Blog Tour: GIRL. BOY. SEA. by Chris Vick

I received an ARC from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not impacted by opinions at all.

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Genre: Contemporary
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Standalone


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Storm, shipwreck, survival. Chris Vick’s novel delves deep into the might and majesty of the unpredictable ocean, the strength of an unlikely friendship between a British boy and a Berber girl and their will to survive against all the odds.

A young British boy called Bill narrowly survives the sinking of his yacht in a huge storm off the coast of Morocco. After many days alone at sea in a small boat he rescues another survivor, clinging for her life to a barrel. She is a girl called Aya, from the nomadic Berber tribe, whose migrant ship was destroyed by the same storm. Through endless days, a mere speck on the vast, empty sea – hungry, sunburned, and with no idea what will happen next – Aya recounts the tales of Shahrazad of the Arabian Nights, who told 1000 stories to quell the murderous desire of the Persian King. As hope of rescue begins to fade, from Aya’s tales of magic, brave heroes, wily thieves, greedy kings and cruel sultans, they find the strength they need to stay alive.

When they land on a desert island they’re confronted by a strange young man who is not what he seems… and back out on the waves once more in the dark deep, a shadow follows and waits…

Add this book to your Goodreads shelves here.


When I was younger, I was an avid reader of a certain type of adventure books, typified by Lauren St John’s DOLPHIN SONG. Naturally, part of me therefore wanted to have such adventures – shipwrecked, having to fend for myself on a desert island. There was a small part of my brain, the logical one, that knew this was madness – that I wouldn’t last a minute fending for myself.

This book brought that feeling back, but with far more certainty that being shipwrecked is anything but an adventure. It felt impeccably researched for how the two could survive enough to interact and have a hopeful tone, but feel in peril constantly.

Bill’s voice is very compelling, pulling you into the hopelessness, fear, and fatigue of being stranded, but balanced with the hope Aya’s stories bring.

At about a third of the way through, I was wondering if it was coming to the rescue, as Bill and Aya had progressed as far as they seemed possible given their ‘static’ boat environment. Then they reached the island.

This was the section I was least sure what to feel, how to react to the events and characters. I liked it, but I also didn’t know what to make of a certain character. I both liked and didn’t like the element of is he trustworthy? this brought in.

The ending was very abrupt, very unexpected. There’s still things left hanging, but enough is tied up to be satisfactory. It feels like it’s ended, with nothing tied up, and then there’s a quick resolution of a few major threads. It’s an interesting way of ending, and felt far more realistic than the overly optimistic ‘and they all lived happily ever after’. It certainly provokes a lot of questions.

The books as a whole is thought-provoking, about life and barriers and what people do to each other. I read this on holiday with my family, and we ended up discussing the Berbers (Aya’s people) and if there was a specific event that had inspired her backstory. (As a bonus, it’s a slim read – relatively easy, save for the pondering it prompts).

Read my reviews of other books by Chris Vick:


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