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Girl of the Southern Sea

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  18 reviews
From the time she was a little girl, Nia has dreamed up adventures about the Javanese mythical princess, Dewi Kadita. Now fourteen, Nia would love nothing more than to continue her education and become a writer. But high school costs money her family doesn’t have; everything her father earns selling banana fritters at the train station goes to their meager existence in the ...more
Published May 23rd 2019 by Pajama Press
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4.33  · 
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 ·  43 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-myrca
A huge thank you to the author and Pajama Press for sharing a copy of GIRL OF THE SOUTHERN SEA with #bookportage. I loved THE THEORY OF HUMMINGBIRDS, so I was very pumped when Michelle offered to send her new book my way. I am so, so excited about this book, and would dearly love to get it into as many hands as possible.

Nia lives in Jakarta with her father and little brother. Although she desperately wants to go to high school, her father's careless use of the family's resources makes it impossi
Abby Johnson
Nia dreams of continuing her education but her family doesn’t have the fees for high school. When her alcoholic father is injured in a police altercation, Nia must take her family’s food cart into her own hands to put food on the table for her little brother. This is a peek inside a life of abject poverty and the story is gritty but not without hope.

Hand to readers of TRASH by Andy Mulligan or AMAL UNBOUND by Aisha Saaed.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Could you imagine having your life mapped out for you and you have no control over it? Nia's life is spiraling out of control, she is forced to live a life she doesn't want, and decisions are being made for her. At age fourteen, Nia has had to grow up way too fast. Her mother passed away just after giving birth to Nia's little brother. Nia's father has never recovered from her death and he spends most of his time and their money drinking. Nia has had to raise her little brother all by herself in ...more
Ms. Yingling
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Public library copy

Nia lives in Jakarta, Indonesia with her father, who runs a fried banana cart, and her brother, Rudi, whose birth led to their mother's death. Her father drinks excessively, often taking the money needed for rent on their shack or for food. Nia no longer goes to school, since the family does not have the fees. She works around the home and helps her father with the banana cart. When she is taking the rent to the landlord, she is involved in a bad bus accident and is the only o
Fourteen-year-old Nia, a talented writer, storyteller, and student, dreams of attending school and making a better life for herself and her young brother, Rudi. But as their father continues to drink heavily and spend the money the family needs for the basic necessities, she sees her dreams growing further and further out of reach. She can no longer afford to go to school and must go to work. As it is, living in the slums of Jakarta, Indonesia, is challenging enough for anyone, but saddled with ...more
Kristin Crouch
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*Thank you to the author for sharing a review copy with #collabookation.*
Girl of the Southern Sea takes us to Jakarta, into the life of Nia, a young girl who must find a way to sustain her family while her father works to ruin it.
Heartbreaking in struggle, the reader understands Nia's unending dedication to her brother and the memory of her mother. Every day, as she gets her brother off to school, she is reminded of the dream she had to abandon. Through much difficulty, Nia never loses faith in
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nia is such an intelligent, ambitious, and courageous girl who is determined to make a better life for herself, refusing to accept that her schooling is over. Girl of the Southern Sea is an incredible, honest novel written by Michelle Kadarusman, well-deserving of it’s Junior Library Guild gold standard selection, that follows Nia’s journey through some difficult situations in the slums of Jakarta and her unyielding efforts to see to it that she saves enough money to attend high school. She’s no ...more
Stephanie Bange
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible peek into the life of a third world young teenage girl, whose destiny can turn on the whim of those around her.

Growing up in extreme poverty in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nia is the bond that holds together her family -- her younger brother and alcoholic father. She sees an escape from penury if she can only attend high school in order to become a writer. When she is sole survivor of a horrible bus crash, a stranger steps in to help her cash in on other's superstitious beliefs. The get-ri
Joyce Grant
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Michelle Kadarusman beautifully portrays the fierce, brave and practical Nia as she navigates through the choppy waters of her life's challenges. A drunken father, a near-fatal minibus crash and harrowing treatment at the hands of some of the people around her. Kadarusman elegantly and respectfully describes the Jakarta slums in a way that is visceral, so we can see, smell and almost touch it. The author depicts challenging events with an even hand, always showing how Nia's strength can also be ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

Nia is a wonderful character living in poverty in Indonesia. Her alcoholic father sells her family's banana fritters at a cart in the local market, but he is unreliable at best, and it is fourteen year old Nia who is left to run the household and care for her younger brother. Her dream is to go to high school so that she can become a famous writer, but it is a goal that doesn't seem to be attainable in her giv
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-or-galley
Thank you NetGalley and Pajama Press for the advanced copy. This was a beautiful glimpse into the slums of Jakarta where we meet Nia, who dreams of going to high school. Unfortunately, her life keeps changing in ways she never expected and now her future is also being decided for her. She has the choice to just accept her new fate or to fight for her dream of going to high school. Fortunately, Nia chooses to fight for her future and her family.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Set in the Jakarta slums, this is a beautifully told story of a girl struggling to hang onto her dreams amidst difficult and dangerous challenges. Love, loss, the fierce hope of a strong girl, and the power of stories... I loved it!
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars

Girl of the Southern Sea takes an unflinching look at the lives of young people like Nia, in potentially oppressive circumstances, but remains optimistic and is ultimately uplifting.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So good, the kind of book you want to shove into people's hands and insist they read.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nia, a young girl from the slums of Jakarta who dreams of being a writer and attending high school, has the burden of a lot of responsibility in her family. She must constantly struggle to change the path of her life. Themes of resilience, determination, and loyalty are woven through Girl of the Southern Sea.

By the author of , which is a 2019 MYRCA nominee, I wonder if we'll see Girl of the Southern Sea on that list in the future. I recommend Girl of the Southern Sea for libraries serving child
Mirna Pizzy
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: done
Is a nice and easy read. It pains me how so many kids are still not able to obtain a proper education.
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
For books published within the US, even those featuring people of color generally take place within the country, so it's great to have a chance to read something that takes place somewhere else. Indonesia is drawn quite vividly, and Nia is certainly a heroine to root for, one whose creativity is relatable and whose perseverance is admirable. The plot does skew toward the realistic rather than the idealistic: it tackles alcoholism, child marriage, household responsibilities sometimes foisted prem ...more
Karen Upper
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Mar 12, 2019
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Feb 09, 2019
Tara Elliott
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May 30, 2019
S Margaret
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Dec 25, 2018
Paul Coccia
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Jun 21, 2019
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May 29, 2019
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May 26, 2019
Jenny Claiborne
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Apr 01, 2019
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Michelle's first YA novel, OUT OF IT (2014), was followed by middle grade novel, THE THEORY OF HUMMINGBIRDS (2017), which was nominated for the OLA Silver Birch Express, MYRCA Sundogs and SYRCA Diamond Willow awards. Her latest middle grade book, GIRL OF THE SOUTHERN SEA, is a Junior Library Guild Selection and was released in 2019.

Michelle grew up in Melbourne, Australia and has also lived in Bal