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Publisher's Summary

Set against the backdrop of Caribbean folklore, Lisa Stringfellow’s spellbinding middle-grade debut tells of a grieving girl and a vengeful mermaid and will enchant listeners who loved Kacen Callender’s Hurricane Child or Christian McKay Heidicker’s Scary Stories for Young Foxes.

Ever since her mother’s death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as “mermaid’s tears”, that sparkle on the Caribbean beaches of St. Rita. So when Kela and her friend Lissy stumble across an ancient-looking comb in a coral cave, with all she’s already lost, Kela can’t help but bring home her very own found treasure. 

Far away, deep in the cold ocean, the mermaid Ophidia can feel that her comb has been taken. And despite her hatred of all humans, her magic requires that she make a bargain: the comb in exchange for a wish.

But what Kela wants most is for her mother to be alive. And a wish that big will exact an even bigger price....

Don’t miss the novel that Newbery-winning author Kelly Barnhill calls “one of the most promising works of fiction in a long time”!

©2022 Lisa Stringfellow (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about A Comb of Wishes

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A modern day Caribbean folktale of waves and wishes

A Comb of Wishes was a really great read. I purchased both the audiobook and the Kindle versions. First, I am an absolute fan of Bahni Turpin’s reading. She is just phenomenal. The various character cadences and light Caribbean flare she added to the reading felt very natural and not distracting. It seemed to add a layer of authenticity and island flavor to the stories already layered experience.

As middle grade fiction, it featured those classic touchstones (secret adventures, chases, outsized consequences, twists and heartbreak) and story beats that are both riveting and yet, not too frightening or gruesome. It however does not mean the emotional impact was any less powerful. I found myself tearing up at parts, and experiencing those nascent fears that something, once broken, might never be able to be fixed again. Many of the descriptions were wonderfully creative in their phrasing, highlighting the author’s love of prose.

Kela is a courageous protagonist filled with heart and drive. As a person of West Indian descent, the flourishes and details of culture, food and history woven into the story were extremely welcome and exciting to see as integral story elements. I loved the inner reflection around how she viewed the world before her wish, and how things felt afterwards. Whenever there is a wish fulfillment story, there are questions about time travel paradoxes and whether things might go back to exactly the way they were originally. But, the author managed to resolve many of these questions in a unique and moving way.

Throughout the story, there was never a glaringly false note in the telling of the tale or the responses of its characters (even if it led to tragedy). The mysteries that developed gave way to new mysteries and the final resolution was both satisfying and bittersweet. Overall, it was a great adventure that seems an instant stand alone classic and welcome addition to anyone’s fantasy library.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-31-22

Every island child should read this book!

I opted for audio book because the hard copy was sold out. Amazing story.

listening to this book was like receiving a warm hug from my gran gran.