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A Possibility of Whales
Cover of A Possibility of Whales
A Possibility of Whales
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The story of a girl who learns the true meaning of family—thanks to her best friends near and far, a loving and quirky single dad, and an unexpected encounter with a whale. Twelve-year-old...
The story of a girl who learns the true meaning of family—thanks to her best friends near and far, a loving and quirky single dad, and an unexpected encounter with a whale. Twelve-year-old...
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Description-

  • The story of a girl who learns the true meaning of family—thanks to her best friends near and far, a loving and quirky single dad, and an unexpected encounter with a whale.
    Twelve-year-old Natalia Rose Baleine Gallagher loves possibilities: the possibility that she'll see whales on the beach near her new home, that the boy she just met will be her new best friend, that the photographers chasing her actor father won't force Nat and her dad to move again. Most of all, Nat dreams of the possibility that her faraway mother misses and loves Nat—and is waiting for Nat to find her.
    The thing is, Nat doesn't even know who her mother is. She left 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.
    In this heartfelt story about family, friendship, and growing up, Nat's questions lead her on a journey of self-discovery that will change her life forever.

About 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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 8, 2018
    The most defining element of Natalia Rose Gallagher’s life is that she’s never met her mother: “You can come out of someone’s body, she thought, and not have that count as meeting them.” Nat knows she could probably find her mother’s name online, since her father is a movie star with a hulking physique and an even bigger personality (think Dwayne Johnson), but she’s afraid of what she’ll learn. As she approaches puberty, though, Nat desperately needs somebody. After moving from California to Canada and feeling betrayed by the best friend she left behind, Nat fixates on Harry, a transgender classmate with a disapproving father. Rivers (Love, Ish) packs a lot into this story (including Nat’s love of whales), perhaps too much. Although Harry gets chapters of his own, his character is never fully developed, so it’s unclear why Nat is so determined to be friends with him when he sometimes treats her shabbily. Even less satisfying is the mystery surrounding Nat’s mother, whose identity—known to everyone but Nat—is eventually revealed, but not the reason she abandoned her daughter. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary.

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2018
    Rivers introduces two middle schoolers who could help each other: Natalia, the motherless, paparazzi-plagued daughter of a loving, famous actor, and Harry, a transgender classmate who's embracing his male identity in spite of his intolerant father's rejection of his true self.Natalia, new to Harry's small, Canadian community, and her earnest, ebullient father, Xan Gallagher, share an understanding of the boy's needs, but her classmates are more inclined toward ridicule. Unfortunately for Natalia, in an effort to find accepting male friends, Harry often pushes back against her yearning for a BFF. She needs one badly. Adolescence is sneaking up on her; it's not a change she welcomes, and she feels it's especially hard to navigate this complicated passage without the mother who apparently rejected her at birth. A scene in which she tries to select products for her first--unexpected--period in a supermarket is especially touching. Harry's situation is ultimately helped by Xan's intervention with Harry's mildly star-struck parents. The tale is told in alternating third-person voices, but Natalia's is far better captured than Harry's; his complex needs and emotions are never fully explored the way Natalia's are. In fact, Harry's predictable history of transphobic assault, forced use of the girls' bathroom, humiliation in front of his classmates, and constant deadnaming make him a collection of the pitiable tropes that are familiar to cis audiences but likely discouraging and alienating to trans readers. Harry, Natalia, and Xan all present as white.A tale that's half engaging but never effectively plumbs its full potential. (Fiction. 11-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2018

    Gr 5-8-Twelve-year-old Natalia Rose Baleine Gallagher's father, famous movie star Xan Gallagher, tells her, "We all contain multitudes... Everyone isn't ever all one thing." The same could be said of A Possibility of Whales, a remarkable novel that encompasses more than the usual flotsam and jetsam of turning 13. Nat not only experiences her first period and secret crushes, but also aggressive paparazzi, tabloid secrets, a secret stolen cell phone, miraculous whale sightings, and the painful process of losing one best friend and finding another. At the heart of the novel lies the complex and sensitively drawn friendship between Nat and Harry, a transgender boy, as they both struggle to navigate middle school and the expectations of their families. Nat's witty and vulnerable voice drives the novel, from her wry observations about contemporary celebrity culture to the thoughtful collection of untranslatable words that help define her world. The chapters that center Harry's perspective are just as strong, emphasizing his desire to be seen and understood, not as an abstract exemplar of a transgender child but as an individual. The novel avoids offering simple solutions for questions of identity and adolescence, instead reveling in life's nuance and complexity. VERDICT Perfect for fans of Raymie Nightingale and Counting by Sevens, Rivers's latest work brings an improbable combination of elements together in an unforgettable story that is quirky and wise.-Molly Saunders, Homewood Public Library, AL

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Algonquin Books
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