Title: Song for a Whale
Author: Lynne Kelly
Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Number of Pages: 303
Iris is a gifted twelve-year-old Deaf girl who is passionate about restoring old radio equipment. She goes to a school filled mostly with hearing children and she wants to switch schools so she can be around other Deaf kids her own age, but her mom thinks mainstreaming is good for her. When Iris’ teacher gives a lesson who revolves around a whale who is isolated from other whales because of his unusual song, Iris becomes obsessed with finding him and creating a device that replicates his song to make him feel less alone.
She goes out to find the whale and even though her parents aren’t on board with her impromptu trip, her grandmother (who is also Deaf) helps her lie to her parents and go on a cruise towards her intended destination. Being an adult reader and not a kid, Iris’ grandma annoyed me because she seemed like an enabler and Iris could have used to be a little more patient when it came to getting to do the things she wanted. I mostly thought this book was just okay because it relies heavily on sentimentality and a series of contrivances to tell it’s story. Everything ends up going perfectly in a roundabout way for Iris.
She even dives into the ocean WITH the whale and has an intimate up-close moment only inches away from the object of her obsession. It didn’t seem realistic that adults would let her get away with as much as she did and I found myself getting irritated with her even though her intentions were obviously good. I liked the whole premise of a Deaf girl fascinated with radios trying to communicate with an ostracized whale, but I just didn’t enjoy this book as much as I wanted to.