TITLE: The Line Tender
AUTHOR: Kate Allen
"The Line Tender is the story of Lucy, the daughter of a marine biologist and a rescue diver, and the summer that changes her life. If she ever wants to lift the cloud of grief over her family and community, she must complete the research her late mother began. She must follow the sharks.
Wherever the sharks led, Lucy Everhart’s marine-biologist mother was sure to follow. In fact, she was on a boat far off the coast of Massachusetts, preparing to swim with a Great White, when she died suddenly. Lucy was eight. Since then Lucy and her father have done OK—thanks in large part to her best friend, Fred, and a few close friends and neighbors. But June of her twelfth summer brings more than the end of school and a heat wave to sleepy Rockport. On one steamy day, the tide brings a Great White—and then another tragedy, cutting short a friendship everyone insists was “meaningful” but no one can tell Lucy what it all meant. To survive the fresh wave of grief, Lucy must grab the line that connects her depressed father, a stubborn fisherman, and a curious old widower to her mother’s unfinished research. If Lucy can find a way to help this unlikely quartet follow the sharks her mother loved, she’ll finally be able to look beyond what she’s lost and toward what’s left to be discovered."
This book is targeted at 10-13 year olds, but I think adults can enjoy it too. The writing is lovely and the story poignant, sad and hopeful. The shark sketches throughout the book were beautiful too. This is a kid's book so I can't complain too much about all the adults accommodating every impulsive whim of the child narrator. ;) Or maybe the adults in this book are just really kind. I like that the book was set in the 1990s - no-one was glued to a cell phone or TV, the kids were mostly "free range" and the atmosphere was relaxed. There are some really fascinating facts about sharks and shark tracking that highlight the need for shark conservation without being heavy handed and preachy about it. Ultimately the book is about loss and coping with that loss.