Secrets of Topsea: A Friendly Town That’s Almost Always by the Ocean! by Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats
Expected Release: April 17th 2018
Welcome to Topsea, the strangest place you’ll ever visit. In this town, the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There’s a high tide and a low tide… and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the main ingredient in every meal-watch out, it might just start chewing you back!
New kid Davy definitely thinks Topsea is strange. His mom keeps saying they’ll get used to life in their new town-it’s just the way things are on the coast! But after his first day at Topsea School, Davy finds himself wondering: Why is his locker all the way at the bottom of the school swimming pool? Why can’t anyone remember his name? (It’s Davy!) And why does everyone act like all of this is normal?!
Through newspaper articles, stories, surveys, notifications, and more, follow Davy and the rest of Ms. Grimalkin’s fifth grade class through the weird world of Topsea. (Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact with the rubber ducks.)
A BIG Thank You to Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing me an advanced reader copy of “A Friendly Town That’s Almost Always by the Ocean!” by Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats in exchange for my honest review.
Am I the only one who had mixed feelings about this book? I am seeing quite a lot of five star reviews out there for “Secrets of Topsea”, and the only term that comes to my mind for summing up this book is “meh”.
Don’t get me wrong. I love reading strange, bizarre books, particularly directed towards middle grade/YA that keeps you wondering on what’s going to happen next. This shows how creative the author is, and how far they will go out of the book to keep your attention to the story. This book had so many strange story arcs that included mermaids, trolls and other quirky things to make it a memorable read. However, somewhere along the line, I started losing interest towards what was happening.
The main problem I had with this book was there was no plot or consistency. It is just random events that happen to Davy and his friends. I feel like the overall plot of the story was for Davy to adjust and come to terms with being accepted at Topsea, so it would have made sense for the author to just focus on his bizarre interactions with each of his friends. Instead, we get a separate stories of Talise looking at tide pools, and Quincy’s questions being stolen, that doesn’t have anything to do with Davy at all! Having said that, I did enjoy some of these small story arcs that didn’t have anything to do with the main character, like when Finn meets Billy under the boardwalk, or when Finn gets stuck in the chewing gum wall and Runa saves him. But again, looking back, these just seemed like fillers for the author to add on to the book to cover for the weak plot.
The illustrations by Rachel Sanson are cute and whimsical and compliment to the storylines. I also liked how each chapter begins or ends with snippets from the school newspaper or the survey Davy fills out.
I am sensing that this is not a standalone, but the first book in the series, from how the author has ended it. Maybe in the follow up we would get more answers as to what happened to the ice cream man and the Water Park. Hopefully, they author will make the story more consistent and interesting in book 2.
Overall, this was an average read that I would easily forget.