The Minnow 9
Paperback / softback Publication Date: 28/05/2014
OFF RRP $19.99 $17.11
Paperback / softback Publication Date: 28/05/2014
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An Unusual YA Story
I found this a very quick read, I started at midnight with the plan to just see what it was like and before I realised I was up to chapter 8! I finished it later the same day.
This story is about 'Tom' a 14 year old girl from the small costal town referred to as The Crossing. On Mothers Day there was a devastating flood which claimed the lives of Tom's parents & sister, along with many others from the town. To start with Tom lives with an older man Bill in his fishing shack (its not really explained why or how this came about) until she gets pregnant (to Bill) and Tom decides to move in with her best friend Jonah who is 2 years older than her, living in his old house on his own (his parents died too).
As Tom struggles to come to terms with all the changes in her life she has her Nana who lives in a nursing home, Jonah's grandfather Jonathan (who is also in love with her Nana), the new teacher James Wo and Sargent Griffin to guide and advise her. But Tom also has 'others' she talks with, her late Papa, Oscar the Carp, Sarah the Catfish and The Minnow - which is what she calls the baby. It is never done in a 'she's crazy' way. Its treated as an entirely normal situation.
This is a moving 'coming of age' story about two young teenagers struggling to make a life on their own with many changes they have to deal with. While this is a great YA book its not to 'simple' for adults to enjoy as well.
If this isnt the definition of unique, then I dont know what is.
The Minnow totally met the bar for my expectations. Many of my fellow Aussie book bloggers has read this book and pretty much all of them raved about it. Being the very inquisitive bookworm I am, I just had to know what it was about.
But back to the unique side of the book: I have never come across a book about a girl who can talk to animals, ghosts AND an unborn baby. Or about a pregnant (then fourteen) fifteen year old girl before.
I think the thing about The Minnow that touched me the most had to be Tom herself. To be honest, I still dont know whether she genuinely was seeing ghosts or whether it was just her way of coping with her life, but either way it was so interesting. Tom was quite a strange character, but she was loyal and I liked reading about her. Everything about her was unique: her situation, her personality and yeah, well, everything.
This next comment is probably going to contradict my whole review though. Because something wasntunique. Im pretty sure I just heard you gasp. The Minnow just had the same character voice as other purposely weird books do. Im not saying that this is a bad thing, actually I liked it, but I cant say this is an honest review if I claim that EVERYTHING was unique.
The relationships formed in this book really seemed to grow. Or in at least one case, decrease. But I dont like that said relationship. But whether it was the friendship between Tom and Jonah, or Tom and Nanna or even Tom and The Minnow, it was all good.
There were quite a few turns I didnt see coming though. All of a sudden something very abrupt and life changing for the characters amid what was typically a slow story. A little too slow actually. But it made for an easy read. Which of course had deeper meaning.
Im glad I read The Minnow and would definitely recommend it to someone looking for something a little different. I would probably suggest it for ages twelve and up. Just because its YA doesnt mean that adults shouldnt give it a go. I think that this is the sort of book that could definitely be enjoyed by adults too!
3.5/5 comets. Looks like the start of an apocalypse! Nearly there.
Bittersweet and moving
The Minnow is an interesting read that deals with loss and the need to find a new place in the world. Tom (Holly, the name she was born with) has suffered a tragic loss and then finds herself pregnant in her mid teens. The man who is the biological father of her child is not the most reliable of individuals. So the only person she can turn to is her best friend Jonah.
Tom goes through her days, avoiding everyday tasks like school. Perhaps because she doesn't want things to return back to normal and forget what she lost. Jonah, her nana and Jonah's grandfather Jonathan, as well as others in the town, help Tom adjust and ready herself for her life. The community sentiment of helping your neighbour is heart warming.
The story does have a few, I would say, flash backs. It isn't always chronological. Sweeney has the story go back to highlight a point before returning to the present to explain why something happens. It can be confusing but it does serve a purpose.
What is interesting and endearing is the blending of this world and the next. The conversations Tom has with departed loved ones and creatures serves a purpose. The talks she has are sweet and help her make sense of the world that she now embodies. It goes to show that those we love never really leave us.