Featured Review: Music for Tigers (Michelle Kadarusman)

50618252._SX318_

About This Book:

Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer with her mom’s eccentric Australian relatives, middle schooler and passionate violinist Louisa is prepared to be resentful. But life at the family’s remote camp in the Tasmanian rainforest is intriguing, to say the least. There are pig-footed bandicoots, scary spiders, weird noises and odors in the night, and a quirky boy named Colin who cooks the most amazing meals. Not the least strange is her Uncle Ruff, with his unusual pet and veiled hints about something named Convict Rock.

Finally, Louisa learns the truth: Convict Rock is a sanctuary established by her great-grandmother Eleanor—a sanctuary for Tasmanian tigers, Australia’s huge marsupials that were famously hunted into extinction almost a hundred years ago. Or so the world believes. Hidden in the rainforest at Convict Rock, one tiger remains. But now the sanctuary is threatened by a mining operation, and the last Tasmanian tiger must be lured deeper into the forest. The problem is, not since her great-grandmother has a member of the family been able to earn the shy tigers’ trust.

As the summer progresses, Louisa forges unexpected connections with Colin, with the forest, and—through Eleanor’s journal—with her great-grandmother. She begins to suspect the key to saving the tiger is her very own music. But will her plan work? Or will the enigmatic Tasmanian tiger disappear once again, this time forever?

A moving coming-of-age story wrapped up in the moss, leaves, and blue gums of the Tasmanian rainforest where, hidden under giant ferns, crouches its most beloved, and lost, creature.

 

 

 

*Reviewed by Michelle Blount Staff Reviewer*

 

 

A vividly descriptive Middle-Grade work with an ecological focus--enriched by elements of music, friendship, and atypical neurology.

When her parents get busy with work, Canadian-born Louisa is shipped off to spend the summer with an uncle she's never met--in the Tarkine forests of Tasmania. Initially, Louisa is agonizingly disinterested in everything outside of her drive to practice her violin. Her uncle is a recluse who lives in an abandoned logging camp turned makeshift animal preserve--and is focused on a dying bandicoot, which has apparently been his sole companion for many years. The only person her age nearby turns out to be an autistic boy named Colin, whose savant expertise for the forest is a counter to his uncertainty over social cues. And there is a family mystery of sorts, revolving around the grandmother that Louisa never knew...

I was drawn to this book because I recognized the hindquarters of a Tasmanian Tiger on the cover. (It was in middle school that I learned of these so recently extinct creatures, and became intensely fascinated with them.) And while it turned out to be far lighter on the "Tigers" than I would have liked, it was still good to see them referenced and given a bit of life.

The pacing is a bit slow, the tension only rising a couple of times. The mystery angle in this story is a bit thin, as well--since no one is actually trying to keep any of the family "secrets" from the MC (Louisa was simply too obsessed with her violin to pay attention to what her mother had tried to explain to her about her great-grandmother, the camp, and the animals their family has long tried to protect.) The bits of her great-grand's diary she's able to read are a delight--written with a strong voice and a sense of historical authenticity. But just as Louisa is starting to connect with her, we find the rest of her personal entries were lost in a fire. And the great-grandmother's voice is, sadly, not revisited.

Louisa herself is a bit difficult to connect with for much of the book. Her fixation on her violin dominates her self-identity, which makes more sense when we eventually learn she's had problems with performance anxiety and failed her previous children's orchestra auditions... Although it's revealed so late into the story, and hinted at so little, it struck this reader as oddly surprising.

On the plus side, Louisa and Colin's friendship is both a prominent element and a highlight--leading to noteworthy character growth for each. Louisa is largely adaptive to Colin's quirks from the get-go (thanks in part to his mother's explanation of his behaviors and difficulties), and at one point even assists him in interpreting the facial expressions and intentions of some of his more snide classmates. And while Colin's savantism stands as a commonly known possible aspect of being on the autism spectrum, his movement coping for agitation/overstimulation is less so.

I would readily recommend this for young contemporary fiction and nature lovers. There's some great potential here for building empathy, educating on species extinction, and expanding familiarity with neurological diversity--all while steeping readers in the atmosphere of an incredibly unique biome.

 

 

*Find More Info & Buy This Book HERE!*

 

 

Giveaway: All This Time (Mikki Daughtry) ~ US Only
Author Chat with Nina LaCour (Watch Over Me)! ~ US...

Related Posts

 

Comments

Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Peek-a-Boo Little Reindeer
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this adorable peek-a-boo board book with felt flaps, a...
Perfect on Paper
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Sophie Gonzales' Perfect on Paper, Leah on the Offbeat...
11 Paper Hearts
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of To All the Boys I've Loved...
shine your icy crown
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
“Make them rue the day they underestimated you.” ...
The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Sheinmel comes the...
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Discover the incredible story of a young daughter of immigrants...
Follow Your Arrow
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, this is...
Paris Cat
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
A sassy cat from the back alleys of Paris believes...
The Last Hazelnut
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When two woodland friends have a misunderstanding over who ate...
Down Comes the Night
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
He saw the darkness in her magic. She saw the...
Rescue
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Six hundred and fifty-seven days ago, Meg Kenyon's father left...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
“We are most courageous at our weakest; when we believe...
The Night Walk
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Mama opened our bedroom door. "Wake up, you two," she...
My Very Merry Ugly Christmas Sweater
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Celebrate the perfect, ugly expression of holiday cheer in this...
You and Me
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This sweet celebration of love is perfect for sharing with...
Baby's First Farm
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Babies and toddlers can lift the flaps to look inside...

Latest Member Reviews

Peek-a-Boo Little Reindeer
 
4.0
"PEEK-A-BOO LITTLE REINDEER is a simple and cute board book with felt flaps to lift on each page. Little Reindeer..."
Perfect on Paper
 
5.0
"PERFECT ON PAPER is a delightful YA romantic comedy. Darcy has been operating Locker 89 at her school for years...."
11 Paper Hearts
 
4.3
"Reviewed for YA Books Central A super cute and sweet story. The story: A year ago, a..."
The Last Fallen Star
 
5.0
"Riley Oh is thrilled for her sister, Hattie, to finally be formally initiated into the Gom clan on her 13th..."
shine your icy crown
 
3.3
"shine your icy crown by amanda lovelace is a 129-page collection of contemporary poems. It’s the second book in the..."
Rescue
 
5.0
"What worked: Engaging historical set during WWII. What interested me the most of this novel is how codes were used..."
The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)
 
4.3
"THE CASTLE SCHOOL (FOR TROUBLED GIRLS) is a story of healing and friendship. Moira has been cast adrift since the..."
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice
 
5.0
"A wonderful book about an amazing woman. The Story: Kamala Harris has lived quite the life. Raised as..."
Go the Distance
 
5.0
"Hercules proved he was a true hero and became a god like his parents, Zeus and Hera. Meg is thrilled..."
Follow Your Arrow
 
4.3
"FOLLOW YOUR ARROW is a heartfelt read about love, breaking up, and being true to yourself. CeCe has made a..."
Paris Cat
 
3.0
"PARIS CAT is an imaginative picture book about a cat that lives in an alleyway of Paris but dreams of..."
The Last Hazelnut
 
5.0
"THE LAST HAZELNUT is a sweet picture book about friendship, forgiveness, and sharing. Tim and Teo are best friends, and..."
Down Comes the Night
 
4.3
"DOWN COMES THE NIGHT is an intriguing, slow-burn YA fantasy. Wren is a healer in the military of her queendom,..."
The Night Walk
 
4.5
"THE NIGHT WALK takes the reader on a walk at night through the village and into the wilderness. Parents wake..."
My Very Merry Ugly Christmas Sweater
 
5.0
"MY VERY MERRY UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER is a fun touch-and-feel book that captures all the fun of Christmas attire. The..."
You and Me
 
5.0
"YOU AND ME is a sweet book about love between caregiver and child. The lyrical poetry of the rhyming text,..."
Baby's First Farm
 
4.5
"BABY'S FIRST FARM takes readers on a delightful lift-the-flap journey around the farm. The board book is a simple story..."
Can I Come Too?
 
4.0
"CAN I COME TOO? tells the story of a small mouse who decides to go on a big adventure to..."
A Dark and Hollow Star (A Dark and Hollow Star, #1)
 
4.7
"A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR is a slowly building YA fantasy that takes the reader on a wild ride through..."
Daughters of Jubilation
 
5.0
"It's South Carolina in 1962. Sixteen-year-old Evvie has two little sisters to take care of, a single mother, and finally..."