Penny's Reviews > One Boy, No Water

One Boy, No Water by Lehua Parker
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it was amazing
bookshelves: book-review, top-picks, youth-literature

In One Boy, No Water, as the artistic kid with bizarre allergies, protagonist Zader makes the perfect outsider, the kid who sits on the sidelines watching other kids play football while he watches the weather. He's always watching out for rain.

As best friends and co-travelers through the adventure of growing up, Zader has Jay, his almost-twin brother, the cool, smart, athletic, natural-born surfer bound to go pro, whom everybody loves. He also has his cousin Char Siu, the smart-as-a-whip goody-goody who lives across the street. Zader and Jay are inseparable, except for when Jay is surfing. Jay fights Zader’s battles. Zader helps Jay overcome his fears.

Uncle Kahana, the man who discovered the newborn Zader at the end of a spit of lava flow and convinces his niece to adopt the baby, takes Zader under his wing. He gives his nephew the tools to make life bearable, and gradually educates him, Jay, and Char Siu in the ancient culture of Hawai’i, and shares a special bond with the man-eater or “Niuhi” sharks.

The story is set in exotic but familiar Hawai’i. Zader and friends speak pidgin English but are, without doubt, all-American kids. Zader's world is safe—for now.

His dreams haunt him and whisper of explanations to the mysteries of his birth, as well as the special powers with which his heritage imbues him. However, some questions must wait until subsequent installments of the series.

author:Lehua Parker|6426317] manages the unfamiliar vocabulary with a deft hand. In addition to explaining the language and its usage in the Hawaiian culture in the beginning of the book, she gives each of her characters a unique voice that rings true in the reader’s “ear”. Despite the unfamiliarity, One Boy, No Water (itself phrased in pidgin) delights, so chillax!

Lehua Parker respects the intelligence of her readers, of all ages. She masterfully relays her coming-of-age tale, making it simple enough for tweens to understand but with powerful subtext engrosses adults. Her compelling writing instantly engages, her characters feel real, and sheaddresses universal issues of growing up, no matter where you’re from.

Lehua Parker follow the perfect checklist for a successful tweens novel, but, raised as she was in Hawai'i, she does so with a unique voice in an engaging, completely original tale. Nothing feels formulaic or "by the numbers". The certain success of One Boy, No Water, will be all her own.

She hits one out of the park with One Boy, No Water. This book belongs in the “Youth Literature” category, and proves the author an expert in her craft. Unlike that other blockbuster children’s series, Ms. Parker starts out strong, confident in her writing abilities. She absorbs the reader in the story to the extent they forget Ms. Parker wrote this book for children.

Ms. Parker's debut novel dangles the bait, sets the hook, and reels us in. She has chummed the waters. Expect a feeding frenzy when the subsequent volumes of the Niuhi Shark Saga arrive. Jolly Fish Press continues to garner its reputation with high-quality offerings, as proven in One Boy, No Water and Big in Japan.

FTC disclaimer:  A galley copy of this book was provided by the author or their agent with the understanding I would publish a fair and honest review.  I receive no other compensation for this content.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 10, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 13, 2012 – Shelved
August 16, 2012 – Shelved as: book-review
August 16, 2012 – Shelved as: top-picks
August 16, 2012 – Shelved as: youth-literature

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