Author: Erica George
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Historical, Romance
Publishing Date: May 25, 2021
This modern summer romance set on Cape Cod features two young adult poets divided by centuries.
Michaela Dunn, living on present day Cape Cod, dreams of getting into an art school, something her family just doesn’t understand. When her stepfather refuses to fund a trip for a poetry workshop, Michaela finds the answer in a local contest searching for a poet to write the dedication plaque for a statue honoring Captain Benjamin Churchill, a whaler who died at sea 100 years ago.
She struggles to understand why her town venerates Churchill, an almost mythical figure whose name adorns the school team and various tourist traps. When she discovers the 1862 diary of Leta Townsend, however, she gets a glimpse of Churchill that she didn’t quite anticipate. In 1862, Leta Townsend writes poetry under the name Benjamin Churchill, a boy who left for sea to hunt whales. Leta is astonished when Captain Churchill returns after his rumored death. She quickly falls for him. But is she falling for the actual captain or the boy she constructed in her imagination?
The moment I read the synopsis for Words Composed of Sea and Sky, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
In the present, Michaela Dunn dreams of attending Winslow College to pursue poetry and when they bring out a five-day workshop for poetry, she couldn’t be happier to apply- but her stepdad refuses because its too expensive. Of course, that won’t stop Michaela so she decides to enter a poetry contest where the winner would win a cash prize and have their poem engraved on a statue of Captain Benjamin Churchill. Churchill is a mystery and no one knows much about him except that he got lost at sea in 1861. Until Michaela finds a diary.
In the past, 1862, Leta Townsend just like everyone else has accepted that Benjamin is gone, disappeared at sea, never to be seen again. In a time where women weren’t given much of a voice, or be allowed to work, Leta writes poetry under Benjamin’s name since she would have an easier time being recognized under a man’s name and Benjamin’s never coming back. Until he does. Months later, Ben is back and he’s nothing like Leta had expected him to be but she still loves him. And at the same time, she also has to marry her best friend, Elijah Pearce.
We know Leta doesn’t end up with Benjamin because the cute classmate helping Michaela with this little project? He’s Finn Pearce, Leta’s descendant. So what did happen all those years ago? Why didn’t Leta end up with Benjamin if she loved him? What changed? (You’ll have to read it to find out!)
There was so much I loved about this book. There’s the whole mystery of finding out what happened all those years ago, seeing the story parallel of the present, in Michaela’s POV and the past, in Leta’s POV. Seeing how everything played out through her eyes. I loved the characters, they weren’t the usual YA characters where they’re whiney and annoying. I genuinely loved Michaela (and Leta, of course.) Leta was such a badass. Living in a time where women were so oppressed, not allowed to work or do anything, and their only job is meant to be raising kids and taking care of houses, Leta refused to stand for it, unlike most of the women of those times who most likely just accepted their life, so she starts poetry under Ben’s name.
The writing was beautiful. It had a lyrical feel to it which truly made you FEEL the story as it played out. It made you feel for the characters and laugh with them when they laugh, cry when they cry, you get my drift. This book makes you never want to put it down. You want to keep reading and I know for a fact I read this book in one sitting oops. I just had to know MORE. Know what happened. Know how things turn out for Michaela. How the things that turned out for Leta actually happened.
This book was the perfect mix between the Contemporary and the Historical. The romance wasn’t overdone or underdone, it was just perfect and it’s a definite recommend. *chef’s kiss*
About the Author
Erica George is a writer of young adult fiction. She is a graduate of The College of New Jersey with degrees in both English and Education and is currently an MFA student at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She resides in scenic northern New Jersey, but spends her summers soaking up the salty sea air on Cape Cod.
Many themes in Erica’s writing rotate around environmental activism and helping young people find their voice. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring river towns, whale watching, or engrossed in quality British drama with her dog at her side.
This tour was hosted by Favorite Pages Book Club and you can find the full tour here.
What’s your favorite book where the story alternates between the present and the past? (The narrator could be different or the same.)