vet clinic and attend a new school this year. Autumn has a younger sister Pickle who she is very close with, always having to be brave in front of Pickle even if she doesn’t feel brave. Autumn finds herself making new friends, leading a secret column called Dear Student, and starting a protest for something she believes in. Things are going great, until it all comes tumbling down. Autumn doesn’t think she’s brave, she feels weak, but in times where it’s really needed - she finds the courage to use her voice.
I loved this. Such a great, quick read. The friendships are so dynamic. The writing is absolutely perfect for middle grade. Elly has mastered the MG tone. Another amazing, feel good story by my dear friend. I can’t wait to share Autumn with kids.


Just Harriet - Blog Tour!

 Just Harriet - Click to purchase!


From the award-winning author of A Boy Called Bat comes a new young middle grade series in the tradition of Ramona and Clementine, starring an unforgettable girl named Harriet.

There are a few things you should know about Harriet Wermer:

  • She just finished third grade.
  • She has a perfect cat named Matzo Ball.
  • She doesn’t always tell the truth.
  • She is very happy to be spending summer vacation away from home and her mom and dad and all the wonderful things she had been planning all year.

Okay, maybe that last one isn’t entirely the truth.

Of course, there’s nothing Harriet doesn’t like about Marble Island, the small island off the coast of California where her nanu runs a cozy little bed and breakfast. And nobody doesn’t love Moneypenny, Nanu’s old basset hound. But Harriet doesn’t like the fact that Dad made this decision without even asking her.

When Harriet arrives on Marble Island, however, she discovers that it’s full of surprises, and even a mystery. One that seems to involve her Dad, back when he was a young boy living on Marble Island. One that Harriet is absolutely going to solve. And that’s the truth.

What a great  read aloud option for 2/3/4 grade teachers! I love the idea of having classics (such as Ramona) be filled in with modern day characters. Just Harriet reminded me so much of the old Ramona books. Harriet matures in this story by learning from her mistakes - which allows for a lot of open conversation in the classroom with these grade levels! Harriet is very relatable and I can see a lot of character development lessons being built around her progression through this story. I also am such a sucker for the mystery element that is provided. 100% recommend for readers transitioning from chapter books to MG titles. 


Elana K. Arnold is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning young adult novels and children’s books, including the Printz Honor winner Damsel and the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of. Several of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have appeared on many best book lists, including the Amelia Bloomer Project, a catalog of feminist titles for young readers. Elana teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets. You can visit her online at


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