Shark Girl (Kelly Bingham)

The last thing 15-year-old Jane Arrowood expected to encounter on that sunny, cheerful day at the beach was a shark. So when she wakes up in the hospital after having been in a coma for days, she's met with the scary realization that her right arm had been amputated.

In this beautiful, verse novel (a novel-length narrative told in poetry), a young artist struggles not only with physically losing a limb, but with how it affects her family and friends as well as her own perception of herself and the world around her.

Oftentimes in stories about disabled people, particularly amputees, we meet inspirational folks who, even after losing part of their body, are amazing artists or athletes. "Shark Girl" is inspirational, too, but it's not sugarcoated, showing Jane's feelings and struggles in everyday life. The protagonist's pain and stubbornness is relatable, the author's language is powerful and enticing, and the format makes it a pleasurable read without being too short.

This is a wonderful novel that will keep you hooked until the end. Ages 11 and up.

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