Review Detail

How to Speak Dolphin FeaturedHot
Kids Fiction 7312
Stunning story full of heart and empathy
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
If I had to pick three books that either capture the importance and needed freedom for animals and/or the complex dynamics of people with disabilities, I would pick The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, and this book, How to Speak Dolphin by Ginny Rorby. Rorby’s story takes the perspective of Lily, a girl with a brother who is severely autistic who loves playing with dolphins. Her lens offers insight into a young woman who desperately wants friends, misses her dead mother, struggles with her relationship with her stepfather, and who wants the very best for her brother even though she isn’t sure if a captured dolphin is the best way to help him. The flaws, insecurities, strengths, and incredible growth in Lily’s character form a remarkable protagonist that many young readers will find relatable and an excellent guide to discovering and implementing empathy.

The plot unfolds beautifully. On an action level, very few ‘big’ events occur, but the smallest actions become so crucial in this story, making the reader enormously invested in the end result. The writing carries and absorbs the reader from chapter to chapter, all of which feel quick with how easy it is to get wrapped up in the story line. The dialogue is especially top notch, mastering the voice and dynamic of each character, from Zoe to Don to Suzanne. Even the occasional excerpts from Nori’s mentality are remarkable and feel realistic.

Readers looking for a diverse, emotional, and important story would do well with How to Speak Dolphin. Lily and the cast of characters will capture your heart and leave room for important and necessary discussions. Ginny Rorby has a magnificent authorial voice, and I can’t wait to read more from this author.
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