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A Possibility of Whales

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  44 reviews
The story of a girl who—thanks to her friends, her famous single dad, and an unexpected encounter with a whale—learns the true meaning of family.
Twelve-year-old Natalia Rose Baleine Gallagher loves possibilities: the possibility that she’ll see whales on the beach near her new home, the possibility that the transgender boy she just met will become her new best friend, t
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 13th 2018 by Algonquin Young Readers
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  153 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Before reading The Possibility of Whales, I had just come off another Karen Rivers book, All That Was. ATW was written for an older audience, but the author’s ability to write winding, authentic inner monologues really shines through in both novels. Am I the only one who finds it much easier to relate to a character when it feels like they’re thinking real thoughts?

The Possibility of Wh
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very cute read!
Catch my review and Blog Tour Post March 13th!
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Karen Rivers explores the complexities of life in her latest emotionally charged novel, A POSSIBILITY OF WHALES. Rivers has previously written books like LOVE, ISH, which received praise as a heartbreaking novel about family. Similarly, A POSSIBILITY OF WHALES explores identity, what it means to be a family and coming of age.

Nat is searching for many things: a new best friend, a whale and though she will not say it aloud, her mother. She desperately wants to return to being a child, when she was
Ms. Yingling
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Natalia lives with her movie star father, XAN GALLAGHER, a larger than life force even though he hasn't had a hit movie since she was a baby. Her mother left when she was very young. Tired of the paparazzi following the two of them around, her father moves them frequently, and the latest stop is a trailer over looking the coast in Canada. Nat misses her friends from her old school, even if there were some problems with them, but she does make a friend, Harry, at her new
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, altogether lovely story.

Twelve year old Nat moves to Canada with her action-hero dad to escape the paparazzi, leaving behind a bruising friendship she’s still feeling sentimental pangs for and finding a reluctant/complicated new friend, all while she’s dealing with the changes that come with growing up and wondering about the mom she’s never known.

The foreign words with their special meanings, the way she’s sometimes overwhelmed by her emotions
Mar 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
I did not like this one. At all. The cute cover, a transgender character, and Bird were the lone highlights. Everything else had me skimming. And I really wanted to find out (view spoiler), especially since it seemed like kind of a Big Deal to the story, but it was never explained.

Seems that I'm in the minority here and that's okay.
Joe Crowe
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is precious. Delightful. Other positive words.

It's a heartwarming, life-affirming story about a kid, her dad, her missing mom, whales, that kind of thing.

As a dad who has a daughter, this one nearly wrecked me emotionally at least twice. I mean that as a compliment.

Even if you're not a dad or a daughter, you'll really like this story.
Susan Murphy
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Was definitely an interesting story, but the ending didn't seem to wrap up the loose ends that were created throughout the text.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidsandteenbooks
I loved the characters in this book. Their story seemed real. And who can fault a book that includes a love of whales.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely lovely story. Filled with quirky side characters, the main character is in a really unique and tough situation. Excellent handling of a girl's first period and the awkwardness of not having a mom around. Also good handling of realizing when a friendship maybe just needs to be over because the other person was never that good a friend.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
An adorable, diverse read. It’s also the best example I’ve seen of explaining the thoughts of a transgender kid perfectly. It all just makes sense when you read it.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
A Possibility of Whales tells the story of two teen friends with troubled lives. Natalia is the daughter of a celebrity who is constantly moving to escape the paparazzi while Harry is dealing with all the issues of being transgender. I loved how this book really brought out the idea of how you never truly know what someone is going through, and sometimes just being someone's friend can make a world of a difference.

This book definitely helped me better understand the feelings of people who are tr
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Note: I received an eARC via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my review.

A sweet and quirky coming-of-age novel with diverse and eccentric characters. Nat and her famous father move to a new town, where Nat longs for a good friend. She befriends a transgendered boy, Harry, and is on her own path of self-discovery, including her quest for information about her mother.

The novel made me chuckle out loud a few times, but it also took a few unbelievable turns that pushed me out of being ful
Jaclyn Marie
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful and gut-wrenching read that explores that tenuous boundary between childhood and adolescence in all its splendor and misery
Reeka (BoundbyWords)
As seen on my blog:

The author of this novel is Canadian. This novel is SET in Canada. I'm not sure if you get where I'm going with this but my heart was already spilling over with giddy anticipation when I found out those two facts, and I hadn't even read the synopsis yet. A Possibility of Whales promised heartwarming moments of family, friendship and large marine mammals, and it delivered on all fronts.

Natalia Rose has moved, yet again, and this time to the land of polite and excessive "sorr
Robyn Arend
May 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
I had such high hopes for this book, but in the end I could not justify anything more than one star. The book starts out with so much potential. Nat has been uprooted again. She is going to another new school in another new town. Her famous movie star father drives her in on the first day. He is driving a scooter so everyone gets a glimpse of him arriving, gets a glimpse of him waving, gets a glimpse of Nat getting off the back of the scooter.
Nat takes all of this in stride. All she really wants
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
For me, this book was really about people attempting to define their changing, complicated worlds. The main character, Natalia, or Nat, is trying to figure out what it means to be a daughter to a famous Dad (a character that is, I believe, hilariously modeled after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and then developed into a caricature - which was good comic relief for a story that is somewhat serious), what it means to not know your mother, and what it means to have a mother-like figure.
Other character
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Another great middle-grade novel. As Nat often says, life is complicated. A Possibility of Whales is about two soon-to-be teens growing up with their own unique problems, as well as the ones everyone must learn to deal with. Nat, the daughter of a famous actor father and a non-existent mom, must navigate the world while she continuously moves and deals with the paparazzi following her and her father. Harry is a transgender boy whose family isn't the most accepting. The two form a pretty quick bo ...more
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mock-newbery
This got a little crazy at the end. The whale baby was quite a stretch, and we never find out why Nat's mom took off. I also think that there should have either been more chapters from Harry's POV or none. The ones we have seemed very random.

So the plot was not perfect, but there are some good lines:

p. 29 - "That was how her dad's friendships worked: They were super intense and then they just faded away into nothing, like an Etch A Sketch that was shaken clear, leaving only a faint trace of wha
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
Nat's dad is famous. Super famous. Because of this, they move around to avoid the paparazzi and live in a tiny trailer where she can see orcas every day. She doesn't know her mom, but she meets a boy at her new school in Canada and they form a somewhat friendship.

I'm...not really certain what to make of this book. The story is heartwarming, about a young girl dealing with some pretty emotional coming of age things (coupled with the whole, being famous because of her famous dad thing), and it ha
Jill Jemmett
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was just amazing!

The characters were so real and moving. Nat has a famous father, but life hasn’t been easy for them. She has never known who her mother is, and her father tries to keep them out of the spotlight and away from the paparazzi. I also loved the character of Harry! He is a transgender boy, which is not common in middle grade stories. Harry struggles with being his true self, because his father insists that he remain a girl.

The pacing of the story was great. There were a cou
Amanda Brooke
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: elementary-reads
The first reason I loved this book was the child's secret name Baleine. Throughout the book though I wondered if she pronounced it in French or English until I got to the point where she points out someone pronounced it wrong - added a star for that. The second reason I loved the book was the fact that much of it took place in British Columbia - I live at the opposite end of the Salish sea so it's like a book from my part of the world. The third reason I love this book Rivers gives a nod to Blum ...more
Margaret Sholders
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Karen Rivers has given us a good book for middle age up readers. I got a surprise when I started reading this book. Nat is 12 and has a friend in class that came out from most but the parents. Nat is the daughter of Xan Gallagher, who is the famous actor! Nat has no mother and it hurts her. Xan tries to keep her happy. They move around due to his acting. So Xan takes her friend, Harry, and his parents with the next moves. Nat and Harry go whale watching. They get the cameras to chase them. They ...more
Heather Brown
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
As the daughter of a famous but eccentric star, Nat has learned how to start school in a new place, and she thought she knew how to find just the right person to be her friend, but a huge betrayal has left her stressed. Nat and her dad have moved to a small town in Canada, near a beach where Nat waits for whales to surface. At school though, Nat struggles to find the right friend. Nat just knows that Harry could be her best friend, but Harry only wants to be around boys, so Nat has to try out he ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Natalia, or Nat, as everyone calls her, has recently moved to a Canadian beach after an incident with paparazzi, who chase Nat and her dad-XAN GALLAGHER-everywhere. She is excited by the prospect of seeing whales, and by a potential friend at her new school. A trip to Mexico, a few very influential people, and many unforgettable experiences lead Nat on a journey of family, self-discovery, and growing up. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes stories that are surprising, exciting, and ...more
Rachael Bookfairs
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, arc-done
A teen girl is forced to move annually since her dad (a famous movie star) is found out by paparazzi each place they go. In their newest community she becomes friends with a recently out trans boy in her school & the friendship with slightly romantic undertones is very, very sweet. I love that the her concern is really just whether she's ready to have an actual boyfriend & not at all about the fact that this particular boy is trans.
Karen Arendt
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
At times the story seemed to be more about Harry’s transgender topic and his emotions over his father coming to terms with Harry’s decision. Nat has her own coming of age as she grows into puberty, her old best friend uses her, and she tries to fit her new best friend Harry itnp her nomadic lifestyle. I enjoyed the story and felt it wrapped up well. Nat’s decision about her mother suits her well. Tween girls who like friendship and realistic fiction story will enjoy this book.
I love the cover. I really wanted to love this, but it just doesn't really go anywhere. The mystery in the story never unfolds. It's a very unsatisfying open ending. It's too much telling instead of showing. Most of the time it felt like a book where a grownup was trying very hard to talk like a 12-year-old.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Karen Rivers is too thrown by the "Date of Death" drop down that has appeared below her name in the editing section of this page to actually write anything about her life. When she recovers, this box will be filled with imperative biographical information and may include SECRETS and probably also a few LIES. Now she is going to sit back and anxiously track that "Date of Death" box in case a date s ...more