Title: A Possibility of Whales
Author: Karen Rivers
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: March 13, 2018
The story of a girl who—thanks to her friends, her famous dad, and a chance encounter with a whale—learns the true meaning of family.
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.
This book was just amazing!
The characters were so real and moving. Nat has a famous father, but life hasn’t been easy for them. She has never known who her mother is, and her father tries to keep them out of the spotlight and away from the paparazzi. I also loved the character of Harry! He is a transgender boy, which is not common in middle grade stories. Harry struggles with being his true self, because his father insists that he remain a girl.
The pacing of the story was great. There were a couple of reveals at the end. Though they weren’t big mysteries, such as why Nat didn’t like Solly anymore, the suspense kept me guessing.
The kids in this story faced real, adult problems. Kids grow up very fast these days, so it makes sense that the children they read about would have to as well. I absolutely loved this story for both young readers and adults!
Guest Post from Karen Rivers:
How real life inspires fiction, what events from the book were “real” and how my own journey as a single parent informs a lot of my books.
I often tell my students to write what they’ve felt, as opposed to what they’ve known, but all fiction is probably really a combination of both. I wrote A POSSIBILITY OF WHALES remembering how I felt when I was twelve: I was often an outsider, not sure how to fit in. I was betrayed by my best friend more than once. I was scared of how puberty might mean I was no longer a child, and that once I went through it, I would have to be a different version of myself. I carried these things in my heart and into A POSSIBILITY OF WHALES. I knitted Nat up from an idealized version of myself, with a sprinkling of my daughter, a splash of imagination, and a large dollop of her own unique spirit.
Now that I am an adult, I also find myself a single parent. It isn’t what I set out to do, yet here I am. I’m often exploring single-parenting on the page, trying to look at it from all the different perspectives. I know that one of the things my kids experience is a yearning for what they don’t have, what they might have had if things were different, not in terms of material goods, but in terms of family. In many ways, being a single parent is easier; but in other ways, it’s so much harder. I can never be a father to my son. I can only be his mother, and so his journey from boy-to-man is harder than it maybe otherwise would be. I can’t know, because we can’t know what isn’t, only what is. In a way, I am Xan Gallagher, but Xan Gallagher is also very much himself. We both parent with a big dose of humour, we try to be present, we hope we are hearing what our kids are saying. But he has what I don’t have: Vast wealth, which buys him so much time, so he can be with Nat when she needs him, and even when she doesn’t.
Plus, he can play the ukulele.
One of my clearest childhood memories has to do with interacting with whales – in my case, orcas – and seeing their bodies vanishing into the bottle green water beside the boat as they swam under us and all around, their fins rising from the water. The scenes haunt my dreams, still. There is something ethereal about whales, about seeing them in the wild – it’s like making contact with pure magic.
This book, like all books, is of course autobiographical, biographical, and pure fiction. All stirred together, then baked until done. I hope you like it. I loved writing every single word of it.
About the Author:
The winner will receive:
1 signed hardcover copy of A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers
– Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
– Giveaway ends Mon. Mar. 19th @ 12AM EST
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Thank you to Thomas Allen & Son for letting me participate in this blog tour.