Rated Reads

Shark Girl

by Kelly Bingham

Rated: Moderate

Jane Arrowood knows she should feel lucky for surviving the shark attack. But as she recovers in the hospital, she feels only anger, fear and confusion. Why did this have to happen? How can she take care of herself with only one arm? What about her dream of a brilliant art career?

Once she goes home and returns to high school, Jane faces a new set of problems. How can she fit in when she so painfully stands out? How does she deal with being pitied for her suffering and idealized for her survival, when she doesn’t want either kind of attention? Slowly, and at times unwillingly, Jane learns to accept who she is and begins to dream in a new direction.

This book is written mainly in verse, which helped me slow down and see the significance of each small struggle Jane faces. I like that she’s not portrayed as a perfect hero; sometimes she blames others and herself for her situation, and sometimes she’s too angry and afraid to go on. But she does go on — because she has to. I admire Jane’s character for recognizing her own imperfections and for being able to learn from others on her journey. It’s a journey of recovery, self-discovery and hope.

Rated: Moderate. About 12 mild swear words and about 7 moderate ones. The shark attack is never described; there are only a couple allusions to there being a lot of blood.

— Reviewed by Jennifer Neal

Jennifer Neal has worked as a third-grade teacher, a Spanish translator, and as a writing TA for an online university. She lives in Santee, California (near San Diego), with her husband and four young children.

Comments are closed.

  • Shark Girl
  • by Kelly Bingham
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: