The Turn of the Tide


Two cousins

One summer

A sailboat they both love

And a race they’d risk anything to win.

HiRes Cover TIDEThe Turn of the Tide is a story of two cousins with big ambitions who have made big mistakes. It’s about spending a summer far from home and overcoming your deepest fears. It’s about navigating the shifting currents of middle school friendship while holding a true to the woman you’d like to become. It’s about becoming a man of two worlds and remaining loyal to your whole family even when that family separated by race and an entire ocean. It’s about the split second you have to choose when lives hang in the balance and the wind could shift at any moment.  It’s about finding your own true north and setting a course for it against all odds.

I loved writing this story. I loved researching this story. I’ve had a great time talking to kids in schools and bookstores about this story. Thanks to Random House and my fabulous editors Michelle Nagler and Jenna Lettice. Thanks to my agent Stephen Fraser at the Jennifer DiChiara Literary Agency for representing it. And thanks to my husband who rather impulsively bought a broken sailboat while we had a houseful of toddlers and preschoolers. Thanks to him for fixing that boat and teaching us all to sail and for being the captain of our many family adventures, especially the most hair-raising of all adventures, choosing the life of a professional writer. With all it’s shifting tides, it’s a profession I’m proud to claim and grateful to participate in.

Heartfelt thanks go to my cover artist Julie McLaughlin. I love it that she didn’t shy away from putting a biracial child on the cover, and I adore it that she crafted a cover that will appeal to boys and girls equally. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Captain Deborah Dempsey who was not only a key inspiration for this story but an invaluable resource in getting all those sailing details right. IMG_0677I am a small craft sailor myself but I didn’t try out every stunt in the book and there are only a dozen living mariners who understand the Columbia Bar in the depth that I needed to write this book. Not only that, she wrote a beautiful message to young mariners encouraging them to consider a life at sea. Here I am with Captain Dempsey and Julie McLaughlin at Village Books in Bellingham, Washington.

Awards and Honors

  • Oregon Battle of the Books list 2017-18
  • Oregon Spirit Book Award, 2017
  • Finalist for the Willa Award, 2017

A Starred Review from Booklist

November 15, 2015 issue of Booklist (circ: 24,150):


Two cousins from different countries are brought together by tragedy; burdened with past regrets, they become sailing partners in an attempt to win a boat race and redeem themselves. When a tsunami devastates his home in Japan, Kai, burdened with guilt after failing to save his grandparents, is sent to live in Oregon with his cousin Jet. Jet, who aspires to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a ship’s pilot, had ignored the tsunami warnings in her haste to go sailing and had hit wreckage that damaged her boat. As she wrestles with her shame over her irresponsibility, Kai tries to acclimate to a different culture and struggles to master his fear of the water. With the boat race approaching, Kai and Jet will have to overcome their differences and regrets in order to work together to win. Both are well developed: their resilience against trying circumstances is sharply drawn, and Kai’s introspection nicely balances Jet’s impulsiveness. Even readers unfamiliar with the mechanics of sailing will find the race scenes exciting,and a sailing glossary provides extra information. The result is a touching, heartwarming story that reaffirms the idea that, for anyone, second chances are possible. — Sharon Rawlins

A Starred Review from School Library Journal

November 2015 issue of School Library Journal (circulation: 30,000):


Gr 4-6–When the earthquake hits in Japan, Kai knows he’s supposed to follow the rules, but he also knows that his beloved grandparents need his help evacuating—and he runs away from his teacher. Many thousands of miles away, Kai’s American cousin, Jet, knows she must check the tides before sailing—each and every time. But she didn’t this time, and her decision has grave consequences. In the aftermath of the tsunami that devastates Kai’s island, his parents send him to stay with his American cousins in Oregon. Both kids must come to terms with the consequences of their decisions. Kai feels tremendous guilt that he was unable to save his grandparents, compounded by the shame of disobeying an adult. He already feels like he doesn’t fit in because he’s half-Japanese. Jet’s family business, piloting ships through treacherous channels, is decidedly male-dominated. There has only been one female pilot, and Jet wants to be the second. She keeps this secret, though, and works twice as hard at everything to succeed. Their summer isn’t an easy one. Kai’s homesick; worried for his parents, who are nuclear engineers in charge of repairing the power plant; and grieving his grandparents. Jet knows her intense competitiveness is off-putting and mourns the loss of her best friend. Parry has created two uniquely flawed main characters that readers will quickly grow to love. She has also crafted a vivid, close-knit community of seafarers who help one another. VERDICT This affecting work of realistic fiction is one to be savored—even by dedicated landlubbers.–Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ


If you would like to purchase my books I hope you will consider shopping at one of the independent bookstores who have been so supportive of me over the years. If you are not lucky enough to have a local indy, Powells will ship anywhere. I am always grateful to readers who get their books at the local or school library. They have been great supporters of my work, too. If you would like to have a signed copy of any of my books, please call Annie Blooms where I work part time. (503) 246-0053. They’ll be happy to take a message about how to personalize your copy and then I’ll sign it on my next shift, and we’ll ship it off to you.
Thank you!