STARRED REVIEW
October 2019

The Last True Poets of the Sea

By Julia Drake
Review by
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The Larkins’ family history starts with a shipwreck off the coast of Maine in 1885. Fidelia Larkin, the only survivor of the sinking of the Lyric, persevered, founded the town of Lyric, Maine, married and started her family there. “Their love was our beginning” is Lyric’s unofficial slogan. 

Generations later, Fidelia’s descendants are adrift in wreckage of a different sort. Violet’s younger brother, Sam, has just tried to take his own life, and Violet’s parents have sent her to stay with her uncle in Lyric for the summer so they can focus on Sam’s recovery. Desperate to shed her own self-destructive tendencies, Violet shaves her head and tries to disappear. But she soon discovers that, although her disappearing act won’t help her brother, reviving their lifelong dream of finding the wreckage of the Lyric just might.

Debut novelist Julia Drake has drawn all her characters richly, easily enabling readers to identify with Violet, Sam and their struggles. The seaside setting is vividly evoked, and readers will feel fully transported to the small town of Lyric. Violet and Sam undergo dramatic transformations as they begin to heal, redefining both their identities and their relationship with each other. Their journey together is the novel’s greatest strength. 

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Drake’s enthralling debut doesn’t shy away from the big stuff. The Last True Poets of the Sea explores themes of identity, mental health, romance and family with grace and gravitas.

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The Last True Poets of the Sea

The Last True Poets of the Sea

By Julia Drake
Disney-Hyperion
ISBN 9781368048088

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