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Whale Song Kindle Edition

5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Length: 208 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

From Booklist

Originally published in Canada in 2003 (but never distributed in the U.S.), this moving story features Sarah Richardson, whose family moves from the Montana countryside to Vancouver Island just as she's about to enter sixth grade. Sarah soon finds that island life suits her perfectly--thanks, especially, to her new best friend, Goldie, whose Native American heritage Sarah finds fascinating, especially the wisdom passed to the girls from Goldie's grandmother, Nana. Sarah is also intrigued to learn that her marine-biologist father shares a passion with her new Indian friends: killer whales, which the natives revere and her father studies. Life isn't all native spirituality, however, as Sarah must confront a family tragedy that will change her life forever. Though overly melodramatic in places, Tardif's story has that perennially crowd-pleasing combination of sweet and sad that so often propels popular commercial fiction, especially coming-of-age stories. Tardif, already a big hit in Canada, may soon be a name to reckon with south of the border. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"A wise, enchanting story."  —The Edmonton Examiner

"Poignant and compelling, a coming-of-age story that addresses important societal issues within a contemporary backdrop."  —Ian Anthony, author, Ace Run

"The story is timeless and the message relevant . . .Whale Song will touch your heart."  —Shannon Lea, author, Stolen Innocence

"A wonderfully well-written novel. Wonderful characters [that] shine. The settings are exquisitely described. The writing is lyrical."  —Writer's Digest

"Deep and true, a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart. Cheryl Kaye Tardif has written a beautiful, haunting novel."  —Luanne Rice, author, Beach Girls and What Matters Most

"A tough act to follow for any written genre."  —Fresh Fiction

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 688 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Imajin Books; 2 edition (May 24 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003NX7LSA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #230,771 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
11-year-old Sarah and her parents, Daniella (an artist), and Jack (a marine biologist), move to Canada from the States. Sarah is not happy about the move but she starts warming up to the idea when she sees their beautiful new house located right along the beach that has an amazing view. She's even more happy when she meets Goldie. The two quickly become best friends. Sarah loves Goldie's family, especially her grandmother who they call Nana most of the time. Goldie is of Indian descent (along with most of the other people in the town where Sarah is living), so Sarah learns new traditions and tales from the past.

Sarah develops a crush on a boy in her class, Adam. She also gets bullied by a girl named Annie. But for the most part she likes her new home. She especially loves going out on the schooner with her parents and listening to the whales, which are Sarah and her mother's new love.

Not long after being in their new home, Sarah's mom starts having fainting spells. It is discovered that she has a rare condition that is slowly wasting her away. When Sarah finds this out she's devastated. Unfortunately, there's nothing anyone can do for her mother. Her doctors only give her about two to three more years to live, max.

When Daniella eventually ends up in a coma, something happens and she dies. Jack (Sarah's father) is arrested for pulling the plug on the machines that were keeping his wife alive. Sadly, after his long-awaited court date, the jury finds him guilty and he's sentenced to ten years in prison.

Sarah has to go back to the U.S. with her grandparents and leave everything behind once again. She tries to block out all that has happened to her back in Canada, even the good things.
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Format: Paperback
The title of this book leaped out at me from its striking cover, but when I started reading, I was captivated by how meaningful the title was to this very moving story. Cheryl Kaye Tardif's words, scenes and characters flowed through the pages so smoothly I almost forgot I was reading. I felt as though I were in Canada with the characters.

This is a story about an eleven-year-old girl, Sarah Richardson, who moves with her family to Vancouver Island, Canada where her father, a biologist, has taken a new job studying killer whales. Sarah makes friends with a neighbor girl, Goldie Dixon, who is a Nootka Indian. Before Sarah moved there, a tragedy occurred in Goldie's family; it involved her older brother, and there is a mysterious tie-in to this novel's title through that occurrence.

Goldie's wise granddmother, Nana, steeped in Indian tradition, plays a major role in Sarah's life, and Goldie's entire family becomes friends with Sarah's family as the story unfolds. When Sarah's mother becomes ill, a boy who has a crush on Sarah gives her a lovely whale figurine which is another tie-in to the title.

What happened in Goldie's family before Sarah came to live there? How does Sarah lose her mother ... and then her father, in uniquely different ways? How does she reclaim them both uniquely different ways? And how does Sarah lose her memory? Why can't she remember the events of the most tragic day in her life? And just how does a whale figure into the plot? Do people who are drowned truly come back as whales, as the Nootkas believe?

That's a long list of questions, I know, but this author answers them with such dexterity, she'll leave you breathless.
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Format: Paperback
In the summer of 1977, eleven-year-old Sarah Richardson is filled with trepidation and resentment when her father's new job forces her to leave her home and best friend in Wyoming to relocate in the remote town of Bamfield on Vancouver Island. But these feelings fade when she sees her gorgeous new house overlooking the ocean and befriends an Indian (a term commonly used for First Nations people in 1977) girl named Goldie. Of course, her idyllic summer with her parents and Goldie doesn't last. Once school begins, Sarah endures long, painful lessons about bullying, racial hatred, and family tragedy.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif's WHALE SONG is an unusual mystery. Although the story opens with an adult Sarah reflecting back on the summer that changed her life, Tardif eases into young Sarah's point of view as the story unfolds, turning the book into a young adult novel. But then adult Sarah slides briefly back into the story with ominous foreshadowing about events she wished she'd seen coming.

The other unique aspect is that the mystery doesn't occur until two thirds into the book. Certainly, the reader feels tension building among main characters and a grim situation inevitably spiraling out of control. But death, a police investigation, and murder charge don't occur until the reader knows the Richardson family so well that we feel their anguish. Some mystery fans might loathe the pacing of events, yet it's important to understand that mystery is only one facet of this multi-layered story. Crime might not be center stage in WHALE SONG, however, it's essential to the story.

Cross-genre novels are hard to pigeonhole, and this one will be a challenge for librarians and booksellers.
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