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Young Adult Fiction Girls & Women

On the Edge

by (author) Lesley Strutt

Inanna Publications & Education Inc.
Initial publish date
Jun 2019
Girls & Women, General, Coming of Age
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2019
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12


On the Edge tells the story of Emerald Lake Visser, an unhappy fourteen-year-old who came to live on her aunt and uncle's farm when she was orphaned at age five. A misfit in her community and at school, her only real friend is an elderly woman, Jess, who teaches her to sail. Emma's a natural sailor, as if she's been on a sailboat her whole life. When Jess dies, it's revealed that she was Emma's grandmother. After receiving a letter that her mother may be living in the Bahamas, Emma runs away on her grandmother's boat, the Edge, to find her. Disguising herself as a boy, Emma sails the Edge through the Erie Canal, down the Hudson River, out onto the Atlantic Ocean and through the ICW to Miami, where she crosses the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. Navigational mistakes, near misses with the coast guard, a robbery, and storms put Emma in danger time and again. To add to her stress, by the time she reaches New York City she suspects she's being followed. She notices small black pebbles appearing on her boat, along with dirty footprints in her cockpit. When a handwritten note is tucked into her porthole, she becomes very frightened. She has no passport and is underage. If she's caught, she'll be sent back to the farm. But Emma is determined to find her mother.

About the author


Lesley Strutt was a poet, playwright, essayist, novelist, and blogger (1953-2021). The League of Canadian Poets and Lesley's community of Merrickville, Ontario have organized the Lesley Strutt Poetry Fund, which supports The Lesley Strutt Annual Poetry Contest and The Lesley Strutt Chapbook for Emerging Poets over 40. A Poet's Bench has also been established in her honour in her village of Merrickville. Lesley's writing has appeared in anthologies, e-zines, as well as journals such as Montreal Serai; CV2; Prairie Fire; Ottawater; The Literary Review; Bywords; and Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme. Her chapbook Small as Butterflies won the 2015 Tree Chapbook prize. Her YA novel, On the Edge, was published to in 2019. Window Ledge is Lesley's debut poetry collection.

Lesley Strutt's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"A daring escape, a mystery to solve. A yar boat and a girl who can sail her. High seas and high adventure--what more could you want? On the Edge is a rollicking good read."
--Tim Wynne-Jones, two-time winner of the Governor General's Award

"On the Edge is a novel of a young person determined to take matters into their own hands to find out the truth, solve some family mysteries and to discover her birth parents...I recommend it for all young adult readers and sailing aficionados."
--The Miramichi Reader

"A magical adventure story following Emma, a fourteen-year-old orphan as she navigates the waters from Canada to the Bahamas in search of her mother. Here is a fearless and resilient hero, sure to strike a chord with readers the world over. On the Edge captures the freedom of sailing and the unbreakable bonds of family in a tale of singular beauty."
--Gail Benick, author of The Girl Who Was Born That Way

"Fourteen year old Emerald Lake is a captivating heroine: an orphan with a mysterious past, a born sailor on a quest, an indomitable adventurer with a passion for the truth. The author's time at sea shows in the reams of authentic detail throughout this page-turning nautical adventure. By the time I was done I felt like I too could sail single-handed from Kingston to the Bahamas!"
--Ursula Pflug, author of Motion Sickness and Mountain

Other titles by Lesley Strutt