Title: Music for Tigers
Author: Michelle Kadarusman
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Pajama Press
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer with her mom’s eccentric Australian relatives, middle schooler and passionate violinist Louisa is prepared to be resentful. But life at the family’s remote camp in the Tasmanian rainforest is intriguing, to say the least. There are pig-footed bandicoots, scary spiders, weird noises and odors in the night, and a quirky boy named Colin who cooks the most amazing meals. Not the least strange is her Uncle Ruff, with his unusual pet and veiled hints about something named Convict Rock.
Finally, Louisa learns the truth: Convict Rock is a sanctuary established by her great-grandmother Eleanor—a sanctuary for Tasmanian tigers, Australia’s huge marsupials that were famously hunted into extinction almost a hundred years ago. Or so the world believes. Hidden in the rainforest at Convict Rock, one tiger remains. But now the sanctuary is threatened by a mining operation, and the last Tasmanian tiger must be lured deeper into the forest. The problem is, not since her great-grandmother has a member of the family been able to earn the shy tigers’ trust.
As the summer progresses, Louisa forges unexpected connections with Colin, with the forest, and—through Eleanor’s journal—with her great-grandmother. She begins to suspect the key to saving the tiger is her very own music. But will her plan work? Or will the enigmatic Tasmanian tiger disappear once again, this time forever?
A moving coming-of-age story wrapped up in the moss, leaves, and blue gums of the Tasmanian rainforest where, hidden under giant ferns, crouches its most beloved, and lost, creature.
Louisa is sent to Tasmania to stay with her uncle for the summer when her parents go on a research trip. Her Uncle Ruff lives in a remote camp where he looks after a variety of wild animals. He gives Louisa a journal belonging to her great-grandmother, who rescued Tasmanian tigers. Even though Tasmanian tigers were thought to be extinct for centuries, Louisa’s family knows that they are secretly around the island. Now, Louisa is the only one who holds the secret to rescuing the remaining tiger.
I learned so much while reading this book. I realized recently that I have read books by Australian authors, but none that are set in Australia. I was so glad to discover that this one was set there. I loved learning about the different animals in Tasmania that I didn’t know before. The fictional mystery around the extinction of Tasmanian tigers was so great. It makes me wonder how many creatures that are thought to be extinct could be hiding out somewhere in the world.
This book was less than 200 pages, yet there was so much to the story. The important topic of animal extinction was discussed a lot. Louisa also had anxiety surrounding her performing music on her violin. She met a boy named Colin, who was autistic. Louisa was eager to learn about Colin and how to help him navigate the world of social interaction. These were relevant topics to be in a middle grade novel.
I loved this book!
Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman
The Theory of Hummingbirds by Michelle Kadarusman
Have you read Music for Tigers? What did you think of it?