The Little Wave

The Little Wave
Written by Pip Harry
Middle Grade, Contemporary, Verse, #LoveOZMG
30th April 2019
234 Pages
Thank you to UQP
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★★★★★
When a Manly school sets out to bring a country class to the city for a beach visit, three very different kids find each other and themselves.

Noah is fearless in the surf. Being at the beach makes him feel free. So where does his courage go when his best mate pushes him around?

Lottie loves collecting facts about bugs, but she wishes her dad would stop filling their lonely house with junk. She doesn’t know what to do about it.

Jack wants to be a cricket star, but first he has to get to school and look after his little sister. Especially if he wants to go on the class trip and see the ocean for the first time.
The students of the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly are fundraising for an excursion to Manly Beach for the students in the rural town of Mullin New South Wales. The children of Mullin haven't been afforded the opportunity to visit the city of Sydney, the warm sandy beaches and crashing waves only seen on television or in photos including student Jack, amateur cricketer and Mullin resident. Noah and Lottie are given the responsibility of organising the fundraiser and the three children become unlikely friends.

Lottie lives with her single father after losing her mother, immersing herself within her entomology studies, passionate about insects and the local native flora. At home, Lottie's father continues to grieve the loss of his wife through his hoarding disorder. His collections of items spilling out of the house into the garden and causing the neighbours to complain to the local council. Noah is an enthusiastic surfer, under the vigilant watch of his parents since he was rescued from drowning. His best friend Harley is becoming increasingly aggressive towards Noah and with support from new friend Lottie and Jack's letters, gains the confidence to stand up for himself against his bully.

Jack and sister Kirra live with their mother in Mullin and although his mother words endlessly, he and Kirra have cousin Alby for company. The fridge and pantry and typically empty and their mother unaware of the absences Jack has from school, pressured by Alby who has finished school. When Jack's mother decides to seek support for her alcoholism, Kirra and Jack are sent to live with their aunt. Sleeping on the floor until a teacher intervenes.

Children from low socioeconomic backgrounds, exposed to neglect, alcoholism and depression, expected to care for younger siblings and themselves. The expectations placed upon children and the mental anguish they endure, Jack in particular feeling a sense of isolation. His mother was consistently working or tired, which likely may have been hungover. Lottie grieving for her mother while her father becomes depressive and her only support is the solace she finds in her tentative friendship with Noah, her insects and her letters from Mullin teacher Miss Waites.

Pip Harry has created a beautiful narrative. Told in verse, The Little Wave is a wonderfully gentle story that will resonate with children and early adolescents, the feeling of wanting to belong. Simply lovely.

5 comments

  1. This sounds like one that will tug at my heartstrings. I always find middle grades books to handle sensitive subjects in the best way too. Lovely review.

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  2. I love verse novels. I really need to read some more. I'm glad you liked this one. It sounds like it focuses on some tough, but important and relevant issues that kids face these days.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  3. This review, and this book, made me feel so many things.
    I just wanted to hug each and every single one of these three protagonists and make their lives better, especially Jack and Lottie.
    I flew through this book, but it was such a powerful and wonderful read. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, too. ♥

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  4. In love with the cover! I love verse novels a lot. This sounds like a really nice and important book! I'm glad you loved it so much!

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