Summary: The death of Greg’s father inspires Greg and his mother to move from Toronto, Ontario to Deep Cove, Newfoundland, a place where Greg’s parents always wanted to live. Greg, a champion Laser sailor, ventures out into the Atlantic Ocean one day and finds a boat with three refugees from Southeast Asia on board. After some communication issues, Greg decides to help them out by offering to let them stay at his house till more permanent arrangements can be made. Fearful of being deported back to a country where death is guaranteed, Tamara and her parents agree, but all is not smooth sailing when an immigration officer comes to ask questions.
Number of Pages: 89
Age Range: 13-16
Review: This was a short and succinct book, but the story did not suffer from its brevity. Instead I found myself immediately hooked by Greg’s tale and the emotional journey he was on after having to face the death of his father. Choyce’s detail of making Greg a champion Laser sailor was an especially cool detail, because the Laser is a Canadian designed sailboat.
Feeling like a refugee in Newfoundland after his father’s death, Greg easily identifies with Tamara and her parents, refugees from Southeast Asia when he finds them in a boat off the coast of Newfoundland. Despite an initial incident with a knife, Greg manages to convince Tamara and her parents that he is on their side and is willing to help them make a life in Canada. Of course, his willingness partially stems from the fact that he is attracted to Tamara, but considering this is a teen novel that is not an odd detail. I liked Greg’s emotional connection to Tamara and her parents, and his offer to help may have been naïve, but it was refreshing.
Lesley Choyce lives in Nova Scotia so I am looking forward to reading more from him when I am done my Newfoundland journey. I would recommend this book specifically to reluctant readers, but this is a quick read that any teen will enjoy.
“I wanted to try to explain a lot of things just then. I wanted to paint a picture for her of the rugged coast of Newfoundland and tell her that you couldn’t just live in total isolation, even here.” – Greg from Refuge Cove by Lesley Choyce, page 25
“People who live in Newfoundland outports have a curious ability to ignore the rest of the world. On top of that, nothing seems to come as a shock to them. Nobody seemed to think it unusual that a refugee family from Southeast Asia had found its way by boat to Deep Cove and that they were living with a mother and son from Toronto.” – Greg from Refuge Cove by Lesley Choyce, page 46
“‘I mean they’ve lost something big in their lives, something important. They’re in a new place and cut off from the past. We’re refugees too, Mom. We’re a lot like they are.'” – Greg from Refuge Cove by Lesley Choyce, page 48
“‘Only so much luck to go around, though.’ Harold added. ‘I’ve seen it all. Some boys go straight down the first boat they sink. Others get away with it. But around here, in these waters, luck’s only good enough to save you once. When the second time comes around, you don’t stand a chance. The bloody sea remembers the first time and feels cheated.'” – Harold from Refuge Cove by Lesley Choyce, page 69