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All booksYoung adultThe Girl the Sea Gave Back
The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young
Young adult

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

by Adrienne Young

Quick take

The ultimate fantasy read. Get into Swedish mythology wrapped up with mysticism, magic, and epic war-torn romances.

Good to know

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Murder


Why I love it

Juliann Nelson
Content Producer, Fortune

My favorite moment in any book is when a character comes into her own and discovers her place in the world—something I think many of us continue to search for well past adolescence. So it’s no surprise that when I started reading The Girl the Sea Gave Back, I was drawn to Tova, the castaway seer at the heart of this book, who’s searching for a home to call her own.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back picks up ten years after the events of Sky in the Deep—Adrienne Young’s first novel—and follows two main characters: Halvard, a young man who grew up in peace and now leads his people through war, and Tova, a Truthtongue with the ability to read and interpret fates. When the Svell, Tova’s adoptive people, set their sights on war with the Nādhir, Halvard’s people, Tova must decide where her loyalties lie.

This book drew me in with its Nordic-inspired, magical setting, then kept me glued to the page with intense battle scenes and complex characters. But what I loved most was watching Tova grow from a placeless outcast into someone with a family and a home. Her story reminded me that you don’t have to be defined by where you came from or who you used to be, and I loved coming to that revelation alongside her. I recommend this novel for anyone looking for an atmospheric, action-packed read, with a touch of romance and fate-defying resilience.

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For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

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Check out a preview of The Girl the Sea Gave Back.

Member thoughts

All (570)
All (570)
Love (258)
Like (247)
Dislike (65)
595 ratings
  • 43% Love
  • 42% Like
  • 11% Dislike
  • Cleveland Heights, OH

    Strong characters in a strong culture of faith and fate. Establishing intricate story lines and winding and wrapping them around a main narrative kept the interest strong. Would love to see a sequel!!

  • Roswell, GA

    I loved it. Just make sure that you can really establish your characters early on, because it was sometimes hard to remember who was who. It was a bit of an onslaught of names right at the beginning!


    I loved this book it was exciting and well made I couldn't hardly put it down. I loved the characters and the setting would definitely read over and over. It would be amazing if it became a series.

  • Millersburg , OH

    This book was good, I liked the plot and thought it was well written. It is slow in some parts and kind of lost my attention a bit. But at the end it really sucked you in and made you want a sequel

  • Alexandria, VA

    I was drawn in from the start with Tova’s story and that of Halvard. Each taking their own turns narrating and with trips back to the past. You slowly saw how their lives where intertwined.

  • Barrington , RI

    I really liked the Norse/Celtic vibes to the book. I had a hard time connecting with Tova’s storyline and actually ended up enjoying Haalvard’s story better. I hope there is a second one!

  • Florence, AZ

    A beautifully written historical set novel. I would love to see her work her magic on an adult historical fiction novel as it would give her words more breath to spread out and take flight.

  • Napa, CA

    Immediately after I started reading this I said to my Fiancé "ever read a book and immediately wish there was a movie?" It's THAT good. Not that the movie would ever do it justice.

  • Chattanooga, TN

    A beautiful and strange fantasy set in a Nordic world, this book throws a lot of questions in the air at the beginning. The journey to find answers is riveting.

  • Peachtree City , GA

    Although I think her debut was stronger, I love the rich world that Adrienne Young creates. This book was a little bit mystical, and a lot exciting.

  • San Dimas, CA

    So glad I read Sky in the Deep, which is set in the same world, before this! Loved knowing more of the backstory, would completely recommend.

  • Nanuet, NY

    You will not be disappointed to follow Tova and Halvard as they work to find themselves and save - or make - a world ruled by peace, not war.

  • Seabrook, TX

    Absolutely lovely book! Kept you glued to the pages and wanting it to end while at the same time hoping it never would! Well done Adrienne!


    Love both of Young's novels--strong characters and a unique vikingish setting. I highly recommend you read Sky in the Deep before this one.

  • North Branch , MN

    I'm in love with the world the author has created! I’ve been struggling to finish books lately but I didn’t want to put this one down!

  • Asheville, NC

    It was really easy to get back into the action of this world. It was also full of excitement and adventure just like the last book!

  • Newark, OH

    Adrienne Young takes us back to a world where women don't need to be saved but that sometimes we all could use some help.

  • Columbia, MO

    A Viking adventure story about the importance of knowing where you come from and questions, "Can you change fate?"

  • Parkville , MD

    So intriguing! Loved the characters and the rich mythology. Super quick read I hope there are more to come!

  • Spokane , WA

    This was a great read! Loved seeing the main character overcome her captors and find her own strength.

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