Shark Girl

Shark Girl

by Kelly Bingham


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Now in paperback— A teenager struggles through physical loss to the start of acceptance in an absorbing, artful novel at once honest and insightful, wrenching and redemptive.

On a sunny day in June, at the beach with her mom and brother, fifteen-year-old Jane Arrowood went for a swim. And then everything — absolutely everything — changed. Now she’s counting down the days until she returns to school with her fake arm, where she knows kids will whisper, "That’s her — that’s Shark Girl," as she passes. In the meantime there are only questions: Why did this happen? Why her? What about her art? What about her life? In this striking first novel, Kelly Bingham uses poems, letters, telephone conversations, and newspaper clippings to look unflinchingly at what it’s like to lose part of yourself - and to summon the courage it takes to find yourself again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763646271
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 04/13/2010
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 159,569
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.78(d)
Lexile: HL550L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Kelly Bingham was a story artist and director for Walt Disney Feature Animation before obtaining her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. This is her first novel. Kelly Bingham lives in Ellijay, Georgia.

Read an Excerpt


I can still feel my right hand,
like a best friend;

Mom looks for a tissue or the book lying among my covers and I reach for it,
then I remember
I cannot reach with that hand ever again.

Sometimes a prickle crawls across my cheek,
and that right hand tries to rise from the grave,
moved to scratch.
The fingers, palm,
wrist, and arm that I remember don't know enough to know peace.


SHARK GIRL by Kelly Bingham. Copyright © 2007 by Kelly Bingham. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

Customer Reviews

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Shark Girl 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 83 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its like soul surfer
Aaron Brown More than 1 year ago
This book was really good. It makes u appricate wat u hve.
Natalie Lamm More than 1 year ago
This is the best book its sad but inspriaring
GabrielleS More than 1 year ago
Shark Girl, by Kelly Bingham, is nothing short of magnificent. The main character Jane is written so beautifully it is as if I've met her before. Her emotions and thoughts throughout the book are very realistic and detailed that I really felt her pain and the struggles she went through. I'll have to admit, when I first skimmed the book, I was a little skeptical about the poetic free verse format it was written in. It's not something I'm such a big fan of, but the way the author used it gave the words a stronger impact and meaning. This book was about something I had never really thought about before and before reading this book, something I didn't care about either. Now, I have an open mind about how surviving a shark attack, or any life threatening incident, can really affect your life. The author gave incredible imagery and emotion in her writing that it helped me picture what Jane was going through in my own little movie. I enjoyed this book so much I ended up reading it in one day. I highly recommend this book to anybody and promise that you won¿t be left disappointed.
FollmanA More than 1 year ago
Shark Girl is written by Kelly Bingham. This book is about a fifteen year old girl named Jane Arrowood. Jane is a good artist and loves to draw. She wins a lot of awards for her drawings. One day she decided to go swimming at the beach with her mom and brother. At the beach she was attacked by a shark. She almost died from the attack. She lost her arm above the elbow. This changed her life forever. She had a lot of problems because she thought she could not draw again. People kept telling her draw and she kept saying, “I can’t and I don’t want to draw.” But she would draw secretly and not show people. She drew a picture for a special boy that she became friends with in rehab. It was her birthday present to him. Drawing helped her accept her lost arm. She didn’t want to go to school because she thought people would make fun of her fake arm and call her shark girl. I really liked the book because I thought it was interesting to read about how a girl had to continue her life with one arm. I would recommend this book to teenage girls. I think that we could really relate to this story and the feelings that Jane has.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this book based on a true story????????????????
Lara Hollberg More than 1 year ago
Best book ever written it really brings out the meaning of hope and dreams
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book and was very sad at the beginning but in the end was really good.
mjspear on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Moving story of a CA teen who loses her right arm in a shark attack and worries that her dream of becoming an artist are over. Credible characters, realistic dialogue, and good writing enhance a somewhat flat plot.
ohioyalibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
15-year-old Jane has just lost her arm to a shark attack, not just her arm, but her right arm, her drawing arm. Now her dreams of being an artist are gone. Nothing will ever be the same. Join Jane as she learns to adjust her expectations and find meaning in new ways in "Shark Girl". The book is prose poetry and well-written.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel in verse tells the story of Jane, an artistic high schooler whose life changes completely when she loses her right arm in a shark attack. A bystander videotapes the event and it's shown on the news. Suddenly strangers from all over the country are sending her cards and flowers, acting like they're her new best friend, like they understand her. In reality, Jane shrinks from all the attention and seems to abandon the things that gave her joy before the accident. Little things like cracking open eggs or buttoning her pants are suddenly insurmountable. But as Jane gives herself time to heal, she realizes that although she wouldn't have wished for this accident, it's taking her down a new and interesting path. Perhaps not worse... just different.I have no firsthand experience, but I imagine that the voice of Jane is pretty realistic and it's an interesting glimpse into the world of someone with a disability. It made me think about things like how long it would take me to relearn how to write using my left hand (or type, for that matter). Again, I'm not a huge fan of the novel-in-verse format, but I think it mostly works and there are instances where it really works in this novel.
Lorettalj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
15 year old Jane Arrowood went swimming on a sunny day in June and was attacked by a shark. Rushed to the hospital, doctors were able to save her life, but her right arm was too damaged and it had to be amputated.This story, told in verse, reveals Jane¿s inner thoughts and turmoils as she struggles to heal physically and emotionally from this incident. Although this novel is fiction, the story feels very real. If you ever wondered what it would be like to live with a disability, this book would help you to understand.
PKPam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sadly, I must admit, this is the first "verse" book I've actually finished. They're just usually not my thing.I thought this was a great book with a good moral to the story, but I am not sure the YA audience will really grasp it.
mrang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for teens who do not feel as if they fit in. The main character Jane, struggles with fitting in to her "old" life after a summer shark attack forces her to amputate her right arm. This books is filled with the challenges and emotions of this difficult time in a teen's life. Jane wants to get back to her life of being a great artist but having to deal with the loss of her arm proves to be more of a challenge to her. She slowly has to work through her feelings and being in the spotlight.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
I liked this. Especially the writing style. Story's good too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't really remember what it was about since it's been a few years since I read it but I remember enjoying it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love thibook so far
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is good but I think that they sorta copyed Soul Surfer and Aquamarine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is pretty much copying Soul Surfer i dont understand oh and i support bethany hamilton ps: i havent red this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is for Bethany Hamilton she knows about this book and it is about her it is sad but good I didn't like that it just taked about the arm the whole time 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didnt read this book but isnt it totally copying bethany hamiltons soul surfer story? I dont really understand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At res 2
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredible insight
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book during school i love it so much i finshed it in two days! I never watched the movie but i highly reccomend the book. Its a very well written book and i loved it a lot i hope you enjoy it as much as i did :)