Book Tour: The Aquamarine Surfboard



Middle Grade / Magical Realism / Fantasy
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: November 22, 2021 *** 290 pages

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A Person Sitting on a Surfboard

“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.


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Written for upper middle school/young adult readers, The Aquamarine Surfboard offers realism, as well as a magical adventure tale. Thirteen-year-old Condi lives with her grandmother in a yellow cottage high on a hill and enviously watches the rich kids surf every day.

Condi wants nothing more than to join them, but her grandmother can’t afford to pay for lessons or buy a surfboard. Grand Ella struggles to make ends meet with revenue from her art shop in town and fees from the morning beach yoga classes. (BTW, I’d love to do yoga on a beach.)

Most of the story takes place in a real world with wonderful characters such as the old ladies who live in caves high on the cliffs – the Beachlings they’re called as a group – and the kind man who owns the surfboard store, as well as Condi’s grandmother. The way Grand Ella treats Condi with patience and encouragement as the girl deals with the loss of her parents, is so touching. Every young person dealing with a trauma needs a Grand Ella.

Then there’s Trustin and his twin sister, who are just a little different, and when Trustin takes Condi under the sea on a magical experience of being able to breath underwater, she has more doubts as to whether he is really human. She hopes he is, despite the confusion in her mind, because there’s no confusion about how much she is starting to care for him as, hopefully, a real boyfriend. Her very first!

This is the first book I’ve read that blends realism with magic, and the author pulled the two together seamlessly. The descriptions were also done with a deft hand, and the scenes came alive on the page. I could picture the cliffs, with the old ladies coming out of their caves to greet each day, and see the waves with the surfers riding the crest to shore. And I shared the characters’ anxiety as the impending hurricane came closer and closer, and the world seemed to hold it’s breath.

It was a pleasure to see how Abernathy wove the magic between the issues of young love, bullying, discrimination, and the need to fit it. Those real-life issues are ones that are too often faced by teens, and those young readers will find a lot of comfort, wisdom, and enjoyment in reading The Aquamarine Surfboard. And I must say that this older reader found a lot of wisdom and enjoyment in the read.

Kellye Abernathy’s passions are writing and serving trauma survivors as a yoga teacher and practical life skills advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Kansas. Her home is in land-locked Plano, Texas—where she’s dreaming of her next trip to the sea!

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Three winners receive signed copies of the book!
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 12/16/22)




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6 thoughts on “Book Tour: The Aquamarine Surfboard”

    1. Thanks for stopping by Christena. Grand Ella and The Beachlings sure had a lot of wisdom to share in the story. And don’t you just love a grandmother who is called “Grand”?

  1. Terrific review! I have read several really good middle grade magical realism stories and have found that sub-genre is now a favorite of mine. I cannot wait to read this book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Glad you liked the review, and I think you will really like this story. Especially since you are already a fan of the sub-genre.

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