West of the Sea (Hardcover)

West of the Sea By Stephanie Willing Cover Image
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(Kids Middle Grade)


Tae Keller meets Tracey Baptiste in a tale of generational trauma, told with a cryptozoological twist.

When her mom disappears from their small Texas town, paleontology-loving Haven is determined to find her. But as she uncovers truths about her mom’s identity, Haven also uncovers a monstrous family secret. Her mom can take the shape of a human and, in the right environment, also turn into an amphibious creature known as a kitskara. And now that she’s growing up, Haven is discovering she has this ability, too. This newfound identity is her only clue to help her track her mother and bring her back home.
And so she, her older sister Margie, and her new friend Rye set off on a road trip across Texas’s Gulf Coast to her late grandparents’ abandoned home, where they’re sure her mom has disappeared to…along with plenty of family secrets.
Infused with a deep love of fossils and Celtic mythology, West of the Sea is a lyrical, heart-filled coming-of-age story for fans of cryptozoology—and anyone who has struggled to find their place in the world when they feel different.

About the Author

Stephanie Willing is a writer and audiobook narrator who hasn’t been able to find good Tex-Mex food since she left her home state. She has an MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University. Originally from Texas, Stephanie now lives in New York City, and she never misses an opportunity to visit the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History.

Praise For…

Love for West of the Sea

* "Willing’s sparkling debut incorporates profound family dynamics, ghostly dinosaurs, a shape-shifting cryptid, and Celtic mythology, culminating in a suspenseful, innovative read."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Intriguing mythology with a prehistoric twist and an endearing family focus."—Kirkus Reviews

“Part road trip adventure, part family reckoning, Willing’s debut ambitiously approaches loss, mental illness, identity, neurodivergence, and adolescence and executes them with compassion and depth.”—Booklist

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593465578
ISBN-10: 0593465571
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 15th, 2023
Pages: 352
Language: English