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Safe Harbour

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  27 reviews
As crazy as her father’s plan sounds, sticking to it is easy for Harbour — until it isn’t.

Fourteen-year-old Harbour is living in a tent in a Toronto ravine with her dog, a two-month supply of canned tuna, and an eccentric reading list. She’s not homeless, she tells herself. She’s merely waiting for her home — a thirty-six-foot sailboat — to arrive with her father at the
ebook, 264 pages
Published November 16th 2019 by Dundurn
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  37 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Safe Harbour by Christina Kilbourne is classified for Teens and Young Adults but I feel many older adults will think this book is fantastic.

Fourteen year old Harbour has been living on a boat in and around Florida with her father for several years when he sends her and her dog Tuff (Tuff Stuff) on a bus to Toronto. She is living there in a tent in a ravine with her dog, canned tuna and a reading list unlike that for most teenagers. Then her father is late meeting her and stops callin
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-releases, fiction, ya
I didn't really know what to expect from the synopsis for Safe Harbour, but it's safe to say I was pleasantly surprised.

For a novel that addresses some hard-hitting issues (including homelessness and mental illness), I found it quite a gentle read, told with care and empathy. Harbour and Lise are very real, sympathetic characters, and I felt a sense of connection to them early on. Kilbourne shows a real understanding of her teen protagonists and their world, striking the perfect balance betw
3.5 stars -- wavering between final rating of 3 or 4 stars.
Review for NetGalley to follow.
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
How I read this: Free ebook copy received through NetGalley

What a moving book. It really makes you feel like you should count your blessings, because not everyone lives in an easy, safe environment. Some kids have to sleep outside in a tent or the street when the weather is freezing. And it makes you think, what did the kid ever do to deserve this kind of life? Nobody deserves it. But it's so easy to slip through the cracks of society. And we rarely tend to think or write stories about these peo
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what I expected from this book and to be honest, started it without refreshing my memory on the story line. All I can say is WOW. devastating. I ugly cried at the end. I really loved this book for the incredibly powerful and confronting journey it took me on, looking at youth homelessness, homelessness in general and mental illness. All themes that I have not come across a lot in the fiction that I've read. A quick explanation of the plot; 14 year old Harbour has arrived in Toronto, ...more
Erica Danielle
I received this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am giving Safe Harbour 3 stars. The story was intriguing and it honestly had me guessing every chapter.

That being said, there were so many twists and turns in the plot that I didn't know what was happening at times. You think something is going to happen and then the author pulls the rug out from under you...again and again and again. The book does touch on mental health disorders, which I feel could have been expl
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great YA for readers at the younger end of that demographic. It’s a stark and sympathetic look at homelessness, with relatable characters and strong friendships.

The two main characters – Harbour and Lise – come from very different backgrounds, something that doesn’t matter a great deal when in the same dire situation, especially in a city with particularly harsh winters.

The mystery of Harbour’s past, although really a subplot, is well executed, and at the end I was left considering t
Bryn Coape-Arnold
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this book for a couple of reasons - first, the setting - my high school hometown, Toronto; second, I liked the idea of diving into the world of homeless teens. At first, the premise for how Harbour ends up in Toronto turned me off - what fourteen year old girl actually believes that her father would send her to camp out in a big city while he sails from Florida all the way to Toronto? As the book continues and Harbour begins to develop a relationship with a homeless teen named Lis ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book gripped me from page one. It follows fourteen-year-old Harbour as she endures countless adversities while living homeless day by day, through the harsh winters of Toronto. The only things keeping her going are her dog Tuff and the promise from her father that he will soon come back for her.

I was deeply captivated by Harbour’s story; there wasn’t a part of me that ever wanted to put this book down.
Teena in Toronto
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian
Fourteen-year-old Harbour's mother passed away when she was young. Since then, she and her father have been living on their sailboat, sailing from port to port. He drops her off with a phone, a credit card, some cash and her dog, Tuff, in a port city in the States and tells her to catch a bus and make her way to Toronto, where her mother was from. He is going to sail there and join her in about five weeks. While Harbour waits for her dad, she and Tuff camp out in a tent in a ravine, keeping a lo ...more
Kailyn Bettle
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harbour is doing just fine living all on her own. She knows how to hide her campsite so no one finds her is living in a ravine outside downtown Toronto. She knows she can “shower” and charge her phone every morning at the public library while keeping up on her reading. And she knows she has enough tuna and soda crackers to last her until her father makes it up to Toronto in their boat, or thought she did until he is few weeks late. As winter approaches, Harbour realizes that her plan may not be ...more
Ms. Yingling
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Harbour's father has sent her to Toronto to wait for him while he ties up some loose ends in Florida. The pair have been living on their boat since the violent death of Harbour's mother, and recently her father has refused to leave the boat, having Harbour do all of his errands on land. Now, she is living on crackers and canned tuna while living in a tent with her dog, Tuff. Her father has also warned her that the government is out to get t
Jacqueline Allan
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I absolutely loved this book and read it in one sitting. It is based on a young girl named Harbour who, at 14, is camping waiting on the return of her father. This little girl survives living between a camp and a homeless shelter. The story tackles homelessness for young adults and mental health also. They are both dealt with beautifully and respectfully, not sensationalisin
Jenn Brouwer
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where do I even start.? This is one of few books where if a 6th star was available I would utilize it. This is outside my normal murder/mystery genre but it sounded like a well thought out unique story and it sure was. I am Canadian myself so the thought of a 14 year old girl learning to fend for herself on the streets of Toronto was heart wrenching. Add in her dog and a missing father and you have the makings of an epic story. I literally could not put this book down I read it in one sitting an ...more
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to Netgalley and Dundurn Publishing for the opportunity to read this book. I would give this book 3.75 stars. I was hooked from the beginning and could not put the book down. I read any chance I could get with this one. This book is so well written. I felt as though I was in Canada right with these characters. While the book does address some serious issues that can arise in life, it doesn't do a huge dive into them which I was hoping for a little bit more of. (Not going too much in de ...more
Sarah Minchin
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review**

I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book but I enjoyed it. I liked the character of Harbour and found myself sympathising with her plight. She was very streetwise for a kid her age and I don't think I would last even a few days living like she did.

A pleasing story with a good conclusion.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid, intriguing and emotional read for YAs - and beyond! I enjoyed this quick read and found myself really feeling for Harbour, the main character. I wasn't sure where it was headed for a good part of the plot, but eventually it all worked itself out. I wish the mental health aspect was a little deeper, but it was relevant and powerful nonetheless.
I enjoyed this novel, and would definitely recommend it for ages 14 and up. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-netgalley
This story comes to life as a young girl of 14 finds her way through life in Toronto alone. She lives in a tent and braves the cold while waiting for her father to retrieve her. I felt for her and her friend who tries to convince her to move to the shelter. Life on the streets is not kind or easy, but there was an honesty to it. I liked the book and will look for others by this author. I give it a B+ or 4/5 stars.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. this book had a lot of heart. I liked the characters and I liked reading a book from the POV of a character experiencing homelessness. I did find myself cringing a little bit at how naive Harbour was and how predictable the plot was. I still liked this book, though. It was well written and hard to put down. thanks to dundurn press and netgalley for the arc.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-read
Harbour is awaiting the arrival of her father while camping out on the side of a ravine in Toronto. Her father is expected to arrive any day on their sailboat, Starlight. Harbour and her father have planned out her entire stay in Toronto, however Harbour’s father does not arrive on time. Harbour, with her friend Lise, adapt to the streets during the cold Canadian winter.

Very well written book, which made you feel concerned for the main character and whether her story was real or a fabrication.
Rachel Stansel
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it
A twisting story of a girl left to survive in a Cabadian park while awaiting her father's return. Full of unusual twists, the character was endearing and the story unique.

Full disclosure- I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing

**A copy of this book was provided by the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I was instantly intrigued after reading the description of Safe Harbour by Christina Kilbourne. I love finding books with story lines I’ve never even remotely seen before and this story was unique.

The story follows Harbour Mandrayke as she works her way through the streets of Toronto trying to survive until her father arrives on their sailboat. Problem
Molly Mason
**Thank you to Dundurn Press, Christina Kilbourne, and Netgalley for providing me an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

Harbour is 14 years old and used to living on a boat with her father, ever since her mom died. This time, her dad has her take the bus to Toronto while he sails there, he says it will be a great adventure. When weeks pass and Harbour is living by herself in a tent in a ravine with her dog, Tuff Stuff, she starts to worry about him. Thankfully,
Nov 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, read-2019
Interesting premise and look at teenage homelessness, which might have been improved by increased emotional sensibility in the characters (for example, I always found that Harbour's reactions were somewhat muted and remote until she suddenly exploded/broke down, and I never really understood why Lise chose to befriend and continue to help Harbour despite all of the attached baggage), fewer dead end plotlines (Brandon, Jack and Frankie), and more even pacing (the first half of the book was a lot ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure why but I feel like I've read a bunch of books this year about homeless teens. Whether that's true or not, because I'm not about to go searching for them, I do really enjoy reading about these kind of topics, even if they are fictional. They're raw and real, something I didn't used to really like for my fiction reads, but it's something that's really grown on me and I've learned to appreciate.

Check out my full review here!

I'm not sure why but I feel like I've read a bunch of books this year about homeless teens. Whether that's true or not, because I'm not about to go searching for them, I do really enjoy reading about these kind of topics, even if they are fictional. They're raw and real, something I didn't used to really like for my fiction reads, but it's something that's really grown on me and I've learned to appreciate.

Check out my full review here!

Robin (ReadItRobi)
Strange, but satisfying little tale of a girl navigating the world of homeless teens in Toronto, Canada. Learning how to stay alive and who she can depend on. Wraps up far too neatly with a nice little bow on it, but otherwise a good read. Enjoyed the character of Lise far more than that of main character Harbour. Wouldn't mind seeing a follow up on this based more on Lise's end. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4
Sep 10, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish
Dnf at 11%. Just not feeling this book right now. May come back to it at a later time.
Molly Mason
rated it liked it
Oct 10, 2019
rated it liked it
Aug 04, 2019
Emma Kiely
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Oct 16, 2019
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Christina Kilbourne is an award-winning young adult author who handles complex subjects with sensitivity and tact while covering issues of critical significance to youth.

Her novel, Dear Jo, was the recipient of three Canadian young reader’s choice awards in British Columbia (Red Cedar), Saskatchewan (Snow Willow) and Manitoba (MYRCA). It was also shortlisted for a young reader’s choice aw
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