White Dolphin by Gill Lewis

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White Dolphin by Gill Lewis

Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A beautifully tender story of grief, loss and new beginnings, overlaid with environmental themes and thoughts. Beautifully-written and utterly absorbing, this one comes highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: May 2012
Publisher: OUP Oxford
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0192756222

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Things aren't going too well for Kara. She's mocked at school for her dyslexia. Her father is struggling to find work and they're cooped up living with judgemental Auntie Bev. And, worse of all, Mum is not around. A marine biologist, she disappeared on an expedition along with several of her colleagues and no bodies were ever found. Kara clings on determinedly to her belief that her mother will return some day, much to the frustration of everyone around her, and her only solace is sailing in her father's boat, Moana.

Then Kara meets Felix, whose parents are wealthy, and to whom she takes an instant dislike, not the least because Dad is considering selling Moana to his father. But Felix has troubles of his own. He resents his parents for taking him from his home and friends in London.

Somehow, these two are thrown together more and more, and when they find beached dolphin calf on the beach, a friendship begins to develop. Together, they set out to find out what happened to Kara's mother and to save the town's beautiful reef bay from pillage by commercial dredgers.

As with her debut novel, Sky Hawk Lewis draws parallels between the struggles her characters face and the struggles that go on in the natural world. Angel, the beached dolphin calf that Kara finds on the beach, has been separated from her mother just as Kara has, and is suffering terribly because of it, as Kara is. Miss Penluna, the odd old lady, tells Kara she must listen to the dolphins and she's right - but the message they have for her is not how to find her mother. It's how to move on without her. It's a hard lesson, but a necessary one.

I loved Kara. She is spiky and impulsive but also fiercely loyal. She finds it difficult to open up with people but is completely open to the wonders of nature. And when called upon, she shows huge reserves of courage. And the reader will be rooting her straight from the impact of the novel's first scene, as she sits, isolated, lonely and bullied, defacing the school Bible. Felix is a similar character. He has cerebral palsy and he hates to be pitied. And so he pushes potential friends away. But he too is loyal and brave. And he never gives up.

I found White Dolphin a beautifully tender story of grief, loss and new beginnings, overlaid with environmental themes and thoughts. It's beautifully-written and utterly absorbing, and comes highly recommended by Bookbag. It will particularly appeal to the sensitive, thoughtful child, or the budding environmentalist, And of course, to anyone who's ever felt sad and lonely.

Dyslexia is also an underlying issue in Last Kiss of the Butterfly by Jill Hucklesby, a sad but evocative story of one girl's summer with her mother, and Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers, awonderful book about friendship, words, and our deepest, most hidden selves. If you haven't read Gill's first book, Sky Hawk, yet, you should.

Buy White Dolphin by Gill Lewis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy White Dolphin by Gill Lewis at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy White Dolphin by Gill Lewis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy White Dolphin by Gill Lewis at Amazon.com.


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