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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Harbor's Edge by Sanne Rothman is an imaginative, coming-of-age mystery/sleuth novel that is hard to ignore. If you like well-crafted stories of legendary mythical creatures grounded in realism and sensible scenarios and heroes, keep reading. This tale revolves around a 14-year-old girl named Harbor who tries to get to the bottom of her father's murder by using FBI profiling. It's also about the legend of the Mo'o, which are basically giant water lizards from long ago, and these are nasty creatures who want your soul. This is the perfect YA novel for fans who like accessible, smart characters that are human, and an ancient mystery wrapped in an investigation.
There are several high points of praise in this novel. First, Rothman's piercing attention to detail, her feel for setting, place, and time, and situations that are original and involve the reader. As the story unfolds, clues are left in each chapter that build the investigation toward the climax of the story, and the tension increases, along with a few surprising twists and turns. It's clear that the author knows her YA audience, but there are older readers who would enjoy this unique story as well. It isn't cookie-cutter and really stands out. The story isn't far out of reach for the average reader, even though it's centered on a mythical monster. You still feel a sense of the here-and-now, and the story is immediate. You find yourself investigating right along with Harbor because you want to solve the mystery of her dad's murder. You feel like you're a character in the story; not just a bystander. I also like that Rothman doesn't talk down to her young audience, and doesn't give everything away at once. Harbor's Edge by Sanne Rothman is an exciting, must-read YA novel for monster fans everywhere.