With thanks to Imogen Sebba at Bonnier Zaffre for sending me a paperback copy to read and review.
ISBN:9781848126916. February 5th 2019. Piccadilly Press/Bonnier Zaffre.
A stirring and heart-warming tale of a young deaf girl who is determined to make a difference, the perfect read for fans of Wonder.
Iris was born deaf, but she’s never let that define her; after all, it’s the only life she’s ever known. And until recently she wasn’t even very lonely, because her grandparents are both deaf, too. But Grandpa has just died and Grandma’s not the same without him. The only place Iris really feels at home anymore is in her electronics workshop where she loves taking apart antique radios.
Then, during a science lesson about sound waves, Iris finds out about a whale who is unable to communicate with other whales. The lonely whale awakens something in Iris. She’s determined to show him that someone in the world knows he’s there.
Iris works on a foolproof plan to help the whale but she soon realises that that is not enough: Iris wants to find the whale herself.
One stolen credit card, two cruise ship tickets, and the adventure of a lifetime later, Iris and the whale each break through isolation to help one another be truly heard in ways that neither had ever expected.
I really enjoy books where youngsters (in this case, a 12year old) go on an adventure and find themselves. There’s just something so heartwarming about it. Song For A Whale is no different. Iris is a strong, determined and resourceful youngster and I loved watching her grow and adapt. Her Grandma is awesome too, I loved reading about her.
Even though I’m differently disabled to Iris, I found so much of myself in her character. I understand a lot of the loneliness and frustrations she feels. But, I’m also aware that there’s a lot that I, not being deaf, don’t understand.
I think sign language is beautiful, and Lynne Kelly did an amazing job of putting it across without seeming like Iris and those around her are just speaking.
My biggest issues with the book, is simply that on many occasions Iris reads like she’s a year or two older than she is. Though I understand that’s probably because I’m 25 and now looking back at that age with hindsight of the way things work. There’s still a naïvety to Iris that is sweet.
I have a big fascination when it comes to Whales (and most sea life to be honest), and remember how upset I was when I heard about the 52hertz whale, so it was really good to see others have thought about it, and many more might now know of it too.
I also really liked the addition of the short chapters from the whale’s point of view, I thought that was a great addition to the book as a whole.
I am giving this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.
You can buy yourself a copy using my Amazon affiliate link here.