The Whaler’s Daughter

Fitzroy. Jul. 2021. 264p. pap. $17.95. ISBN 9781646030705.
Gr 7 Up–Savannah wants nothing more than to become a whaler and prove to her father she has what it takes to carry on the family legacy. They work with orcas to hunt whales, but Savannah believes the orcas are behind the deaths of her brothers, who haunt her. After Savannah joins the crew, thanks to the help of an Aboriginal boy named Figgie and her own near-death experience, things begin to change. The mysterious spirit orca, Jungay, returns to rescue her. Savannah vows to protect the orcas from the business she is learning is more dangerous and complicated than she initially thought. At times the novel, set in 1910 New South Wales, Australia, can be tricky to follow given the plethora of characters. However, Savannah’s coming-of-age story is intriguing and will open many teens’ eyes to a world they’re unfamiliar with. The narrative tackles death—of humans and animals alike. There are some lighter moments to offset the difficult ones. Other than Figgie and his uncle, who are described as Aboriginal, the race of the characters isn’t noted.
VERDICT An additional purchase.

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