Excellent book. I discovered this book when I was looking up magical realism books. And guess what? My local library had it on the shelf!
Nainoa falls into the ocean during his family's one frigging vacation. He was 7. His father and the crew turn the boat to come back for him, but not before the sharks find him.
He'd already shown a preternatural attraction to nature. And nature came to his aid. The sharks surrounded him, and next thing the reader knows is that Noa is being returned to the boat in the mouth of one of the sharks. Then the sharks return to the depths.
The family progresses through time. Noa ends up a paramedic, after finishing his bachelors in three years at Stanford. Dean goes to the Final 4, but loses his basketball scholarship after only two years in school. Kaui does great getting her engineering degree but leaves school early to take care of her father. Noa of course dies (I kept hoping he'd show back up) and that destroys the father (Augie). Malia, mom, was awesome.
Noa's experience with the dying woman and her unborn baby...horrible. Terrible. Sad. Led to Noa's ruin. Oh how I kept hoping Dean would find the Germans and help him find Noa sooner. Maybe he was still in the landslide.
The Hawaiian gods were done right in this book. The magical realism part of it was subtle, wholly not overdone. Well done, Mr. Washburn!
100% recommend this wonderful book.