Shark Girl – Kelly Bingham

615359Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: April 10th, 2007
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Bad Book, Fake Poetry

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On a sunny day in June, at the beach with her mom and brother, fifteen-year-old Jane Arrowood went for a swim. And then everything — absolutely everything — changed. Now she’s counting down the days until she returns to school with her fake arm, where she knows kids will whisper, “That’s her — that’s Shark Girl,” as she passes. In the meantime there are only questions: Why did this happen? Why her? What about her art? What about her life? In this striking first novel, Kelly Bingham uses poems, letters, telephone conversations, and newspaper clippings to look unflinchingly at what it’s like to lose part of yourself – and to summon the courage it takes to find yourself again.


This is the worst book I have read this year. Of course, my opinion is subjective, but God am I disappointed this wasn’t even a little tiny minuscule bit better.

It’s supposed to be poetic, told in verse. But this isn’t what I call poetry and I’m positive real poets, like Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and William Shakespeare have been turning in their graves since the publication of this… er, book.

There’s nothing poetic about it,
unless you consider this,
But I hope you don’t,
because this is

I watched the movie Soul Surfer and adored it—I love survival stories—but this was awfully boring and awfully written. I think if it weren’t told in verse it would have had a chance with me, but it’s not possible now. I can give this ‘‘story’’ as many chances as I can, and yet, I’m still never going to change my mind about it.

And it’s not as if I just really dislike books told in verse, because I read Brown Girl Dreaming not so long ago and found it fantastic. And it’s not as if all of those poems rhymed, so that’s not the problem either.

The problem is this doesn’t feel like a story. It feels as though the author collected short thoughts she wrote as I am writing here and decided at the last minute to go back and skip lines to create some kind of verse style (and I use the word very loosely) but failed miserably at it.

I found no point whatsoever in reading this. I’d rather read something truthfully poetic.


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