'Skin of the Sea' Book Club Readalong Day 5!

By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @giota_the_reader

Welcome back to the fifth day of our book club read-along for OwlCrate's December book, Skin of the Sea!

Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 17-19 of Skin of the Sea, so make sure you read are finished this section before continuing.

Please note that there is a content warning I encourage you to read at the beginning of the book before starting!

Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate box! Don't forget, you can also post about the readalong on Instagram with the hashtag #OCSkinOfTheSea for another chance to win!

The story continues...

Chapter 17:
The carvings on the walls are more than just the Mami Wata, they are a map of the entire lands, and show the way to Esu’s island. Yinka has a unique talent of being able to braid maps into hair and does so on Simidele. The interaction seems to soften some of the tension between them. The babalawo warns them that Esu’s island is rumored to be guarded by mythical creatures, but there has never been a first hand report of what exactly that entails.

They make the hike back to the boats, Simidele’s feet hurting more with each step. Once back on the river Simi has a memory of her ten year old self with her mother. Every year they come to the river to celebrate her birthday, just the two of them. And Simi’s mother tells her that she was born at the very river, and was blessed by Yemoja at her birth.

Chapter 18:
The journey back to Oko makes it increasingly clear that something is wrong. There are dead fish belly up in the river and more crops and livestock are rotting. As they approach the village they hear a scream and find a small girl hovering over her collapsed grandmother. They carry the grandmother back into the village and find nearly everyone outside of Kola’s family’s compound, demanding answers. Kola's father eventually disperses the villagers, and once inside Kola gets Yinka and Bem to prepare for their next journey while he informs his family of what happened with the babalawo.

They gather on the shore, Idefayo now joining them, and Kola and Simidele make the decision that it is time for Issa to go home. But he fights, and it is only when Kola dismisses him sharply that he finally leaves.

Once on board their ship Bem decides the best route to take and Simidele finds herself dozing into a dream of Kola, Bem, Yinka and herself climbing Esu’s island, Esu himself pulling them limb from limb, all about her are the deaths of those she loves.

Jolting awake from the dream Simidele knows she needs to do something, so leaving the others sleeping on the ship, she climbs into the sea to visit Olokun, orisa of the deep and keeper of the Land of the Dead. He has been chained in the deep as punishment for his treatment of humans, never to be able to see the light again. Simidele makes a bargain with him, offering him something in exchange for his help. Simidele returns to the ship, only to be helped back on board by Yinka.

Chapter 19:
Kola told the others who, and what, Simidele is. Angry at first, Kola soon convinces her it’s for the best, and that they can all be trusted, even Ifedayo. She decides not to reveal that she was able to meet and make a deal with Olokun. Wanting to smooth things over with Yinka, Simi asks her to spar, and afterward Yinka tells Simi how she ended up in Oko.

They are to arrive at Esu’s island in just a few hours, so they decide to eat and rest. Simidele talks to Ifedayo about where he is from, but something about the conversation leaves her uneasy. Heading back to the others, Simidele hears commotion from within the hold.



  1. What bargain do you think Simidele made with Olokun?
  2. What do you think is hiding in the hold?
  3. Do you think Ifedayo perhaps knew Simidele before?
  4. Our heroes are currently out at sea! Recommend another book that takes place on the ocean.

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