White Dolphin

(8 reviews with an average rating of 5 out of 5)

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Review

Kara is isolated and lonely, bullied at school for her dyslexia, and struggling to deal with her mother's mysterious disappearance. Her one escape is taking to the waves in her father's boat, Moana - but things hit rock bottom when she realises that her father, who is struggling to find work, may be forced to sell his beloved sailing boat.

Meanwhile, Felix resents his wealthy, well-meaning parents for taking him to live in a sleepy Cornish fishing village, far away from his home and friends London, but things change when he discovers a passion for sailing. Kara and Felix take an instant dislike to each other, especially when Kara discovers her father is planning to sell Moana to Felix's family - at least until a young dolphin, washed up and stranded on the beach, unexpectedly brings them together.

But helping to save the dolphin brings the new friends up against new, more serious challenges: finding out the truth about the disappearance of Kara's marine biologist mother, and protecting the delicate reef in the bay from commercial dredging.

In addition to Kara being dyslexic, Felix has cerebral palsy. Other characters’ attitudes towards him are convincingly diverse – one relative informs Kara that she should feel sorry for the disabled boy, while some of her own age group find it an excuse to ridicule him.  Kara’s own views are also forced to change. She initially finds him bitter and unpleasant, but it soon becomes evident that his animosity is in no way connected with the fact that he happens to be disabled but rather due to the fact that he resents his parents for the move to the seemingly dull seaside town. 

Exciting yet sensitive, tender and thought-provoking, Gill Lewis's second novel follows in the tradition of her first book, Sky Hawk, to tell a carefully-crafted tale of nature, friendship and the importance of protecting our environment.

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