Hi Everyone! It’s Becky. I keep seeing The Line Tender on all the Mock Newbery lists and I decided that I had to read it. This book sounded like a classic piece of children’s literature however I was more than a little disappointed by this book.
Title: The Line Tender
Author: Kate Allen
Note: I listened to the audiobook.
Summary: Lucy Everhardt has a complicated relationship with the ocean. Lucy’s mother was a marine biologist who specialized in studying shark. Lucy’s mother loved the water and it was on the water that her mother died. Now, five years later Lucy is on the cusp of becoming a teenager and she is still connected to the ocean. It is the water that once again takes away someone she loves and that will help her make connections with those she has lost.
Review: I really wanted to love this book but I just really didn’t. Allen takes her time to establish that this book takes place in the early 90s and during that set-up all I could think was this story feels very dated. Once the timeline was established all I could think was it still feels really dated. Lucy’s behavior and her speech felt like it was out of the 50s instead of the 90s (I can speak to this because I was almost exactly the same age as Lucy would have been when the book was set). She behaved very proper and prim like the caricatures of a child from times of yore except for her constant referencing flatulence (there must have been at least a dozen uses of the word fart or farty). As the main character, she just didn’t work for me. Yet, Lucy was not my only problem with this book. The entire story is based around an emotional loss that, for me, played like a manipulative plot point. Plus, the characters seemed a little blasé about the whole tragedy with the author telling us the characters are all in pain but never showing us. The book tries to be a classic children’s book about death and loss but, for me, it was just a little flat and lack real emotion.
Final Rating: 2 out of 5