Fulmar by Robin Falvey – Book Review

Title: Fulmar

Author: Robin Falvey

Genre: YA, Coming of Age, Adventure

Rating: 4/5

One thing that really irks me is when people over romanticise Cornwall. Now as a disclaimer I have to admit that as a county, Cornwall is pretty spectacular. There’s idyllic beaches, craggy clifftop walks and miles and miles of open fields and blue skies. But that’s the version you get during the summer months. During the winter, it has to be said that Cornwall can be pretty bleak.

So when authors and writers paint this picture postcard that covers the four seasons, it shows that they actually haven’t experienced Cornwall in the depths of January.

But when I picked up and devoured Fulmar, it felt like a breath of fresh air against the Rosmunde Pilcher’s version of the South West.

Set in the fictional village of Porth Enys on the north coast, Fulmar is a bildungsroman of surfing and finding out what your true worth is. Jacob Penhallow is 15 and currently heading down a path of drugs, petty crime and hanging out with the wrong crowd. But when a stranger gives him a surfboard, Jacob soon learns that the sea isn’t just a pretty backdrop. It’s a way of life, and one that could save him.


Writing in the first person as disillusioned teenager, Falvey paints a very realistic version of being an adolescent in Cornwall. There’s boredom, the lure of drugs and finding out who your true friends are as you navigate the tricky world of puberty, romances and peer pressure. Jacob is a confused and scared young man who doesn’t want to rock the boat too much. With horrible trauma in his life that he hasn’t managed to come to terms with, Jacob does appear lost for most of the novel. Until he discovers surfing.

Side note: I’m not a surfer, nor had any past interest in surfing really. So when I read the blurb, I was concerned that I would lose interest, or just become lost in lots of surfing terminology. But there’s hardly any of that in Fulmar, and when there is, it’s explained in a very simple way.

This book made me nervous in a good way. It kept me on edge, made me really concerned for the characters and how they’d solve their issues that seem to dominate their lives.

The only reason I didn’t give it 5/5 stars was that I found it to end a bit too abruptly for me, and that I wished it went on for longer.

But as a first novel, I was very impressed with this novel. And I will be eagerly looking out for anything else Falvey has written.

Fulmar is available to buy as an ebook on Amazon.

Fulmar was gifted to me for review purposes.


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