Bardo by the Sea, Chad Alan Gibbs

Houses sit atop a small hill facing the ocean. There are drying plants waving in the wind. The sky is overcast with a possible storm.

Izzy is a girl who will speak her mind, even if it puts her in a precarious position. She wants to right the world’s wrongs, and she has Elton to help her do just that. Stumbling upon the murder of the school’s football star in the 80s, Izzy believes it wasn’t simply a drug deal gone bad. Using the guise of writing an article for the school paper, she’s investigating this suspicious death, even when everyone would rather Ricky’s death stay in the past.

I was so sad when this ended and then remembered that this is the start of a series, with each book working as a standalone (cheer!), so I’m super excited to see more of Izzy. Gibbs is a one-click author for me, so any time he releases a book, I know I will love it. Bardo by the Sea is a super fun read. Izzy knows her family is only at Bardo because her brother is the star quarterback, and their position hinges on her falling into line. But she doesn’t know how to do that. Her anxiety is accurate and utterly relatable. I love the depth of the characters and the representation. The school and town are true to life, with secrets and intimidation. I’m excited to see what lies in store for Izzy and Elton.

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About the Book

When Izzy Brown, an anxiety-ridden sixteen-year-old, receives a scholarship to the prestigious Bardo Academy, she leaves the trailer park for a seaside villa in Florida’s most exclusive and secretive community. With a new address, new school, and cute new boyfriend, life is good—for once.

But then dreams of becoming a journalist prompt Izzy to join the school newspaper. With the help of Elton Jones-Davies, a gentle giant with autism and secrets of his own, she delves into the murder of a former Bardo Academy football star.

Together, Izzy and Elton uncover forbidden romance, shady business deals, and political corruption reaching the State Capitol. The case heats up just as Izzy’s life falls apart, but she presses on, risking everything to bring the killer to justice.

Set in 2008, at the precipice of the housing market crash and the height of Florida’s prescription opioid epidemic, Bardo by the Sea is Book 1 of the Izzy and Elton Mystery Series.


Read this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

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