This has been on my TBR since before it was even published… and it did not disappoint! A clever melding of belief and reality, loss and discovery, fantasy and contemporary, it lured me in and held me. It’s been a while since I’ve read magic realism, and I sank back into it like a comfy couch.
‘The Shark Caller’ has a funky set-up that I loved, interspersing main character Izzy’s narrative with the POV of a shark (mako). The latter is beautifully set out on the page, not so much chapters as poetry and art. In fact, the whole book is beautiful.
It has a suite of diverse characters, and interweaves Tok Pisin with English so you get immersed in the setting of Papua New Guinea.
It’s fresh, it’s different.
I’m a fan.
I also loved the environmental themes so lightly placed within. I especially loved how Wolfer didn’t try to fix the issues of deforestation and declining reef health solely through magical means – Izzy accepts that more needs to be done, and even thinks through what she could do to help once she returns to Australia. What an empowering example for teens reading this book.
As I admitted earlier, I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while… ever since I heard Wolfer give a reading in an atmospheric chapel lit by the flickering glow of false tealights (because, hey, no one wants to burn down atmospheric chapels…). It so happens the future publisher was also in the chapel, and the rest is history.
That’s what I love about SCBWI… if it was just about finding like-minded awesome creative buddies it would actually be enough. But it doesn’t stop there, SCBWI keeps working to make us better writers and/or illustrators, and open doors to publishing.
And that means more great books like this one!