Saltwater secrets

Cindy Callaghan

Book - 2020

Half-sisters Stella and Josie love spending summers together at the beach, but things are harder this year, especially when new business owners exploit the natural habitat, endangering marine life and people, as well.

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New York : Aladdin 2020.
First Aladdin hardcover/paperback edition
Physical Description
275 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Cindy Callaghan (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Stella and Josie are half sisters who only get to see each other during summer vacation at the Jersey Shore, where they hide their special scrapbook under the boardwalk. This summer, however, Stella is more interested in boys and bonfires, while Josie wants to protest the smoothie store that replaced their beloved flavored-ice shop. When the girls—using powers of deduction and Josie's interest in marine biology—discover that the structural integrity of the pier is becoming unstable due to illegal dumping that appears connected to the smoothie shop's "secret" ingredient, they concoct a plan to save the boardwalk. Callaghan (Lost in Paris, 2015) tells a story that is part mystery, part family drama, with chapter narration alternating between the two sisters as they chronicle their actions at the boardwalk through an interrogation by the local police. Readers will easily relate to both sisters and be excited by a possible sequel. Grades 4-7. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–6—Each summer, half sisters Josie and Stella spend several weeks with their father at the New Jersey shore. Since the girls live with their mothers on opposite sides of the world (Josie in Australia, Stella in New York City), it's the only time they get to see each other. It has always been a special time, and the girls put mementos from their adventures in a box that they hide in the sand under the boardwalk. This summer, however, something has changed. Stella wants to do different things, and Josie passionately boycotts the new Smoothie Factory, which replaced Water Ice World. Next, they discover someone has stolen their box of memories, and when Josie suggests starting a new one, Stella only half-heartedly agrees. Then, what's different suddenly becomes more nefarious as the girls (along with their friends) become entangled in a web of sinister actions that could endanger both humans and sea life at Whalehead Beach. The cast of characters features blended families, and the environmental story line is both relevant and timely. Callaghan creates great suspense by having each chapter alternate between the recent past (within a month) and the present, where Stella and Josie are being interviewed by a police detective. VERDICT This fast-moving story will appeal to young teen and tween readers who enjoy books with an oceanside theme, and its spirited heroines will resonate with those who dream of making a difference in the world.—Anne Jung-Mathews, Plymouth State University, NH Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Half-sisters Stella and Josie love spending summers together at the beach, but things are harder this year, especially when new business owners exploit the natural habitat, endangering marine life and people, as well.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Spending every summer on the boardwalk with the half-sister who lives in Australia, Stella is disappointed by her half-sister’s transformation into a popularity-minded teen before becoming involved in an effort to prevent local overdevelopment. By the author of Just Add Magic. 10,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From the acclaimed author of Just Add Magic'now a hit streaming original series'comes a story of two sisters, one summer vacation, and one big mystery for them to solve.Stella and Josie live for their summers at the boardwalk'each one a carbon copy of the last. Josie lives in Australia most of the year; her half-sister, Stella, lives in New Jersey. But every year, they come together for a beach vacation with their dad, and to make more memories. The real excitement for them is their secret special place under the boardwalk, where they hide their sister scrapbook, adding memories from each summer.But this summer feels different. Josie isn't the same'she's turned into one of the popular girls that Stella can't stand. Despite the rocky start to their vacation, they still go to their secret, special place under the boardwalk, adding memories to their sister scrapbook once again.That is, until their place is discovered by the owners of the newest store'the Smoothie Factory, which replaced Josie's favorite sweet spot. Not only have the owners of the Smoothie Factory discovered the cove, they are exploiting the natural habitat, and endangering marine life and everyone at the beach! It's up to Josie and Stella to figure out how to stop their beloved boardwalk from disappearing for good.