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3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  895 Ratings  ·  154 Reviews
When high-school senior Noah Gallagher and his adopted teenage sister, Lo, go to live with their grandmother in her island cottage for the summer, they don’t expect much in the way of adventure. Noah has landed a marine biology internship, and Lo wants to draw and paint, perhaps even to vanquish her struggles with bulimia. But then things take a dramatic turn for them both ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 16, 2013 Liviania rated it really liked it
I have a secret fondness for selkies. They aren't deadly, like some mythological creatures, and they're most well known for being kidnapped and stuck with horrible men, which is not a great fate. But there's something about the folklore that resonates with me.

The two young people at the center of TIDES are Noah and Mara. Noah is working as an intern at the Marine Science Research his last summer before college and living with his grandmother (the lighthouse keeper) and younger sister (who needed
Lottie Eve
Jun 25, 2013 Lottie Eve rated it it was amazing
Upon finishing Tides, my breath was taken away. I am still having trouble coming up with sentences that will actually do this novel justice. Cornwell beautifully captures the salt water waves of the ocean, the magical, fantasy beings called selkies, the ties that bind a family, and love. Tides is a book that feels as real as it feels dreamy.

One of the many noteable qualities of the contents of Tides is the perfect melding of everyday life and fantasy. Cornwell takes time with the problems of the
the golden witch.
4.5/5 stars!

Selkies. They're quickly becoming the new mermaids of the YA paranormal world, and I'm happy to see that happen. Two books alone this month ("Ashes on the Waves" being the second, along with this one) are being pubbed with selkies as major characters, and I couldn't be happier. "Tides" is a gorgeous story filled with not only magical realism, but also tough stuff issues that aren't couched in their usual terrible filling of bullying, suicide, or other such destructive behaviors, but
This YA novel feels a bit at odds with itself. The age of the main characters with Noah nearly in college, and his sister, Lo, in high school seems like this is targeted toward the older end of the YA market, but the simple writing style and cover art makes this feel more appropriate for the younger end of the market. And it’s a story about selkies - changeling seals who can trade their seal shapes for human ones (but at a risk!), which is initially what caught my attention. In second grade (I t ...more
Sarah Porter
Aug 19, 2012 Sarah Porter rated it it was amazing
I got to read this early. It's very sweet and moving with lovely writing, and it made me cry at least three times!
Siavahda ★
Oh, wow. This is so gorgeous! I don't even know where to start!

Tides manages to be perfectly on the line between dreamy and beautifully realistic. It's more than the subject matter - the incredible selkies! - it's the way Cornwell uses language; poetic and ever so slightly magical. I would have devoured this book for the writing alone! But there was so much more to keep me occupied.

Like the characters. Oh good lord, the cast! I'm so glad Cornwell switched between the POVs of a good handful of th
Oct 02, 2013 Aisha rated it it was amazing
I never heard about this book before i saw it at Barnes & Noble.
I bought it for two reasons.

1. Betsy Cornwell is a new author. So I bought it to support new authors (everyone should break out of their comfort zone every onece in a while and stray from the path of mainstream writers).

2. I picked up this book soley on cover appeal.
The cover is this gorgeous shade of shiny green, and girl swimming with the seal sparked my curiosity. (One of the prettiest books on my shelf)

Thankfully, this book
Jun 02, 2013 Akoss rated it really liked it
Tides is a quiet book filled with secrets, Selkie folklore, love and a hint of magic.
Unfortunately for someone who is used to stories starting with a lot of drama or action this one was a bit slow to start. However the secrets woven into the pages and characters kept me from putting it down. Somewhere around chapter eight things started to heat up.
The writing took some getting used to but it wasn't a deal breaker. The sentences were often long and sometimes the dialogue was a bit wordy but once
Bittersweet and Magical: A Review of Tides by Betsy Cornwell Soon-to-be college student Noah Gallagher expects a boring summer with his sister and grandmother and working a marine biology internship. Then he meets Mara, who’s beautiful, mysterious and shares a chemistry like never before, only to find out she’s a selkie like those in his grandmother’s tales. Soon, Noah embarks on a quest to save Mara’s kidnapped selkie sister.TIDES isn’t the most exciting or quick-paced book, but it’s definitely ...more
Alice Kaltman
Jan 11, 2014 Alice Kaltman rated it it was amazing
Simply put, Tides is a beautiful book. But it is far, far from a simple book. It is a complex and ingeniously crafted gem that blends magical realism and topical issues in a deft and fluid manner. Finely drawn characters grapple with self discovery, commitment and true love. They are, everyone of them, flawed and loveable, be they selkie or human. Cornwell knows how to write about adoption, eating disorders, prejudice, same sex love, and abuse without heavy handedness. Her ingenious description ...more
Nov 09, 2014 Kaleyjewel rated it it was amazing
Lemme just tell you. I saw this book online on the website tumblr and loved the book cover and the concept, and added the author. I was given the opportunity to read her book in exchange for an honest review and here it is:

This book is unlike anything I have read for many reasons. This book doesn't just follow on the story for young love, but old love as well, which I am a huge intergenerational fan of this! The subject of bulimia is not a pretty subject to discuss, but it presents its in this b
Janie Johnson
Jun 23, 2015 Janie Johnson rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-challenge
I need a quick easy read after struggling with a couple of books prior. So this one seemed to be what I needed with a completely different concept, that being Selkie Folklore. The plot was not like any book I had ever read before which was what drew me to it. But sadly the book was just ok for me and also a bit predictable as well.

In this book we have Noah and his adopted sister Lo, who go to visit there Grandmother in her island cottage since Noah has a marine biology internship there to keep h
Apr 02, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it
From my review at Greg's Book Haven.

Tides by Betsy Cornwell is the story of Noah Gallagher and his sister Lo who are coming to the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of New Hampshire, to stay with their grandmother for the summer. Noah has taken an internship at the local marine research center, and Lo has been struggling with bulimia and is basically coming for a change of scenery and hopefully a new start. Their grandmother lives alone on the island althoug
Eden Church
Apr 04, 2015 Eden Church rated it really liked it
Think there's no diversity in YA? This book will prove you wrong. Sick of vampire epics, but still want an epic love story? This book is for you. Enjoy a side of sobs with your YA? This book is for you. Don't know what a Selkie is? Read this book and find out!

I had the pleasure of reading this book for a Children's Literature course last summer, though it technically falls under the category of YA. I was very refreshed. Cornwell writes with a certain je-ne-sais-quoi, and readers immediately have
Jun 07, 2013 Alison rated it it was amazing
Tides is a really quick read (at least for me I read it in about two days). It is a really innovative blend of traditional selkie folklore and contemporary teen life/issues. I didn't know anything about selkies before reading this book, but am definitely intrigued now!
The Holy Terror
Kind of unsure as to how to review this one. It was really dark and heavy in some places, but also seemed like it was written for middle readers in others. I'll have to think on this one a bit more.
May 14, 2014 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

(Find the original review and more at Jellyfish Reads.)

This book is so enchanting and lovely and a real breath of fresh air in the realm of YA fantasy.

The thing that really makes it stand out? Noah's grandmother, Gemm, features quite heavily in this story, and she's good friends with a woman called Maebh – and you very quickly find out that the two women are romantically involved. I loved the relationship between Gemm and Maebh! I mean, how often do you see an elderly same-sex couple in YA? Neve
Jun 20, 2014 Valerie rated it liked it
3.5 Stars!

MERMAIDS, SELKIES, FOLKLORE! This was supposed to be everything I wanted in a story. I have been on the search for such books, but it seems like I have yet to stumble across an amazing one. Although Tides met my expectations, I felt that something was missing in the storyline. However, it's still a pretty good read! I'm sure this is one of the first books I've read that discusses both bulimia and bisexuality.

The story of Tides revolves around the idea of selkies and their seal skins. B
I had never heard of selkies until I picked up this book. Whilst reading the description, I thought it was going to be either about mermaids or sirens. I was pleasantly incorrect. The myth of selkies was probably more magical, mysterious, and heart breaking than any mermaid or siren myths I have read or come across.

What I liked...Everything. I mean I really really really really loved this book. Really. This is officially going onto my favorites shelf because I honestly loved every single thing a
Apr 08, 2014 Sherlyn rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on Mermaid With A Book.

3.5 stars.

I first heard of the term selkies at age 11 when I read Half-Human , a short story compilation by Bruce Coville. Selkies have also surfaced in Karen Amanda Hooper's Sea Monster Memoirs series, which is mainly about mermaids. However, I'd never read a novel solely about selkies until Tides came along.

Now, that isn't the only reason why Tides is such a unique novel to me. It starts off quietly, softly dealing with tough issues lik
Jan 10, 2014 Hilary rated it really liked it
Without their seal skins, selkies become trapped in their human forms, in thrall to the person who has captured their pelts. In “Tides” a pod of selkies fears to morph into seals, and hasn’t for nearly a decade, because someone inexplicably kidnapped the younglings the last time the pod met to celebrate their ability to change.

Noah and Lo are spending the summer on the New England coast. Noah has a marine biology internship and hopes a change of scenery will be good for his bulimic sister, Lo.
Jan 04, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book full of magic and wonder. It is the perfect combination of my two favorite kinds of books which are magical and realistic fiction. This book captures the imagination of the reader but also represents a lot of real life obstacles such as Lo's brother going away to collage and Noah worrying about Lo's bulimia. Not to mention true love! I appreciated the love presented in Noah and lows grandmothers even more than Noah's and mara's! It was so nice read about same sex love being in s ...more
Apr 09, 2016 Hannah rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
I picked this up because I needed something by a local author for a book challenge. It's a YA urban fantasy romance from back when mermaids were trying to be the new vampires.

The book was better than I expected because I was expecting manatee selkies and the high school student who saves the day by doing all the science ever, but I was pleasantly surprised to find competent writing and a high school student whose marine biology internship dreams were crushed by filing for 3 months straight.

This book was incredible. I've experienced some burnout from YA recently, but this little book reminds me of why I like YA in general. Noah and Lo are siblings, and they are spending the summer with their grandmother that they rarely get to see (this might be the weakest part of the book, how quickly they form a strong relationship to what is mostly a stranger).

They meet her partner Maebh, and then Noah meets a mysterious girl called Mara. What follows is a tangling of loves and loyalties, and
Feb 23, 2015 Alexandra rated it it was amazing

Wow. Tides is hands down one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. The characters are real – almost painfully real, when it comes to my favorite, Lo – and my stomach was in knots as I read parts of the plot. Maebh’s story is gorgeous – I’d recommend reading it for that alone.

But what really stole my heart was the prose. Betsy Cornwell’s skill with words is pure magic. She turns New Hampshire into a world as full of fairy tales and lore as Grimm’s forests, and transforms even the water into
Dec 30, 2014 Steph rated it liked it
Reading Cornwell's novel, Tides, was a refreshing change to my usual University-level readings! I found it to be appealing for a few reasons, despite being older than its intended audience: first and foremost, I love fantasy and have been waiting for someone to give some love to selkie folklore, which is what initially drew me to it. Secondly, there were several subtle instances that I haven't known to be explored in YA books, like the casual lesbian relationship between two older characters, fe ...more
Sep 04, 2014 Jessica rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was a loan from a friend and I read it on vacation to Ireland - which was perfect. The book doesn't take place in Ireland but it has an old world feel and a connection to the green isle.

Selkies are fairly popular I guess but this is the first novel I've read about them. I grew up watching The Secret of Roan Inish and imagining selkies in my free time. Maybe because of that I haven't read much about selkies but I'm so glad I read this book.

Cornwell creates a beautiful worl
Oct 24, 2014 Rozalynd rated it liked it
Tides is a heartfelt, lyrically written first novel that shows great intensity in dealing with a number of topics, including the legend of the selkies, which is treated in quite a unique way. Noah and his sister Lo are staying with their grandmother Gemm for the summer on an island off the coast of New England. Noah is there because he has always loved the ocean and longs to know its secrets, and has received what he thinks is a dream internship at the Marine Science Research Center on a nearby ...more
I found out about Tides from the Gay YA master list for books with bisexual characters - in this case, Dolores, who was once married to Noah and Lo's grandfather, but now lives with her selkie sweetheart, Maebh. I like how Cornwell draws a parallel between Dolores' experiences and classic selkie folklore.

The ending - no spoilers - felt a bit too easily accomplished; I'll just say that it's one of those situations where the adults too easily allow the kids to confront a dangerous situation all b
C.B. Lee
Mar 17, 2015 C.B. Lee rated it really liked it
Set on a series of picturesque New England islands, Tides weaves together multiple narratives for a rich and compelling story. The teenage protagonists are likeable and their struggles are relatable, from the ambitious aspiring marine biologist Noah, and Mara facing her responsibilities as the future leader of her selkie pod. Cornwell brings to life a vivid portrayal of selkie mythology, and the romance between Gemm, Noah's grandmother, and selkie Maebh was a fantastic portrayal of elderly queer ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Dec 30, 2015 03:21PM  
}~>O MERBOOKS: T...: Tides - Betsy Cromwell 7 41 Aug 08, 2013 06:08PM  
  • Brianna on the Brink
  • Underneath
  • The Twice Lost (Lost Voices, #3)
  • Triangles (Bermuda Triangle, #1)
  • Me, Him, Them, & It
  • The Art of Wishing (The Art of Wishing, #1)
  • Vengeance Bound
  • All Our Pretty Songs (Metamorphoses, #1)
  • Bruised
  • Deep Betrayal (Lies Beneath, #2)
  • Fins
  • Revel
  • Ashes on the Waves
  • Furious
  • One (One Universe, #1)
  • Tempest Revealed (Tempest, #3)
  • Seven Tears Into the Sea
  • Riptide
I wrote my first novel, TIDES, as a student at Smith College. After graduating from Smith and getting an MFA from Notre Dame, I moved to Ireland to live with the fairies.

TIDES was published by Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2013 and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly as well as a place on the Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year list and a Bisexual Book Awards n
More about Betsy Cornwell...

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“It's the colors that will make you stray. They sing to you, the not-blue and the searing light, and no matter how tightly you tie yourself to the inbetween, eventually you will break free.
No one swims only in the shallow water.”
“But unlike sirens, selkies don't mean any harm with their songs. They don't sing to seduce or to kill. Their songs have nothing to do with anyone but themselves. They sing for the simple joy of it, and because of that, I imagine their songs are more beautiful than those of any siren.” 5 likes
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