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Whale Song by [Tardif, Cheryl Kaye]
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Whale Song Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 233 customer reviews

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Length: 208 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Originally published in Canada in 2003 (but never distributed in the U.S.), this moving story features Sarah Richardson, whose family moves from the Montana countryside to Vancouver Island just as she's about to enter sixth grade. Sarah soon finds that island life suits her perfectly--thanks, especially, to her new best friend, Goldie, whose Native American heritage Sarah finds fascinating, especially the wisdom passed to the girls from Goldie's grandmother, Nana. Sarah is also intrigued to learn that her marine-biologist father shares a passion with her new Indian friends: killer whales, which the natives revere and her father studies. Life isn't all native spirituality, however, as Sarah must confront a family tragedy that will change her life forever. Though overly melodramatic in places, Tardif's story has that perennially crowd-pleasing combination of sweet and sad that so often propels popular commercial fiction, especially coming-of-age stories. Tardif, already a big hit in Canada, may soon be a name to reckon with south of the border. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Moving...perennially crowd-pleasing combination of sweet and sad...Tardif, already a big hit in Canada...a name to reckon with south of the border." BOOKLIST

"Whale Song is deep and true, a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart. Cheryl Kaye Tardif has written a beautiful, haunting novel." ―New York Times Bestselling novelist Luanne Rice, author of Beach Girls

"I read Whale Song and loved it." ―Jodelle Ferland, actress (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Case 39)

"Cheryl Kaye Tardif's novel, Whale Song, would be a tough act to follow for any written genre." ―Fresh Fiction

"Tardif again leaves a lasting mark on her readers...Moving and irresistible." ―Midwest Book Review

"Whale Song is reminiscent of Ring of Endless Light by M. L'Engle, and Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd." ―Carol D. O'Dell, author of Mothering Mother

Product Details

  • File Size: 688 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Imajin Books; 2 edition (May 24, 2010)
  • Publication Date: May 24, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003NX7LSA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,873 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By betty l. dravis VINE VOICE on January 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
The title of this book leaped out at me from its striking cover, but when I started reading, I was captivated by how meaningful the title was to this very moving story. Cheryl Kaye Tardif's words, scenes and characters flowed through the pages so smoothly I almost forgot I was reading. I felt as though I were in Canada with the characters.

This is a story about an eleven-year-old girl, Sarah Richardson, who moves with her family to Vancouver Island, Canada where her father, a biologist, has taken a new job studying killer whales. Sarah makes friends with a neighbor girl, Goldie Dixon, who is a Nootka Indian. Before Sarah moved there, a tragedy occurred in Goldie's family; it involved her older brother, and there is a mysterious tie-in to this novel's title through that occurrence.

Goldie's wise granddmother, Nana, steeped in Indian tradition, plays a major role in Sarah's life, and Goldie's entire family becomes friends with Sarah's family as the story unfolds. When Sarah's mother becomes ill, a boy who has a crush on Sarah gives her a lovely whale figurine which is another tie-in to the title.

What happened in Goldie's family before Sarah came to live there? How does Sarah lose her mother ... and then her father, in uniquely different ways? How does she reclaim them both uniquely different ways? And how does Sarah lose her memory? Why can't she remember the events of the most tragic day in her life? And just how does a whale figure into the plot? Do people who are drowned truly come back as whales, as the Nootkas believe?

That's a long list of questions, I know, but this author answers them with such dexterity, she'll leave you breathless.
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Format: Paperback
Fresh in from Wyoming, Sarah is the new girl on Vancouver Island in Canada. Along the island's shores, Sarah finds a wonderful new way of life and unexpected friends. It soon looks that the rest of her childhood will be spent in an idyllic atmosphere.

Things slowly change as Sarah's mother succumbs to a devastating illness. Her life is shattered when her mother dies and father is accused of murder. Struck by the loss of a memory that could either help or irreparably harm her father, Sarah slides into a prolonged period of torment in which she resists a tribal chief's promise that a wolf will guide her to the truth of that horrible day her mother died.

Sarah has a chance to find peace and happiness, but the journey may be more than she can bear.

Author Cheryl Kaye Tardif offers a sometimes sentimental, sometimes shocking story about the effect of tragedy on a young life. The abrupt change from an ideal childhood to the aftermath of a frightening ordeal is a premise with a great deal of potential. Tardif explores some wonderful aspects here, but there could have been so much more. More than half of the book is spent in weaving the structure of Sarah's life on Vancouver Island. The meat of the story, Sarah's transformation from happy child to troubled teen and adult is skimmed over, a list of highlights from the years following her mother's death.

While the first half of the book is beautifully written, there is the feel of a major disconnect between it and the ending. The author tries to tie it in with hints dropped in the form of foreshadowing, but this technique is iffy at best.

All told, I have to give this novel an average rating. WHALE SONG has the soul of a great literary work, but the surface was only scraped.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am thrilled to be introduced to Whale Song by Cheryl Kaye Tardif. This talented author has written a moving tale that touched my heart. From the opening page of the prologue, I was captivated.

Eleven year old Sarah Richardson has her world uprooted when her parents move from a ranch in Wyoming to Vancouver Island, Canada. Her father is a biology professor who has taken a job studying killer whales. Things are difficult for Sarah at first, but she is fortunate to meet Goldie Dixon, a neighbor of the same age who happens to be a Nootka Indian. Goldie's older brother drowned and her Indian tradition believes that he has come back as a whale and speaks to her. As Sarah faces a family tragedy, Goldie and her wise grandmother, Nana, will help Sarah navigate the rough road that lies ahead.

Whale Song is a powerfully moving story that had me in tears more than once (and I'm not usually an emotional reader). It's a tale of love and sacrifice, friendship and survival, and doing what is best for those you love--despite the cost. But what makes Whale Song sing is Tardif's beautiful writing. I picked it up one afternoon and couldn't put it down until I was finished.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif has written two other books, Divine Intervention and The River. I have definitely added them to my reading list.
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Format: Paperback
Only child, star in her parent's crown, Sarah's fairytale life takes a startling and sad turn. Whale Song is beautifully written, and though not an action novel, it is a page turner. The novel is emotionally evocative (I shed tears for Sarah and her companions) but there are many, many heartwarming and encouraging aspects. You quickly become embroiled in the narrator's life, and Sarah's voice is so strong you could believe you are reading a true story. The characters are convincing, engaging and memorable. I found myself thinking about the novel and its "lessons" while driving to work, often in fact. The Native American mysticism was particularly well done and interesting.

The story begins when 11-year-old Sarah, her mother and father move from Wyoming to Vancouver--from the mountains to the sea. Her father is a marine biologist, her mother an artist. Sarah is devastated by the move but soon makes friends with a Native American girl named Goldie and is accepted by Goldie's family and her wise woman grandmother Nana but at school another Native American student teaches Sarah about discrimination and cruelty.

Whale Song follows Sarah as she matures--her tragedies and triumphs--to a satisfying end.
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