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on July 22, 2007
What begins as a typical day at the beach ends in tragedy. While swimming in the ocean, with her mother and older brother looking on, Jane loses her arm to a shark. Needless to say, her life changes forever. While recovering from her loss, she must visit the hospital, the psychiatrist, and the physical therapist in turn. She details these appointments as well as her readjustment to life at home and high school. As different people attempt to heal her body and question her abilities, Jane must try to heal her own spirit and mind.

Jane was once an artist, dependent upon that arm, that hand, those fingers to express herself on paper. Her other arm is fine, but her thoughts don't flow as freely down that way, and her other hand and fingers feel awkward, pudgy, unable to capture the pictures in her mind's eye. Everything looks and feels wrong, wrong, wrong.

Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham is 95% verse novel, with news clippings, letters, and phone conversations interspersed. At first, Jane feels as though she is maybe half of who she once was - maybe even less - but as she attempts to regain control of her life and regrasp her talents, she starts to feel whole again. This book is 100% heart. Recommended.
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on April 10, 2007
This is a book you can't put down. The character is strong, likeable, and believable. You will admire her courage and the obstacles she faces in her return to "normal" life. This book is written in prose with letters, conversations and newspaper articles mixed in, which makes it seem so real. You will want to see how Jane overcomes this huge loss and picks up the threads of her life. A heart-warming read!
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on June 9, 2013
I've had this book on my Kindle for a while. I watched the movie over the holidays and decided I would read the book. Little did I know the two were not related. However, I really enjoyed the book. There were a lot of similarities between the two.

The author has written the story more like a diary from Jane's perspective. Picking up in the hospital after waking up for the injury, the story moves very quickly. The author has clearly covered all areas of concern for Jane and how she is able to deal with them. From interactions with her mom and brother, and extended family, all concerned about her returning to daily activities and being an artist. To her friends and their willingness to accept her with her being different now. And my favorite part was the relationship she makes with Justin, a little boy dealing with the loss of his leg.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has seen the movie and enjoyed it. A very quick read. And also would recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with anything in their life. There was a great message about picking up and continuing on.
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on November 3, 2014
On a sunny day in June, at the beach with her mom and brother, fifteen-year-old Jane Arrowood went for a swim. And then everything — absolutely everything — changed. This book is Jane's story of how she deals with losing her arm in a shark attack. She has many questions: Why did this happen? Why her? What about her art? What about her life? I really liked this book because it tells what it’s like to lose part of yourself and to have the courage it takes to find yourself again.

This book is in the genre of biographical fiction. It tells the story of one girl's experience. It is written in free verse poetry and uses poems, letters, telephone conversations, inner conversation, and description of thoughts and events. This is the first time I ever read a book like this. Many people think this style is not very descripted, but it allowed to use my imagination on the details of the setting and I thought it was VERY descriptive on thoughts and emotions.

I could really relate to Jane. She is about the same age as me dealing with the same situations with school and friends. I could put myself in her shoes and imagine how I might feel if I were her by the way she describes it. In this book you could feel how much pain, suffering, and frustration that her and her whole family had to go through. Especially when it was little things that teenagers go through. This is also very relatable to parents, because it could be same way that the parents would react if they were in her mom's situation and same with family members. This story can relate to anyone that reads it.

I really really did enjoy this book and I suggest that everyone should read it. It had a very different kind of writing style to it and that's what made it interesting, entertaining, and really different. It may not be for every one but definitely is worth trying out.

By: Alivia Roberts
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on January 2, 2016
I liked this story. The main character changes a lot and while it may be a tad predicable sometimes that's just what you need.

Its written in easy to understand language from the perspective of a 15 year old who lost an arm in a shark attack. It has letters added in sporadically and overall I think it would be an excellent read for a teen.

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on March 20, 2014
I liked the realistic element of the story. Another thing I liked was that the story was written in verse format, so it was a short read. I liked how it included news articles and letters from people who were inspired by Jane’s story.

This book is good for children in 4th grade all the way through 7th or 8th grade. There are a couple of swear words in the book, but nothing to be worried about.

I liked this book a lot and I would suggest it to anyone!

Student Reviewer: Peace8747
Age at time of review - 11
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on November 27, 2009
SHARK GIRL by Kelly Bingham is a fast and unusual read. It's written in verse (a style I increasingly love because you can read it so quickly) and it's told by a girl who loses her arm in a shark attack. It's a heartfelt story about what it means to lose something precious. That's obvious, right? I mean, we're talking about an arm here! Somehow, the author manages to convey precisely how it would feel to live with only one arm, the likely awkwardness, the new skills that must be learned. Particularly poignant is the narrator's relationship with her mother and her brother, who treats her the same and who eventually just says, "I don't care how many limbs you have. You need to help me with chores." (He doesn't quite put it like that, but you get the idea.) Because what the narrator wants more than anything is to be treated as a person, not as a person missing an arm.

SHARK GIRL is probably won't be the first book you think of to buy or read. But if you do either, you won't regret it.
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on April 20, 2010
Shark Girl is a very very fast paced read. Being set up as a poem structure you don't really feel as though you are reading a typical books. It is very easy to find yourself halfway through the book within a few hours. I finished this book in one sitting. The story is that of a very unlucky little girl that is attacked by a shark. After having mangles her arm terribly that doctors had to amputate, and this is the story of a survivor and struggling to find comfort in her old life. I was exceptionally intrigued by the friend she of Justin and Jane; it was amazing to see how the younger boy was able to accept his disability and more forward. It is heart wrenching to watch Jane possible destructive behavior turned around by the support of a younger child. This story is one that will leave you thinking way past the last page. Just what would you do if you were to lose a arm or a leg? Would we be the strong survivor or would we wallow and lose ourselves in defeat.
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on May 12, 2010
Most of us struggle with how we want to be perceived or defined. Am I a good student, a great athlete, an amazing artist? All that was snatched from high schooler Jane. In one moment, she was the victim of a shark attack and barely survived. Now, she would be forever defined as shark girl or the girl with one arm. No more brilliant artist or talented athlete. Shark girl. Or, so she thinks. This novel is written in stream-of-consciousness verse, conversations, newspaper articles and poems (see example below) to capture Jane's road to recovery and the redefinition of self.
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on January 15, 2012
Well this is every ones worst nightmare. A day at the beach turns into a fight for life. As young Jane loses her arm to a shark attack. Her life is changed forever. Follow her along the painful trial as she faces her friends, her family, other people who have lost limbs. Jane who was once an aspiring artist has a hard time using the arm that she didn't use to draw. Shark girl is a verse novel. But it is good though. Clippings and letters and phone conversations tell the story about what this young girl has gone through and what she continues to face. After a shark attack. I loved this book, reminded me of Bethany Hamilton and it reminded me to keep holding on.
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