The Undrowning of Waverly Grey

When 17-year-old Waverly Grey moves to the island of Moekai, she throws herself into a new life, outrigger canoeing in the mornings and seeking answers about her mother’s past in the afternoons. It’s hard enough that Waverly has to help care for her baby brother, Georgie. And it’s hard enough that her mother is slowly dying from an illness that chokes her with lava. But then the locals seem to be hiding secrets. And then she makes friends with monsters.

Genre: YA Fantasy

Meet the Characters

Waverly Grey
"My life has changed so much in the last three months. I mean, I never imagined I’d be swimming in the middle of the night, thousands of miles from home—half a world away from my best friend Lucy, my old soccer team, and my entire life. Yet here I am, just off the coast. Ducking my head underwater, breaking through the surface to gasp for a shallow breath. Again and again and again. "

Age: 17
Known for: Athleticism, affection for animals, and a teaspoon of sass
Kahu (Eyebrows)
“We do not talk when we are on the water,” Eyebrows says in a cool voice, apparently not struggling to breathe at all. “But I will try and give you instruction.”

Age: about 19
Known for: Overly serious tai chi, charisma, and eyebrows (obviously)
“Look at the falls!” Amoe says, shucking a leg onto the railing. “There’s a cave back there, filled with rainbows and fish bones. It’s my favorite place, after home. And Starbucks.”

Age: 17
Known for: Malapropisms, addictive personality, and flowers in her hair
“You would’ve lasted another ten minutes out there, probably.” Leo bites into his cookie. His tone is polite but matter-of-fact as he adds, “Maybe twenty.”

Age: about 17
Known for: Eagle eyes, low-key dramatics, kindness
The extra-beefy paddler, having made it to the canoe, holds the container out for the sullen-looking girl. I’m pretty sure she had been sitting in front of me yesterday. “Quick, quick!” he presses her. “Eat them all!”

Age: about 18
Known for: muscles growing muscles, pranks, and a belief in the power of cookies
Hearing me, Haila doesn’t go still, exactly. But her head swivels slowly, reminding me of the way a snake slithers in the grass.
“I have work,” she whispers. “They give us free lunch.”

Age: about 18
Known for: Quiet disposition, physical strength, and astronomy skills
Mara Pokui Grey
"Unlike the volcano in Kena, Moekai has been dormant for a long, long time. But just because a volcano is silent on the outside, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. They could be biding time their time, waiting to explode. And sometimes? People are the exact same way."

Age: 35 years old
Known for: Pride, precociousness, and secrets
"At the head of the beach trail, a tall guy leans against a concrete embankment with a dark, skinny terrier at his feet. He’s typing on his phone. The hair on both sides of his head has been shaved off, revealing a jagged tortoise-shell-like tattoo; the rest of his black hair has been pulled into a low bun... I know one thing for sure: I feel threatened."

Age: 17
Known for: ???

Waverly's Playlist

1. slide away – miley cyrus
2. what they’ll say about us – finneas
3. hardwired – hailey knox
4. ocean bed – darlingside
5. in my blood – shawn mendez
6. bridges – johnnyswim
7. you’re somebody else – flora cash
8. stupid deep – jon bellium

9. summer girl – haim
10. ocean – ella vos
11. magic – gabrielle aplin
12. bad guy (with justin bieber) – billie eilish
13. i will never die – delta rae
14. river – seinabo sey
15. feels like this – maisie peters
16. wild once – laura marling

Project Status

I have completed two drafts of this novel. I am now in the revision stage, preparing to share with my writing groups in November 2020, and to send out as soon as January 2021.