Jane is a typical teenager who fights with her older brother, tolerates her mother’s advice and knows that she will be an artist some day. On a summer’s day, she goes to the beach with her family for a swim and ends up having her world torn apart. While in the water, Jane is attacked by a shark; she ultimately loses her arm and must fight for her life. This is the story of how Jane must come to terms with her loss and discover a “new normal” for herself.
The story doesn’t flinch in asking all the questions that arise when something dreadful happens in life. Jane’s reaction to her accident is believable; her journey through the seven stages of grief is handled realistically and the reader is rewarded with a glimpse of what life can be like when we finally succeed over circumstances . The book is not gory or sensationalistic rather it affords the reader the chance to experience empathy for Jane, her family and friends as they try to deal with this horrific accident.
This story can be appreciated by young teens on up. As I said before, it allows the reader go on the journey with Jane and to experience compassion for another person. When you come down to it, isn’t that what we are trying to instill in our children? I highly recommend this book. Age range: young teens on up.
Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham. Candlewick Press, Somerville, Ma. 2007. 276pp.