Review: The Little Wave
This middle grade verse novel is a pure breath of fresh air, both salty and spirited and raw and earthy thanks to Pip Harry who deftly weaves the stories of upper primary school students from a Manly beachside suburb with those from a NSW regional country town far from the ocean.
The main focus is on three different kids: Noah a surfing junkie with sandy hair and refreshing open-mindedness despite his friendship with the school bully; Lottie an entomologist in the making with a huge heart and a bereft father who can't fill the hole left in his by the death of Lottie's mother; and Jack a tough wannabe cricket star who struggles with his dysfunctional family and an inability to improve at school.
It's the lure of the sea that each have in common. Noah can't get enough of it. Lottie loves exploring the lagoons formed by it in search of a new insect. Jack, just wants to experience its vast freedom after only ever knowing the confines of the country and its artificial pools.
Pip Harry's previous narratives often accentuate a clash of natures and situations. This novel is a fine example of the use of verse to reveal emotions and peel back true character. It's also a sensational reintroduction of the art of pen pal writing, something I grew up with but is alien to many first world kids of today. The glib reaction of Jack's teacher to their initial resistance against letter writing raised a smile and quiet satisfaction as the kids slowly yielded and came to love making friends with their city / country counterparts through letter writing.
The Little Wave, like a rising ocean swell, is powerful, fun, and fast paced; surging with hope and the message that nothing can keep asunder forever. A lovely ode about friendship and new beginnings.
Title: The Little Wave
Author: Pip Harry
Publisher: UQP, $16.95
Publication Date: May 2019
For ages: 8 – 12
Type: Middle Grade Fiction Verse Novel
Buy the Book: UQP, Boomerang Books