Book Review: The Turn of the Tide by Rosanne Parry

tide3.75 out of 5 stars

My son had a birthday recently and our local book store always sends him a coupon to come in a shop for a new book. He loves it, so on our most recent trip in I noticed my book stack getting smaller and decided to pick up a few new books too. I love kids fiction and wanted to find some new books that we not only would read together, but also things my son would also like to read (this trip he went straight to the Lego books, which are awesome and he reads back to front). The lady at the store who was helping me pointed me toward a book called “The Turn of the Tide” which she happened to have written. I read the description and decided this was right up our alley.

The Turn of the Tide by Rosanne Parry takes place in Astoria, Oregon home to one of the most dangerous ports in the world – the Columbia River Bar. This is the place where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean and was deemed “the Graveyard of the Pacific” as early as the 1800s due to the shifting and shallow sand bar, narrow entrance and extremely foul weather.

Jet Ellstrom’s dad is a Bar Pilot and she dreams of being a Bar Pilot when she grows up. She is learning to sail in the boat her dad and uncle learned in and makes a mistake.

Meanwhile, her cousin, Kai, who lives in Japan and is half Japanese has just survived a massive earthquake and tsunami, however he looses his grandparents in the tragedy. He is sent to America to live with Jet and her family until his parents can find a new home and help solve the problems at work, a nuclear power plant near their home town. Kai made a mistake during the tsunami which weighs heavily on his conscious while he tries to adjust to the American way of life and the loud and boisterous family he is living with.

As Jet and Kai get used to each other, they decide they want to enter the Treasure Island Race and win it to redeem themselves. They feel this will make up for the mistakes they have made and send them both home with their heads raised high.

Both kids are learning about growing up, taking responsibility for their actions, changing friendships, learning to trust each other and learning to love themselves while overcoming their obstacles.

I loved several things about this book:

  1. The multi-cultural aspect was fantastic. Learning about how Kai’s culture is different from that of his cousin and how they both had to adapt in order to bond was fantastic. There is give and take and you can see each of the characters grow throughout the book.
  2. The social aspect of these 2 kids who are in middle school and how things are shifting for them and their friends. I was a “late bloomer” and could relate to Jet not being as into boys as her friends, yet wanting her best friend, Beck, who is a boy to still be there even though he was becoming friends with another kid. This is hard stuff to go through and I love how everyone could relate to it in this story. Kids reading this will be able to see themselves in these characters.
  3. I love that the main character is a strong female who knows exactly where she wants to go. That is totally amazing and her drive is inspirational. I love that her dad helps her with her dreams too yet interjects reality.
  4. I love that Kai is more surprising than we first guess. I will leave it at that and let you read!
  5. Being from Oregon and having visited Astoria, I was able to recognize several scenes described. It is so much fun being able to read about places you are familiar with.

This is a great mid-level reader and I would recommend 3rd grade and up. They shouldn’t have too much of an issue with reading this – chapters are on the shorter side, language is relatively simple, and fonts are on the larger side so it moves along quickly.

My son has been wanting me to finish so he can start reading the book. We are currently in the middle of reading another book together and he has finished reading his Lego book and was itching for something new. I know he will really like this! I think your kids will too!


I wanted to show a little bit of what bar pilots do. This is something we have learned about on our family trips to Astoria and they are critical to our livelihoods here in Oregon. Their jobs are incredibly dangerous and while these videos show very calm seas, many of the days do not look like this.

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