When Tristan accidentally falls into a shark tank, the sharks, instead of attacking him, seem to be trying to communicate with him. Then when Tristan gets to go to sea camp in the Florida Keys, he learns that he may be specially gifted in communicating with ocean creatures. And his gifts are in demand as he joins a top secret project to protect endangered marine life.
I am not liking this book.
p. 16- Parents are told, politely but firmly, to leave without seeing the camp, when they bring their 12 year old child to a summer sea camp that he and they have never seen before. The mom is a bit over-protective, so this dismissal of the parents wouldn’t be quite so much of a problem were it not for the subsequent events.
p. 48- The children at sea camp are required to swear to keep “everything you see and do here at camp a secret.”
p. 60- The camp directors give the minors under their care a drug (“an amazing substance found in a particular type of algae” that the camp directors hide in the kids’ water bottles) that alters their bodies without informed consent, indeed without any consent. The kids are a little startled when they are told about the drug, after the fact, but they are fine with this water doping because the effect on their bodies is “cool”.
Throughout the book, the author keeps referring to “the teens” when at least two of the kids are twelve years old, not teens.
p. 173- The bad guys plan to dump three of the older teens into the ocean as shark bait because the teens were snooping around their boat. But they’re going to wait until they find the wrecked ship that they are looking for under the ocean. If these bad guys are so bad that they are willing to commit murder, why are they waiting?
If you prefer your marine biology studies embedded in story form, you might like this mystery/adventure. The sea camp kids are recruited to join an undercover group of “sea spies” who use their special abilities to communicate and bond with sea creatures for the purpose of gathering evidence on bad guys who are exploiting the resources of the ocean and harming the creatures that live there. It’s a good premise, and if you can get past the problems that I already enumerated, you might enjoy The Shark Whisperer.
You especially might enjoy it if you’re interested in marine biology because there really are a lot of cool facts about marine life incorporated into the story. However, it’s sometimes hard to tell where fiction diverges from fact. And then there’s the fact that in the story twelve year olds are drugged without their consent, and nobody has a problem with this unauthorized medication. Yeah, I couldn’t get past that.
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This book is also nominated for a Cybil Award, but the views expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect or determine the judging panel’s opinions.