Review | A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow

Sure enough, the sea woman will come for what’s hers.

Ever since her mother’s death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as “mermaid’s tears,” that sparkle on the beaches of St. Rita. But when she discovers a different kind of treasure, she accidentally summons an actual mermaid—the wrathful Ophidia.

Ophidia makes Kela a bargain: her ancient comb, in exchange for a wish. And though Kela knows that what she wants most is her mother back, a wish that big will exact a dangerous price…

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I will reach for pretty much any book that incorporates mythology or aspects of different cultures, so as soon as I heard of this book I wanted to pick it up. I really enjoyed the writing style and the distinct perspectives the story is told from. I was immediately drawn into the story and loved the overall atmosphere of the book. I was even surprised by some darker moments, but loved the journey. The grief that was felt by Kela over the loss of her mother was genuine and a consistent theme throughout the book.

The world and culture portrayed felt vibrant and developed, giving a unique view at everyday life in the Caribbean as well as a deep dive into Caribbean folklore. All in all I felt this was a solid middle grade that will thrill readers with dynamic folklore elements as well as teach important lessons along the way.

Lisa Stringfellow writes middle grade fiction and has a not-so-secret fondness for fantasy with a dark twist. Growing up, she was a voracious reader, and books took her to places where her imagination could thrive. She writes for her twelve-year-old self, the kid waiting to be the brown-skinned hero of an adventure, off saving the world. Lisa’s work often reflects her West Indian and Black southern heritage. She received the inaugural Kweli Color of Children’s Literature Manuscript Award in 2019 for an earlier draft of A Comb of Wishes. Lisa is a middle-school teacher and lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with her children and two bossy cats.

A Comb of Wishes comes out on February 8th, so be sure to pick up a copy! Thanks again to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book.

Happy reading!

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