FICTION

Cygnet

Harper. Jun. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9780062870919. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062870933. F
COPY ISBN
DEBUT Butler’s first novel is aptly named. Lead character Kid has been stranded on Swan Island, located on New Hampshire’s coast, while waiting for her hippie, drug-addled parents to return. Her youthful presence threatens “the Swans,” the community of separatist elders who have isolated themselves by moving from the Bad Place, their name for the mainland. After her grandmother’s death, Kid’s loneliness and melancholy intensify. She grows increasingly desperate to find where she can go and to whom she can turn. The rising seas that daily erode the boundaries of Kid’s residence signify the novel’s most central theme and are evidence of the looming consequences of climate change.
VERDICT Brimming with powerful and sometimes raw emotions, occasional glimmers of hope, and solid descriptive writing and character development, Butler’s debut intertwines multiple themes to create a thoughtful coming-of-age story and a young adult’s pursuit for adventure in a new locale and the eventual face-to-face dance with mortality, not just the elderly. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 12/3/18.]

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