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A Possibility of Whales

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  221 ratings  ·  59 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,
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 13th 2018 by Algonquin Young Readers
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  221 ratings  ·  59 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
Jun 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2020, arcs, middle-years
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Janet Hutchinson
While this was an easy read, I found the multiple story lines (daughter of a famous star, no mother, mysterious person on the end of the other line, girl wanting to transition to boy, whales, friend betrayal) meant that not all of them were satisfactorily resolved. Several seemed to have no real purpose in furthering the story, so I was not sure why they were there. And the referring to things and people from the past (like the Lion) further confused me.
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.
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 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
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yabc-reviews
See my full review here:

THE POSSIBILITY OF WHALES is a middle grade contemporary story that deals with a lot. Natalia Rose (Nat) is almost thirteen years old. She is semi-famous for the fact that her father is XAN GALLAGHER, a wrestler/actor kind of like the Rock, who has a larger than life personality. Nat has never known who her mother is but in a way, she likes the mystery rather than knowing more about the woman who left her behind.

Nat and her father
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
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Natalia is the daughter of a famous actor and this is her story of some important moments in her life - she makes true friends, she goes through puberty, she learns about her mother, and she grows in her desire for forgiveness.

I thought her relationship with The Bird was precious and a nice addition to the story.

Some of my favorite quotes
“Everyone isn’t ever all one thing...” p 276
“You love your father. I loved my father, too.... I said I would tell you which situation I thought was worse, you
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
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
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
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canada, kids, lgbtq
This book really surprised me. I know I read the synopsis over a year ago when I was researching books for this challenge, but I’d basically forgotten what it was about. It was much better than I went in expecting and it’s the first book by a cis author - at the middle grade level definitely - where it felt like the author avoided some of the issues I often find. The pronoun use was excellent, there’s only a few times Harry’s given name is mentioned and it’s made clear that it’s a negative thing ...more
laurel [the 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
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1-2-week-books
Nat and her famous father XAN Gallagher are on the move again to find a new home away from all the fans. But this place is different for Nat. This place contains real friends. A real home. Real school.

And whales.🐳

I honestly found this book a bit boring in the beginning, but it does get better towards the end. If I were you, I would skip the first chapter altogether because it's so plain I was about to put the book down.

The thing I really liked about this book was that it conveyed a transgender
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
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