• Author: Shakirah Bourne
  • Debut
  • Genre: MG Contemporary Fantasy
  • Background-Bajan
  • IG-@shakirahwrites; Twitter-@shakirahwrites
  • Release Date: 7/6/2021 (Iz out now *cues airhorns*)
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • Favorite Character-Issa tie between Ahkai & Josephine! They are one of the best best friend duos I’ve had the pleasure of reading and are equally hilarious for different reasons!
  • Favorite Quote(s)“I don’t have a job. How can I pay for a whole window?”-Josephine. When she said that, I howled because of the way I heard it said in my mind! I also feel like I’ve asked something like this as a kid (Like Josephine, I had a smart mout’ & still do, lol).
How I think Josephine looked when she asked that question, lol

From the moment I saw Josephine Against The Sea, I knew…I just KNEW that it was going to be a book that I would love and you know what… I was right (Clearly, because this post exists)! When I got an E-ARC, I was so excited but then I had a hard time getting it to download (I even tried asking for help in my IG stories like it was ask Jeeves, lol)…I lamented over this for a little while then ran into Shakirah’s DMs about this. Thankfully, she hooked a sista up! So real quick, Shout outs to Shakirah’s publicist who sent me an early finished copy (Shakirah told me she was on it but I didn’t think it was going to be as fast as it was, her publicist is a Real One)!

This was how I felt when I got the response back then when I received my copy

When I tell y’all I ate this book up, I was done with it the day after I started it. It was so engaging and funny that I really didn’t want to put it down (adulting made me put it down, ugh)! I laughed so hard that my eyes just wouldn’t stop leaking with all the shenanigans that Josephine was up to. When she included her best friend Ahkai, it was even better because of how they played off of one another. I imagined that Josephine was me when her dad would bring a potential love interest in and all the nonsense I pulled when my mom would bring someone new around. I’m going to talk a little bit more about that in a second doe. First, I just need to speak a little bit about the mythology………

When you know Josephine was plotting…light-weight, my face too, lol

*Groans in utter happiness* The way that Shakirah wrote in the mythologies was just brilliant! I LOVEDDDDDDDD how rooted in Caribbean mythology this book is! Despite being a child of Caribbean Parents (West Indian Massiveeeeee), they really didn’t indulge me in the legends of their Islands for some reason. So when I come across books like JATS and The Jumbies Series (by Tracey Baptiste), I just eat them up. There was mention of different types of mythologies/folklore throughout the book that I knew a little about but still have to learn about. There wasn’t direct interaction with some of these mythologies but it cracked the doors a bit to possible adventures with those stories later down the line (Dear Gawd, I really hope there will be). I’m not going to be specific as to which mythology is heavily explored because it is a big component of the plot of the book but Shakirah was brilliant in how she layered & built to the discovery! Josephine was like a West Indian Inspector Gadget Nancy Drew at times & I adored that about her! I love any and every opportunity to read different types of mythologies (my love for books like The Last Fallen Star & CeCe Rios And The Desert Of Souls make that glaringly apparent and they both have sequels coming out, just so you know) but when the stories are directly connected to my own heritage, it makes it extra special. And truly, JATS is a special book; I felt it when I saw the cover and then when I finally got to read it. I couldn’t help but rave about it to a family I work with and quite a few other people because I felt it was just that good! Seriously y’all, come for the mythology and stay for the shenanigans!

We sure do!

I know said I would speak about Josephine’s shenanigans and I have to uphold my promise. From her opening statement,It’s 4:58 pm and Daddy still isn’t back from his date. I should have never allowed him to leave home.” I was like “oh this is going to be goooood” and I wasn’t let down in the least bit. Josephine is one for pranks and she tends to include her best friend, Ahkai, who is *often* a willing participant. When he isn’t convinced, he will question Josephine & it’s hilarious. If I was one for pranks as a kid, I feel like I would’ve been right in line with what Josephine was throwing down (I would’ve her helped for sure)… I was more of the ice-them-out-until-they-can’t-handle-the-cold-anymore type when my parents (they’re divorced) brought new potential partners around me *shrugs*. So I understood Josephine’s need to pull the shenanigans she did that included things like her cricket ball, fish guts and quite a few other things…sis was very creative! I also understood her overprotective nature over her father as I feel that over my mom. Josephine’s situation is different with the fact that her mother is deceased and it makes things vastly different. Josephine was not only fighting to preserve her mother’s memory but also the relationship she has with her dad & his heart, which is sacred. Did she go overboard at times? Well, that’s for you to decide when you read this book *wink* *wink*!

The excitement I imagine Josephine feels when a prank develops in her mind

Speaking of father-daughter relationships, I really loved Josephine’s relationship with her dad. While yes, she was trying to sabotage his dating life at every turn, it was, in her own way, super endearing. She was trying so hard to remind him of their kinship and of the things that connected them, especially when it came to cricket. Whenever Josephine spoke about her father, I could feel the love she felt for him…not just because he was her father but because of how much she admired him. You could tell that she truly saw and knew her dad in ways that a lot of kids don’t look at their parents. I get the warm & fuzzies just thinking about it. They lived in their own world and we were given the privilege of peeking into it. Also, their banter was super funny as it was like they switched roles in who was the parent and the kid; which was hysterical to me!

The Warm & Fuzzies I felt reading Josephine & her dad’s interactions…most times

Another relationship that I loved was Josephine’s best friendship with Ahkai. I adored the bond between them as it is super clear how well they understand each other when she introduces him into the story. They both know that they can lean on each other, which is really special. Something that I deeply appreciated is the fact that Josephine lets us know that Ahkai is a character with Autism. We don’t see nearly enough kids in literature with diagnoses that get to have these beautiful interpersonal relationships. As both a Special Educator and a Godmother to a child with Autism, it made me so happy to read this sort of representation. I also appreciated that while Josephine acknowledged that part of Ahkai, she didn’t make his personhood solely about Autism. I loved how proud she was of their closeness & how she would stand in solidarity with him when she knew he needed it and Ahkai would reciprocate that in his own ways, especially when it came to researching. This was a really special aspect to the book and one of my biggest takeaways.

In a way, this is Josephine & Ahkai

When I was done with this book, I ran back to Shakirah’s DMs to tell her how much her book meant to me. As someone of Caribbean descent, a Godmother and educator, this book really stuck in my mind & heart. I wholeheartedly think you need to go pick it up ASAPually! You’ll laugh a ton and you’ll also feel a lot of feels. On the real, I believe you will enjoy it & would want to see more of Josephine because I know I did! I am seriously hoping and praying for a sequel…I really really am!

I’m asking nicely Shakirah, can we pleaseeeee have more Josephine & Ahkai adventures?! PLEASEEEEEEE

Welp y’all, I’m going to end it here so you can go out and get this book. Whether its from your local library or your favorite bookstore, it doesn’t matter as long as you get it! As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love and wishing you happy reading! For more bookish banter, feel free to find and follow me on all of the social medias: Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms.


Published by bookishgirlmagic

I’m reader who has a fierce love for books written by authors of color & belief in the importance of supporting them! My mission is to amplify their voices and work so this generation and all the others after them will have literature that will reflect them.

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: