Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!

Don’t miss this emotive, inspirational story for children and adults – The Shark Caller by Zillah Bethell 


Title: The Shark Caller   

Author: Zillah Bethell 

Publisher: Usborne

Published: February 2021 

Version: Paperback, 400 pages

Rating: 5*



Desperate to become a shark caller to avenge the death of her parents, Blue Wing is instead charged with befriending infuriating newcomer Maple. At first they are angry and out of sync with the island and each other. But when the tide breathes the promise of treasure, can they overcome their differences and brave the deadliest shark in the ocean?

My Review:

This is a truly beautiful, moving read, superbly written, totally enthralling and one that has messages for us all within its pages. It is supposed to be targetted for children aged 9 to 12 years old but it is great for adults, too, and is certainly one that I suspect I’ll remember and revisit time and time again.

The story starts with a glossary of Papuan Pidgin English which is used through the story, adding to the feeling of visiting there and meeting everyone involved. In a small island community in Papua New Guinea the modern world is impinging on their actions and dreams.

Siringen is a Shark Caller, a once revered member of the community, a highly traditional role that is usually passed on through the male line. However, it is Blue Wing, a young girl, who is keen to learn the role after her parents died two years ago. When an American professor and his daughter, Atlas and Maple Hanelin, come to stay in the village Siringen and Blue Wing are tasked with looking after them. This is when Blue Wing discovers she’s not the only one filled with resentment. The two young girls are both coping with grief, guilt, resentment and more but whilst they are initially antagonistic, maybe their similar feelings can help them both learn from each other and heal?

The characters are well developed but it is their interactions that make this such an emotive read and the revelations at the end, well, get the tissues ready!! It is too strong a read to be only read by children, it is a story filled with guidance from elders which will resonate with adults as well as children, a moving portrayal of life after loss, following dreams, forgiving yourself and so much more. The ending is sad in many ways but it is also great and inspirational. A very different story and one that, I reiterate, not only children should read!

My thanks for my copy of this emotive book, which I have voluntarily read and honestly reviewed.

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