Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham

Friday, May 14, 2010

On a sunny day in June, fifteen-year-old Jane Arrowood went for a swim. And then everything - absolutely everything - changed. Now she’s counting down the days until she returns to school with her fake arm, where she knows kids will whisper, "That’s her - that’s Shark Girl," as she passes. Meanwhile there are only questions: Why did this happen? What about her art? What about her life? This striking first novel uses poems, letters, telephone conversations, and newspaper clippings to look unflinchingly at what it’s like to lose part of yourself and to summon the courage it takes to find yourself again.

This book was published in 2007, and I'm unsure whether it was just released in Australia or whether this is a re-release. I'm wondering how I didn't discover it sooner.

It's a verse novel, short and sweet but packing a big punch. I read it in an afternoon but the story stayed with me a long while after. The blurb does a good job of summing it up, so there's not a whole lot more I can think to say about. It received starred reviews from a couple of the four reviewing journals, so if you haven't already read this, I highly encourage you to pick it up.

The premise and the structure of the book really hooked me. A girl who's been attacked by a shark and is trying to cope afterwards? That fascinates me. I loved the inclusion of letters from strangers, Jane's conversations with family, her own arguments with her self. The way in which this novel was written made feel very close to Jane.

One thing that frustrates me about verse novels, though, is that they seem to be over so quickly. I felt as if there could have been more - the jump between Jane being totally angry (for good reason) and then content, seemed to happy a little too quickly.

I strongly recommend this to readers of both genders twelve and up.

Have you read many verse novels?
What do you think of them, compared to regular novels?
Can you recommend any?
Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground