By the time you’re reading this, I’ll have landed in Japan and be taking in the sights of Osaka! It’s been a crazy past few weeks wit the lead up to nationals, 3 full days of frisbee, and wrapping up work bits and pieces before our 3 weeks of annual leave kicked in. So my apologies for the lack of reviews being posted on the blog here!
I’m hoping to get back to Sydney refreshed and ready to write again in mid-May 🙂
The sea is inside his blood. Cursed, or blessed, on both sides.
When sixteen-year-old Rudra Solace dredges up a long-hidden secret in his father’s trawl net, his life in the sleepy fishing village of Patonga shifts dramatically. It is not long before Rudra is leaving Australia behind, bound for India on a journey of discovery and danger.
Blurb from Book Depository.
My interest in this story was piqued due to it’s setting in Patonga – a small town we went camping at a handful of times when I was a kid as my dad was working on a job there. Grant does an excellent job of depicting coastal town living, and a life where holidays bring with them an influx of ‘tourists’. I felt sucked in to the sleepy life of the coast, with it’s bored teenagers looking for things to entertain themselves.
Grant doesn’t paint an easy picture of this life though, with xenophobic slurs towards the main character, Rudra, from his teen schoolmates, and a general lack of understanding and comfort with his ‘different’ culture. It’s a theme by no means contained to the smaller, coastal areas of Australia, and I believe that the way Grant handles the subject matter makes this book a good one for young adult readers to pick up early.
The story itself is compelling too, as it delves in to the heartbreaks of migration and disjointed families. Rudra’s father is an emotionally stunted & at times aggressive character, which is always a heart-wrenching kind of character to read (especially when you’re an emotional reader like me!). His mother and grandmother are the real stars of this show though, as they present such strong and encouraging role models for Rudra as the story flows.
Though it took a while to properly feel sucked in to this book, once Rudra and his mother touch down in Bengal I couldn’t stop turning the pages. The people they meet and the magical-realism feel to the setting is enthralling, and my emotions were so tightly wound with Rudra’s by the end I was close to tears.
This was a truly beautiful read that pulled on my heartstrings and made me appreciate the bonds of family and friends (how cheesy, but true!).
Verdict: A heartfelt Aussie YA story, i think younger readers could get a lot out of this one.
Page Length: 288
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
What books have made you tear up recently?
Or, have you read this book (or think you might like to)? What did you think?
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.