Safe Harbour

Dundurn. Dec. 2019. 264p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781459745186.
Gr 7 Up–Ever since her mother died when she was young, Harbour Mandrayke and her father have been living on their sailboat, until her father sends her away to await his arrival with the boat to begin their lives anew. Now, Harbour is camping out in a ravine in a park in Toronto. As time passes, Harbour begins to have doubts about her father’s impending arrival; he never gave an exact date and there are reasons that a sailboat could be delayed. As more and more time passes and Harbour befriends another homeless teen, Lise, she begins to open up about her life, as well as some of her father’s worrying conspiracy theories and the true reason he wanted them to move to Toronto. Part mystery and part realistic fiction, this novel presents the reader with a classic unreliable narrator. Harbour’s past and the realities of her present are revealed a little bit at a time throughout the story. Readers are not sure which “facts” she presents are actual memory and truth, and which are fictions created by her absent father.
VERDICT A unique and educational read that presents a new look at homelessness and mental illness. A must-purchase in areas where homelessness, especially teen homelessness, is a prevalent issue.

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