Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars
I have been wanting to read this book a long time. I am not sure why except that the synopsis sounded completely intriguing to me. It ended up being a very interesting, introspective, raw and disturbing read.
Rudy is forced to move out to a desolate island with his family. Out at this island there is a type of fish that seems to be helping his young brother (who has cystic fibrosis) get better. While out there he meets a strange fish boy, and finds out that the miracle fish have a steep cost.
This was very well written and very atmospheric. The descriptions are both beautiful and horrible. The writing is a bit raw at times, there is a lot of swearing, and some gruesome imagery. The events that take place are never really described in detail but what the reader is left to assume is happening is very disturbing.
Rudy is a typical troublemaker sort of teen boy before he moves out onto this island. His main pastimes are smoking, drinking, and sleeping around. On the island though he feels like he is in purgatory, there is only one other girl on the island even close to his age and she won’t leave her house. Rudy starts drawing again, but his life mainly revolves around his brother’s health.
All that changes when Rudy meets Teeth. Teeth is a half fish, half boy (merman) of sorts who has a sad story and an even sadder existence. Teeth sees the special fish as his siblings and tries to protect them from the fishermen. When Ruby realizes this he is torn between having to choose between his brother’s recovery and his friendship/attraction to Teeth.
This is an interesting read about magic, loneliness, and what humans will do when they are desperate. Moskowitz assumes that readers are intelligent and doesn’t necessarily spell everything out for you. At times this makes the story kind of ambiguous. As a reader you pretty much know what’s going on but you kind of hope you are wrong.
There’s a lot of thought-provoking parts to the story where the question is raised about what is right. For example when is it right to sacrifice something to save something else? Aside from Teeth the magic in the story is very subtle.
The book is well written and engaging. It ties things up in a realistic, if not fully satisfying, way. It’s definitely not an uplifting story either.
Overall I enjoyed it and thought it was an intriguing read. It’s not a comfortable read and none of the characters are really all that likable. However it is an interesting read and explores some interesting issues. There is a lot of swearing and violence, so just beaware of that…probably best for older teens. The story is a bit disturbing and uncomfortable at points. Still it was different from a lot of other things I have read and I liked it.