I am so glad to be part of this Blog Tour for this incredible story. Pitched as a sort of modern day Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret. for today’s youth, I am proud to present:
A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers
Pub date: Mar. 13, 2018
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Available in Canada through Thomas Allen & Son
Goodreads – Add this book to your TBR!
Synopsis: The story of a girl who—thanks to her friends, her famous single dad, and an unexpected encounter with a whale—learns the true meaning of family.
Twelve-year-old Natalia Rose Baleine Gallagher loves possibilities: the possibility that she’ll see whales on the beach near her new home, the possibility that the transgender boy she just met will become her new best friend, the possibility that the paparazzi hounding her celebrity father won’t force them to move again. Most of all, Nat dreams of the possibility that her faraway mother misses her, loves her, and is just waiting for Nat to find her.
But how can Nat find her mother if she doesn’t even know who she is? She abandoned Nat as a baby, and Nat’s dad refuses to talk about it. Nat knows she shouldn’t need a mom, but she still feels like something is missing, and her questions lead her on a journey of self-discovery that will change her life forever.
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review!*
This was an absolute gem of a story. It was light, fun and heart-warming. It is a delightful coming of age–or rather–the beginnings of coming of age for two young people. (Because let’s be honest, it takes a long time to figure out who you are, where you are headed and how you plan on getting there). Put into today’s context with the timeless issues that all kid’s experience, this book is fantastic!
What I Liked:
Nat: Nat was an incredibly fun, cute, and curious girl. Being the daughter of a famous actor is definitely not easy, but she does her best to get by. Like any kid, she is always asking questions and wondering. Who she is? Whom she came from? and Why is life this crazy mess sometimes?! I really enjoyed reading from her perspective of the world and the conclusions she makes. My favourite aspect about Nat, was definitely her affinity for languages and finding the words that express how she feels from whatever tongue that gets it right.
Harry: Harry was a really interesting and adorable character. You find his perspective ever few chapters or so and it really gives insight into what he is feeling. As a transgender boy he has to deal with a lot of the backlash that society gives him. He tries his best everyday to live the boy’s life he wants, even if it means fighting those who want to repress it everyday, including his own dad.
Throughout the book, Nat is sort of struggling with her past and her future to come. She is harbouring a lot of feelings for her mysterious mother (whom she does not know) and with her 13th birthday on the horizon she feels that she will somehow mess up puberty without a mom. Not to mention the #struggles of having a super famous dad that is hunted by the paparazzi.
This book expresses three fundamental notions on families: No one family is perfect. Everyone is a mess sometimes. But being surrounded by the people you love and who love you is one of the best things ever. Whether you are rich, poor, famous or ordinary, families are tough, important and they come in all shapes and sizes. This book does a superb job of showing that off!
What I Disliked:
I enjoyed the book for the most part. I just felt that at times the book could lag and sometimes nothing was really going on. It was a little slow in getting the ball rolling, but I really enjoyed those final chapters!
Overall, it was a cute and quick read. It definitely does pull on the heart strings with those tender moments and then there are the scenes that just make you laugh. It is a fantastic read, I don’t know how else to put it!
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Recommend: Yep yep! A perfect read to relate to today’s youth.
Meet the Author:
Karen Rivers’s books have been nominated for a wide range of literary awards and have been published in multiple languages. When she’s not writing, reading, or visiting schools, she can usually be found hiking in the forest that flourishes behind her tiny old house in Victoria, British Columbia, where she lives with her two kids, two dogs, and two birds. Find her online at karenrivers.com and on Twitter: @karenrivers.
Find Karen Online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads
A post about taking all the threads and weaving them together, the “what if” questions that all come together to make this book, and why I was asking them.
Every book starts out with a question: “What if?”
Here is how I wrote A POSSIBILITY OF WHALES.
What if I were to write a puberty book, as a nod to ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT’S ME MARGARET? (My first thought was “a yellow bathing suit”, which I included, as it’s a singular detail that I still remembered, thirty-five years after I read the book.)
What if I were to set it in 2018? (It had to be now, not then. Things, while the same, are also now so different.)
What if my main character had a single parent? (I’m a single parent. This is something I think about a lot: at what cost to my kids, even though it’s “better” for the obvious reasons, do they yearn for something that’s missing?)
What if that single parent was a man, not a woman? (I’m always interested in a different perspective, plus I needed my main character to be a girl and it became interesting when I thought about how hard it would be to be a single dad around the time of his daughter’s puberty.)
What if she had questions she didn’t want to ask him about puberty, that she didn’t want to voice at all? (Didn’t we all, no matter how open our parents were to talking about it? Weren’t there things we didn’t even want to put voice to?)
What if she didn’t have a mother, just a blank space where the role of mother was suddenly needing to be filled? (Nat is searching, searching for herself and for connection. What greater connection than a mother?)
What if she started seeking people in her life to fill that role, without realizing she was doing it? (What if this began with a “prank” call? A pretense?)
What if her dad was really famous? (Fame is so interesting, I think. Such a high price the famous pay for their fame, in terms of never being left alone, being followed, never far from a camera’s spying lens.)
What if her connections outside of Nat + Dad were pretty limited?
What if one of those connections, a best friend, betrayed her? (This is the cost of Nat’s dad’s fame, for Nat. A direct price that she pays for something that is not her doing.)
What if her new best friend also was dealing with something that felt insurmountable sometimes? (Does she connect with him because although different, he is also yearning to be seen as just who he is?)
And, of course, what if I added whales?
In many ways, this book came about exactly like that, stacking one “what if” on top of the other in a Jenga-like structure in my mind. I played with this one in my imagination for a very long time before I wrote it down, and when I did, it unfolded almost like a movie. I absolutely loved thinking about the questions, learning about the characters, and then answering all the what ifs in this book. Writing it was an absolute joy. I hope it means as much to its readers as it means to me. ❤
The winner will receive: 1 signed hardcover copy of A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers
Details & Rules:
– Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
– Giveaway ends Mon. Mar. 19th @ 12AM EST
– Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email and will have 24 hours to claim their prize
I hope you all enjoyed my stop on the tour! Thank you so much Thomas Allen & Sons for inviting me to participate and thank you Karen Rivers for writing such an amazing post!
Be sure to catch the rest of the tour!
Visit Jill’s Book Blog tomorrow to see her stop and follow along with the rest of the tour!
Let me know what you think! What is your favourite coming into age story? What story as a kid really inspired you?
I loved this story! I’m glad you liked it too!
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That’s great! It was really beautiful!
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