by Kelly Bingham
Formerly shark girl is a truly beautiful book written in verse. It is the story of a girl who lost her arm in a shark attack as she fights her way through her senior year. She is an amazingly determined character, who any teen can relate to, especially her struggles with her dreams and choosing a college. Unlike some books where things are a bit to cliche or overly dramatic, I think this really hit recovery from a major injury right on. She works long and hard to bring her painting skills back to what they were, since she lost her right hand, and struggles in science with tweezers during a dissection. The small things that don't seem that important and Jane's reaction to them is perfect. I especially loved her conviction that she is fine, that she has moved passed it and her determination to prove herself. When she faces water for the first time, a large swimming pool, and is too proud to admit how her whole world collapsed, I saw a lot of myself in her. I know some people will find it overly whatever, but to me it really is the perfect story. Jane isn't portrayed as some perfect person, and she struggles with the people who tell her the accident had some deeper meaning or something.
I would describe Formerly Shark Girl as a glass of ice tea on a warm day. Some people may find it to sweet, or not sweet enough, but if you have been outside, and are pretty thirsty, than nothing in the world is better.
If that isn't clear, here's the number: I give it a 4.5