Journey's End, by Rachel Hawkins

The moment I hear of Journey's End, by Rachel Hawkins (G.P. Putnam, MG, October 2016) back in the early fall of 2016, I knew I wanted to read it--what with time travel, Scotland, magical fog, and written by an author whose YA books I have found extremely entertaining.  But it just missed the cutoff for the Cybils Awards that year, and as an Elementary/Middle Grade speculative fiction panelist, I had to focus on what was nominated.  But read it I did, eventually, and so when the Cybils rolled around again, I made sure that it made it onto the list.

Here's why I like it--

I find the set-up very relatable.  An American girl, Nolie, is spending the summer with her scientist father in an isolated coastal village in Scotland, Journey's End.  He's there to study the mysterious fog bank, know as the Boundary, that hovers just off shore.  Nolie is faced with that all too real tension of "will I make a friend," and happily she does, with a local girl, Bel, who is facing the all too real tension of "my best friend ditched me when a cool new girl moved to town."

The mysterious fog bank is cool as all get out.  It has its origins in a great wrong done to a young woman centuries ago.  It swallows people up.  And has started to creep closer to land....

Not only is the fog spooky, but is has also just spit out a boy it swallowed up back in the early 20th century, a boy who Nolie and Bel find and try to help.  The future is strange to young Albert, and it's fun to see how his abrupt transition plays out.

The two girls solve the mystery of the fog, and thwart its advance, in a believably way, with plenty of good emotional tension.  The Boundary is kept at bay when the lighthouse on the island it enshourds is lit.  Arthur was lost when he tried to relight it back in 1918, and now it has gone out again.  If it isn't relight, the danger is very real for Journey's End and it's people.  But the only way to relight it is to go inside....

So it's both a fun friendship story and a creepy adventure mystery, with a bonus helping of an entertaining time travel plot, and another bonus of a ghost-hunting plot (ghost hunting being Nolie's hobby, and the circumstances giving her plenty to work with).  I found it tremendously appealing, and others who like their fantasy rooted in reality but richly magical will probably agree!

Kirkus agrees with me, and goes into more detail about the plot (thank you Kirkus.)


  1. I really like the cover of Journey's End and the inclusion of a scientist father and of course the friendship aspects. Any story where a fog spits out a boy from the 20th century and there's ghost-hunting sounds interesting to me.

  2. The cover is beautiful and your description of the story makes me want to read this one. Thanks for the post.


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