Book Reviews

Genre: YA Fiction 

Key Stage:  KS3+

Rating: ★★ ★ ★★

Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Julia and the Shark is about a 10-year-old girl named, you guessed it, Julia. She loves the sea and everything that lives there. The love for the sea comes from her mum, who is a marine biologist. The story begins when her dad ends up with a job in a little island called Unst, which is in Scotland but is closer to Norway, where he is employed to fix a lighthouse. Julia and her family have to spend the whole summer up in Unst, this is perfect for her mum as the Greenland shark, which has been her life’s research, has been spotted close to the island. You see, Julia’s mum says that the Greenland shark is older than the trees. Her mother believes that if you could get some blood from the shark, you could find a way to make humans live for longer. The book revolves around the shark but is ultimately about the relationship between Julia and her mother.

There’s a quote in the book “This is the story of the summer I lost my mum.” This quote really does strike me as something that has a lot of meaning behind it, at first it seems very clear about what the quote means and makes you think in a particular way. But as you read on, you realise just what the author was trying to portray, and just how much thought went into this book.

I would recommend this book to anybody aged between 10-15, The illustrations by Tom de Freston are beautifully and skilfully drawn and is very eye-catching. The book is extremely well written and explore different types of relationships that young people may face (friends’, family, etc). As you read on you realise that the shark isn’t really the main focus of the book but is more of a metaphor used to describe the relationship between her and her mum. The book is very good and I can guarantee that you will race through it just like I did!

Reviewer:  Aarian Rexha, Year 8

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