Friday, November 27, 2020

The Great White Shark (Dragged from Under #2)

Monninger, Joseph. The Great White Shark (Dragged from Under #2)
January 5th 2021 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

After the events in The Bull Shark, Barn and his mother travel to Maine to spend some time with a friend of hers. As luck would have it, there was just a shark attack on a beach very near where Barn is staying. A boy was killed while surfing, and while Barn knows how sad this is (his father was killed in Afghanistan), he also wants to find out why a shark was in the area. After observing, he realizes that the seal population is very healthy, so sharks are making their way to the area to feed. Surf boards can look like animals, and once a human is accidentally bitten, the blood sets off the shark and tragedies can occur. Sharks don't find humans to be that desirable as food. When Barn sees some other teens surfing even though there are signs up, he calls the police, who caution the boys and don't get them into trouble at all. The leader, Vince, has had run ins with the law before and vows to make Barn "pay" for calling them. Barn's mentor from Florida, Jessup, is in the area for a conference, and Barn's mother wants to know if it is okay for them to date. Barn's friends, Finn and Margaret, are also in the area doing college visits with a cousin. Scientists tag the sharks in order to study them, and the beach is carefully watched during the summer, but Barn almost comes to grief when a run in with Vince and his gang causes him to disregard his own good advice. 
Strengths: Sharks are always an interesting topic, and aside from Spradlin's Into the Killing Seas, Northrop's Surrounded by Sharks and Tarshis' I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916, there really aren't any middle grade novels that revolve around them! I love Barn's scientific interest in the animals, and the balanced approach to different types of grief that he feels. Jessup is a great character, and I don't mind at all if he dates Barn's mother! The storyline with Vince was an interesting way to get Barn to do things he wouldn't have done otherwise.
Weaknesses: I understand why Barn had to travel away from home, but it makes having Jessup and his friends around see a bit forced. 
What I really think: Considering how much interest there is in sharks and how few fictional books incorporate them, I'm really glad to see this series and just with it were available in hardcover. 

Ms. Yingling

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