Port Winston, Texas—home to sun, sand, and shopping. What’s not to like? Everything, to 14 year-old Elizabeth Barker. It’s the middle of her 9th grade year and Dad's uprooted the family, returning to his Gulf coast hometown. A once-bustling fishing community, Port Winston is pushing every boundary, vying to be the state's premier tourist destination. A far cry from quiet, Coulter City, Missouri where Elizabeth used to be somebody and family meant something a whole lot different. Between Mom's story assignment in Mexico, Dad's 14-hour workdays and weekends minding Grandpa at the docks, their once close-knit life is in shreds. Taunted as the newbie camera geek at school, Elizabeth's given up trying to fit in.
When Grandpa, with more judgments than an Old Testament prophet, pronounces her 10¢ shy of worthless and headed for trouble, Elizabeth bolts for Wayward Landing beach—the county’s last wild haven. Her impulsive defense of an endangered, nesting sea turtle against a trio of bullies ignites new purpose, a challenging friendship, and troubles even Grandpa couldn’t predict. Her fight to save the Landing unearths complex family ties to the powerful developer and a long-buried tragedy that catapults Elizabeth against those she loves. When the Deepwater Horizon oil slick threatens the Louisiana coast and the turtles' feeding grounds, Elizabeth’s journalist mom hits the front lines. And Elizabeth’s fears and plans hit overdrive.
Elizabeth’s Landing: a compelling environmental and family saga, bridges risk and loss with hope and hearts—human to human, human to animal, human to world.
A portion of the book's profits supports worldwide sea turtle conservation and education programs.
2014 Nautilus Book Award-SILVER-YA Fiction; Mom's Choice Awards-GOLD-YA Fiction;
Former Executive Director of the Yolo County, CA Resource Conservation District, Katy Pye lives and writes on California's North Coast. Elizabeth’s Landing is her first novel. She was a board member for the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference (2009-'14), volunteers at the Point Cabrillo Light Station, and sings with the Threshold Choir. Camera in hand, her daily walks along the ocean or redwood forest trails provide inspiration and entertainment. Known to talk to local tree frogs, hummingbirds, turkeys, and sometimes coyotes, she is delighted when they talk back.
Katy's website and blog have more about sea turtles and young people making a difference in all sorts of ways.
A well told story about a 14 year old girl who finds a turtle egg nest on the beach, and fiercely fights to protect the turtles and their beach. A comfortable read, the story flows very nicely, the characters are very realistic. The research into the facts of the environmental issues is very well done, so read knowing that you will enjoy the story and learn something!
Would you have guessed that turtles have belly buttons? Would you think it possible that 40,000 turtles could return to a beach in Mexico to nest their eggs? Well, it's true!
Elizabeth Barker and her parents have relocated from their home in Coulter City, Missouri to Port Winston, Texas. The objective of the move, which Elizabeth despised, was to help out the grandparents, while mom is away on assignment. Elizabeth's escape from the scowls and bickering of her grandfather was when she rode her bike to the beach with her camera. Fortunately for her, she literally stumbled across a turtle, a Kemp Ridley, laying eggs in a large hole in an area known as Wayward Landing. In an attempt to save the nesting turtle from some rambunctious teens, she lands into a volunteer position at the Port Winston Marine Science Center.
Volunteering has proven to be very rewarding for Elizabeth. She is learning all things turtles, making new friends and having her photography utilized to help the center. Life felt good for once. She started to feel normal, that is until the turtles nesting ground could possibly be riddled with tourists. Developers are planning to build a fancy resort right where the turtles lay their eggs. Another storm that's brewing is at home. First it was grandpa and now there is tension between Elizabeth's mom and dad. By asking her parents for help will Elizabeth be able to pull the family together and help with a campaign to save the turtles?
Pye does an excellent job of not only creating a great teen coming of age story but also the value of showing readers that if you dream it you can do it and excel beyond the possibilities. Family and friendship are woven throughout the story which brings a warmth and emotion any reader could relate to. Likeable characters, including the turtles and the message of saving them and the planet are not over done. Readers will also learn fun facts about these amazing turtles and their plight. Katy's website and blog have more about sea turtles and young people making a difference in all sorts of ways. A portion of book sale profits support World Wide Sea Turtle Conservation and Education Programs.
Port Winston has a beach, shopping, and a pleasant atmosphere; but to teen Elizabeth, who's been moved mid-school year to Texas, it contains little of interest and much to avoid - including her judgmental, fisherman grandfather, who thinks she's nothing but trouble.
At first glance, Elizabeth might seem the last person to take an interest in endangered wildlife, but when she stumbles on an injured, nesting sea turtle, she finds new purpose and new conflicts as she fights to save the Landing, the turtles' critical nesting beach. It's one thing to fight against family, including its secrets: it's another to take on corporations and the results of the Deepwater Horizon's damaging oil slick.
It's rare to find an environmental story folded into a young adult read about a teen's angst and coming of age; but by incorporating the two under one cover, Elizabeth's Landing becomes so much more than the usual story of a moved teen's struggle to adjust. Bigger-picture thinking lends a social and political aspect to the story that succeeds in examining issues of a teen's power, awakening to the world around her, and movement from 'troublesome' to 'engaged'.
Add psychological insights and a first-person approach to understanding ("Thanks," I say, thrilled to hear terrific, perfect, and you in the same sentence.") and you have a moving story that succeeds on many levels. This award-winning book is recommended for middle school to high school audiences.
Katy Pye’s novel Elizabeth’s Landing is a delightful read and joins the ranks of Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot for the young reader genre. The story is told from the perspective of a 14-year-old girl, and while it will capture the younger generation in details, the story is not too juvenile for adult readers. Elizabeth’s father moved her and her mother to the same town as her ailing grandfather and shortly thereafter Elizabeth’s mother takes an important job opportunity in a third-world country. Elizabeth feels abandoned and lost, until she stumbles on “Sunny” an aptly named sea turtle. As we follow 14-year-old Elizabeth as she dabbles with a sour relationship with her grumpy grandfather, adjusting to life in a new town and the incredible finding of an injured sea turtle, we become immersed in the captivating story of the nearly distinct sea-turtles, and the conflicting views of those who earn their living on shrimp boats, often cited as the culprit for their near extinction. Those who appreciate stories of sea-life, and enjoy well written family stories involving emotional conflict will draw life lessons from this beautiful tale of a little girl at the beach.
The author weaved everything together really well. It may be a weird thing to say, but I really felt the passage of time, which is not something I often notice in a book (I liked it). I did think that Elizabeth was a little naive/younger than her 14 years would imply, but maybe I'm superimposing my 14-year-old self onto her. All the turtle stuff was great. It's nice to read an environmental novel that doesn't shove its message down your throat or come off as annoyingly hippie.
I loved this book. Elizabeth's Landing has the pace and quality of relationships with people, place and situations that kept me reading as I was moved to laughter and tears and an openhearted recognition of Elizabeth's complexity of courage and confusion that comes with being a young teen in a new situation. This book has a high heart, smarts and enjoyment quotient.
Great read! With two young-adult daughters, I have read many books intended for the "youth' audience. This one captures the imagination with a wonderful story that explores how even small efforts (or young voices)can help make a difference.