Down in the belly of the whale – Kelley Kay Bowles

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I liked this story very much and read very quickly, as a page turner. I was especially entranced by the young narrator voice, the best facet of the book: Harper sounds like a very credible gifted teenager, clever and funny, in a self deprecating kind of way, and a bubbling mind, which frequently let her to obsess about some thing or another. She’s smart and wise, but can also be very short sighted in some situations (her infatuation with a boy based only on his looks for instance), marking her as still a very young person, and never an adult.

The other characters weren’t quite as good, but only for lack of correct exposition: at the exception of the mother, a strong figure with a delightful personality, most characters felt like not really stereotypical, but left at a first draft. Not because of a lack of skill, but more because of the choice of telling about a lot of things at the same time.

In general, even if I really appreciated the story and am looking forward reading the next author’s book, I had the impression of overabundance of themes used, at their disadvantage.

I applaud the author’s efforts to developed some strong situations for her heroine, but I couldn’t help thinking that it was too much for the book. In the end it felt a little more pedagogical than naturally included in the story.

Another point that felt a bit discordant was the funny and light beginning which suddenly sank in dark reality facts. Harper’s arch voice was suddenly lost, of course, she wouldn’t keep her sparkling tone, and I felt like jumping from one book to another one at full speed…

All in all I’m just quibbling, as usual, because contemporary YA book is my favourite, and I’m always spliting hairs about tiny details… shame on me!

To conclude I warmly recommend this book, for its endearing heroine and its story which doesn’t shy to show difficult realities and explains how the right attitude can make a real difference.

 

Published May 5th 2018 by Aionios Books, LLC

Paperback, 235 pages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(A review copy (e-galley) of this book was provided by the publisher through netgalley)

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