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|Not as we know it|
Author: Avery, Tom
Can a mysterious sea creature save eleven-year-old Jamie's very sick twin brother?
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.00
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 183876
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 69357
Kirkus Reviews (06/01/16)
School Library Journal (+) (06/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (06/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2016 Twins Ned and Jamie are nearing twelve, and Ned’s cystic fibrosis is only getting worse. He still insists going about his life as normally as possible, which includes going with Jamie to search for treasure-glass bottles, fishermen’s nets, etc.-along the coast of the English Channel after a storm blows through their small town. Their latest hunt turns up something strange: a small fishlike humanoid with gills and piercing eyes. Their grandfather’s stories about life on the sea leads the boys to believe that Leonard-their name for the creature-is a merman. Jamie finds hope in the old sea yarns, thinking that the merman will cure Ned, but Ned interprets the stories and Leonard’s presence differently: he knows, in fact, that the merman is here to usher him to death with comfort and compassion and at a time of Ned’s choosing. The scene near the book’s conclusion in which Ned and Leonard make their final dive into the sea is absolutely heartbreaking, made more so by the panicked efforts of Jamie and his father to find Ned. Jamie’s narration is straightforward and direct throughout the book, acknowledging Ned’s illness as a fact of life but holding out hope that Leonard must be the miracle cure. Ned and Jamie’s relationship is one of deep connection, filled with shared secrets and desires, so Jamie’s utter devastation at losing the person he considers to be half of himself is keenly palpable. There’s a quiet beauty in Jamie’s ultimate acceptance of Ned’s choice, but both he-and the reader-are left with a haunting sense of loss. KQG - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2016 Gr 4–6—Brothers Ned and Jamie are treasure hunters. Granted, all they find in their tiny fishing village off the coast of England are old fish hooks and forks. Nonetheless, they consider themselves adventurers like the characters on their favorite show, Star Trek. But the boys couldn't be any more different. Ned is the Captain Kirk of the duo, boldly going where no kid has gone before, while Jamie, the narrator, is hesitant and happy to let Ned lead the way. One day they find a mysterious creature suffering and caught in a net. Ned convinces Jamie to bring it home. Jamie is confounded by Ned's affection for this bizarre creature. But when their grandfather tells them mythic tales of mermaids with magical healing powers, Jamie clings to hope. Ned, it is revealed, has cystic fibrosis, which seems to be getting worse, and Jamie is convinced that this creature has come to save his brother. Avery captures Jamie's powerful denial of Ned's illness with heartbreaking precision and deliberate pacing. References made to the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial are rather apt allusions to this story of a mute creature teaching powerful lessons of acceptance. The vivid island setting and the grandfather's evocative stories make this book a true original. VERDICT A heartrending but ultimately uplifting adventure novel for readers ready for a good cry.—Anna Murphy, Berkeley Carroll School Library, Brooklyn - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2016 After a storm, 11-year-old twins Jamie and Ned search the beach for treasure and find a strange “fish-man” creature, washed up and ill. They carry it home and hide it in the garage. Though wasting away from cystic fibrosis, adventurous Ned calls the shots, as he always has: they will care for it secretly and then return it to the sea. Things aren’t so straightforward for Jamie, who knows that his brother is slowly dying and, seeing him drawn to the creature, comes to fear that it’s a merman who means to carry Ned away into the sea forever. The striking jacket illustration conveys an atmosphere of creepiness but not the sense of impending death at the novel’s core. While Ned may be bold and fearless, it’s tentative, conflicted Jamie who narrates the story, which becomes more compelling as it builds toward the inevitable climax. Grandad’s tales of the sea, as well as references to Ned’s beloved Star Trek, are woven through the story, creating vivid patterns within a narrative that is clearly written and emotionally resonant. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.