Julia and the Shark
Julia is spending the summer on the remote Scottish island of Unst while her dad makes its old lighthouse automated. Her marine biologist mother plans to use the northern location to search for the Greenland shark. But a lack of funding, bullies and health problems mean the family risk losing more than they find. Meanwhile, the Greenland shark haunts Julia's dreams, warning her that something terrible is about to happen.
Millwood Hargrave's lyrical writing shines throughout this story, which includes poetry as well as prose. Every page is a treat to read.
Julia was a convincing character with a clear voice. Her bond with her mum is incredibly strong and adds to the emotional impact of the story.
Julia and the Shark offers an important and sensitive look at bipolar disorder and mental health. It makes for upsetting reading in places, and I think it would be a good book to discuss with children after they've read it, as there's a lot to unpack and think about. There is also a really useful list of resources at the back.
The illustrations work wonderfully with the text and make this an incredibly special book. The digital proof was beautiful, but I'm really looking forward to being able to buy a physical copy to look at the illustrations in more detail.
Julia and the Shark is written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and illustrated by Tom de Freston
I was provided with an advanced copy for review through NetGalley