I admit that I am a fast reader, but even I surprised myself by starting and finishing Lauren Wolk’s new book in one day. If it was just the story of 12-year-old Crow wondering who her parents were, it would have been good, but not one day good. What made this book one day good was the mystery, adventure and suspense imbedded in this story of identity and family.

All Crow knows about her origin is what her father figure Osh tells her. One night she was sent adrift from a neighboring island in a not so substantial skiff. She washed up on Osh’s shore, and with the help of Miss Maggie, an island local, he has been caring for her ever since.

Crow lives alone with Osh on one of the Elizabeth islands off the coast of Massachusetts during the 1920s. Cuttyhunk is the closest island to them with a proper town. Further in the distance is the island of Penikese, which evokes mystery and fear in the townspeople. Penikese is the former home of a leper colony, and many rumors of pirate treasure surround the island. Afraid that she may have come from the leper colony, the townspeople do not treat Crow well. She is not allowed to touch the  library’s  books, attend school with the other children or do business at the post office for fear that, even after all these years, she may be contagious.

One night after seeing a fire on the shores of Penikese, Crow decides she must learn whether or not she really did come from the leper colony, and who her parents might be.  What unfolds when Crow sets out on her quest becomes a dangerous  adventure where the emotional stakes are high. Beyond the Bright Sun is a tender yet suspenseful tale featuring an intrepid young female character.

Recommended for grades 3-8