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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.

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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.

Why I love it

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 N?dhir, 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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Member ratings (913)

  • Marion H.

    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!!

  • Maeve O.

    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!

  • Hayley S.

    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

  • Michelle R.


    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.

  • Sarah B.

    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.