Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is graphic description of the physical, mental, and emotional trauma of a 15-year-old girl being attacked by a shark and having her arm amputated. Profanity is present but fairly mild, and there is discussion of having boyfriends, kissing them, etc.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Jane is an award-winning, 15-year-old artist who joins her mother and brother on a routine trip to the beach one summer afternoon. A few hours later, she's attacked by a shark while swimming only four yards from the shore. Her right arm is amputated above the elbow, and her life is changed forever.
Jane is acutely aware of boys and how they'll respond to her with an artificial arm back at school. People reach out to her though, including a "popular senior boy" that stirs some school gossip and tension with a girl friend. Volunteering at the hospital and helps her on her slow journey of self-discovery and acceptance.
Is it any good?
This is an emotional book that's best for the tender-hearted reader ready for some soul-searching. Written using narrative, poems, and letters to Jane from strangers moved by her story, the story follows Jane's slow progress to accepting her traumatic experience. The sadness, hopelessness, and depression felt by the main character, along with emotions of meaningful people in her life, are honestly depicted through dialogue and plot and will be quite moving to the right kind of introspective reader.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the challenges Jane faces when she loses her arm. Can you imagine how this would make your own life more difficult?
Also, parents can ask their teens about the person who videotaped the
attack and then had the film shown on TV.
Was this appropriate, and was
there anything positive to be gained by showing the footage?
For kids who love girl centered stories
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.