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FF6666: orphan going offroad towards home

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The Extremely High Tide!: 01/19/19

The Extremely High Tide!

The Extremely High Tide! by Kir Fox and and M. Shelley Coats is the second book in the Secrets of Topsea series. Like the first one, A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean!, this book reads like a Welcome to Night Vale plot that's set in a seaside town (possibly an island) and written for middle graders.

Davy and his school mates discover that Topsea is due to get hit by an "extremely high tide" but the town's agency that's in charge of putting out that sort of warning denies that there is an impending doom until literally the day of the event. Meanwhile, the lighthouse keeper who has been missing is suddenly back and is using the lighthouse to send possible warnings that no one can decipher.

This book reminds me most of the Old Oak Doors plot in Night Vale. Except here, instead of doors that lead to places outside the reality of Night Vale, there are messages in bottles with drawings of different types of boats. Talise, who loves to go diving, takes these drawings as a sign that she needs to build a boat— and not just any type of boat, but an amalgam of the pictures she finds.

Although no one actually leaves Topsea, the road and more broadly, travel is highlighted through the wordplay of the text. The book places higher in the spectrum than the first, coming in at a 66FF66 (marginalized utopia offroad)

placement of the two books on the spectrum

As the majority of travel is done collectively by the children of Topsea, the traveler for this novel is marginalized. Marginalized travelers due to the added potential danger or the added number of obstacles in their way have more at stake. They have to take more chances and those changes can have a greater pay-off.

The destination and the route are the same as the first book, namely, utopia and offroad. Utopia because Topsea is an unreal place with unreal rules. Or rules that only make sense in the wordplay logic. The methods of travel in this book involve by sea and overland, thus offroad.

As of posting this review, I don't know if a third book is planned. I hope there is one or more in the works. If this series continues, I predict that in a future volume, Davy Jones will be so used to living at Topsea that he'll be able to rise the role of orphan traveler to save Topsea from a future event. However in a third volume, it would make sense for a scarecrow or minotaur to feature — possible a person made by one of the children?

Five stars

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