Kirkus Reviews: Best of 2011
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Selected for the ABC Best Books for Children Catalog
A lush and intelligent opener for a topical eco-fantasy series.--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
In the first of the Dissenters series, Cara's mother has disappeared. Her father isn't talking about it. Her big brother Max is hiding behind his iPod, and her genius little brother Jackson is busy studying the creatures he collects from the beach. But when a watery specter begins to haunt the family's Cape Cod home, Cara and her brothers realize that their scientist mother may not be who they thought she was--and that the world has much stranger, much older inhabitants than they had imagined.
With help from Cara's best friend Hayley, the three embark on a quest that will lead them from the Cape's hidden, ancient places to a shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. They're soon on the front lines of an ancient battle between good and evil, with the terrifying "pouring man" close on their heels.
Packed with memorable characters and thrilling imagery, Lydia Millet weaves a page-turning adventure even as she brings the seaside world of Cape Cod to magical life. The first in a series of books about the Sykes children, The Fires Beneath the Sea is a rip-cracking middle-grade novel that will make perfect beach reading--for readers of any age
"An intriguing mix of everyday activities and the otherworldly, The Fires Beneath the Sea
pulls readers in. Cara is a likable character who has been put in the uncomfortable position of trying to save her family and help her mother with a mission way beyond the ability of most tweens. Her bravery and fierce love will cause readers to long for her to succeed. A well-done beginning, with some riveting moments and frightening escapes, to what should prove to be a popular series."--School Library Journal
"A thoughtful and thought-provoking beginning to a new fantasy series. The Cape Cod woods, wildlife, and beaches are depicted with loving detail, and the dark forces arrayed against the young protagonists are at once tantalizingly mystifying and alarmingly timely."--Patricia McKillip
"Lydia Millet knows the sea like a selkie. The Fires Beneath the Sea smells of salt and tastes of mist, and that beauty speaks as strongly as its story of peril and hope for the future of our fragile world."--Kathe Koja, author of Talk