A quiet story that makes a loud noise. This would be perfect therapy for the child who has lost a parent. It’s told from a still grieving 12-year-old girl’s point of view (turns 13 during the second half of the book). Her mother passed away due to cancer. Tal’s summer in Churchill, a town on the west shore of Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba, Canada, is the perfect place for her to heal and find that wishes do come true.
The cover is a beautiful mix of color, but you have to look carefully for clues to the story. The title in a jar. A unicorn like Narwhal,a medium sized toothed whale surfacing in the Arctic. And the Northern lights. The story is equally beautiful, though not for everyone.
PUBLICATION DATE:2015 PAGE COUNT: 240
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): When twelve-year-old Talia—still reeling from the recent death of her mother—is forced to travel with her emotionally and physically distant whale-researcher father to the Arctic for the summer, she begins to wonder if the broken pieces inside of her will ever begin to heal. Like her jar of wishes, Talia feels bottled up and torn. Everything about life in Churchill feels foreign, including Sura, the traditional Inuit woman whom Talia must live with. But when Sura exposes her to the tradition of storytelling, she unlocks something within Talia that has long since been buried: her ability to hope, to believe again in making wishes come true.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT WAITING FOR UNICORNS by Beth Hautala
- A perfect portrayal of how new experiences and new friends can help heal past tragedies.
- After reading the novel I actually wanted to visit this desolate, harsh location in the Arctic. This feeling came from the way the writer’s words brought the landscape to life.
- If you are looking for character growth in a story, this is the one to read. Both Talia, her father, and a young friend find growth in their own way, but it’s with the help of each other that they get there.
- Although this surrounds a heavy topic of loss, the weight is never great. It’s told in a hopeful way.
- Secondary characters were there for a purpose, rather than filling pages. Birdman and his grandson, Simon, were two of my favorite non-main characters to ever grace the pages of an MG novel.
FAVORITE LINES: My chest ached from the strain of a million held-back tears, but I fought to keep them in. And in the early spring darkness, when the purple and green aurora borealis washed against the arctic sky and the still, frozen surface of Hudson Bay, I remembered Mom’s stories.
QUOTE FROM AUTHOR: “I just love writing—getting wrapped and tangled up in beautiful words. There is nothing quite like the high of losing yourself in a good story, whether you are reading it or writing it.” SOURCE
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.