The dark tide by Alicia Jasinska

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Penguin Random House Australia, 2020. ISBN: 9781760894726.
(Age: Young Adult) The dark tide is librarian-turned-author Alicia Jasinska's literary debut. The Sydney-based writer has delivered an atmospheric young adult novel for those interested in strong female characters, dark magic and complicated romances. Set on the windswept and waterlogged island of Caldella, the story centres on two damaged girls. Lina is a dancer battling a career-ending injury who continuously puts herself in danger trying to protect the men in her life. Eva, the Witch Queen of Caldella, is grieving the death of her older sister and seeking revenge on the man she believes is responsible.
Every St Walpurga's Eve, the Witch Queen must kidnap a young islander. She has a month to fall in love with him before she must sacrifice him to save Caldella from the ever encroaching tide threatening to submerge the island. This year, Eva spirits away Thomas, Lina's budding love interest. Ridden with guilt over her belief that she is responsible for the kidnapping, Lina travels to the witch's palace to offer herself as sacrifice in Thomas' place. Determined to return to Thomas and her family, Lina is certain that she can find a way to escape within the month. However, neither she nor Eva is expecting their feelings of hostility and anger to grow into something else.
The dark tide is a story of finding love in unexpected places and learning to let go of prejudices. It is a confident and well written debut by a young Australian author and bodes well for a promising career for Jasinska. Themes: Witches, Magic, Curses, Family, Friendship, Love, Mythical creatures.
Rose Tabeni