Friday, August 28, 2015

Book review - A 52-Hertz Whale

Title: A 52-Hertz Whale
Author: Bill Sommer and Natalie Tilghman
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
                     Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
Summary: James is a 14 year old with just two interests: whales (especially Salt, the juvenile humpback he sponsors) and trying to understand his peers without actually having to interact with them (Urban Dictionary helps). Darren is a 23 year old trying to get over/win back his ex-girlfriend and survive working on a sitcom in hopes that it will help him in his goal to become a film maker. When Salt seems to be separated from his pod and emails to whale groups aren't helping, James sends a message to Darren. The emails that follow set both on a course that they never expected.

My Opinion: Combine a quirky plot with a tone that is both playful and serious and you have this book. Written as a series of emails, mostly between James and Darren but sometimes including side characters, its a relatively quick read. The email style also means that while we get the complete story of James and Darren, we also get these quick glimpses into the lives of a number of other characters. We see the complications in their lives that affects their actions and how those actions then come into play in the main plot. Most fascinating for me is how this book ends not with solutions and answers but with realizations and a better understanding of the connections we share. That lack of definite answers will frustrate some, but I found it compelling.

More information: A 52-Hertz Whale releases September 1.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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