Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mock Printz: Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham

Title: Shark Girl
Author: Kelly Bingham
Publisher: Candlewick
ISBN: 9780763632076
Starred review in: PW

While swimming at the beach one day, aspiring professional artist Jane is attacked by a shark. Although she is able to escape with her life, thanks to her brother, she loses her right arm above the elbow. As she lies in the hospital, the sympathy cards and letters pour in, but she doesn't want any of them. She wants the man who sold his home video of her attack to the news to suffer. She wants her life back. While in the hospital, she meets another amputee, Justin (age 9), who has only one request for her: He wants her to draw a picture for him. To Jane, that's an impossible request. Her drawing arm is gone, and drawing a computer, to her, is NOT art.

When Jane returns to school in the fall, things are different between her and her friends. Her best friend Rachel is as loyal and caring as ever, but it seems like their other friend Angela can do nothing but criticize Jane about the way she looks. And does swimming hottie Max really like Jane for who she is, or does he just feel sorry for her?

Like many novels in verse, this is a quick read with moments of brilliance. Interspersed with the poems are some of the letters Jane receives while she recovers and receives therapy in the hospital. It's an excellent readalike for fans of Sonya Sones and Ellen Hopkins, with depth, despair, and an eventual turn towards a mental and physical recovery. Is it Printz-worthy? I don't think so. But it is a worthy buy for many libraries and a solid read.

Reviewed by Carlie W., BCCLS

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