Girl of the Southern Sea

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Girl of the Southern Sea

By Michelle Kadarusman
Juvenile Fiction Ages 9–12
ISBN: 978-1-77278-081-9
List Price: $19.95 CAD / $17.95 USD
Hardcover with dust jacket & reinforced trade binding
Trim size: 5.5 x 8 in / 13.97 x 20.32 cm
Pages: 224

Publication Date: May 2, 2019

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

A girl from the slums of Jakarta dreams of an education and the chance at a better life. But first she must battle the dangers of local superstition and thwart her father’s plans for her life.

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 too much. Her father sells banana fritters at the train station, but too much of his earnings go toward his drinking habit. Too often Nia is left alone to take over the food cart as well as care for her brother and their home in the Jakarta slums.

But Nia is determined to find a way to earn her school fees. After she survives a minibus accident unharmed and the locals say she is blessed with ‘good luck magic,’ Nia exploits the notion for all its worth by charging double for her fried bananas. Selling superstitions can be dangerous, and when the tide turns it becomes clear that Nia’s future is being mapped without her consent.

If Nia is to write a new story for herself, she must overcome more obstacles than she could ever have conceived of for her mythical princess, and summon courage she isn’t sure she has.

From the author of The Theory of Hummingbirds, Michelle Kadarusman.

Awards and Honours:
2019 Junior Library Guild selection

Reviews:
“In spare and elegant prose, Kadarusman weaves a quiet tale of survival, grit, and integrity….Peppered throughout are stories that Nia crafts, based on Indonesian legends about the princess of the Southern Sea. With nuanced characters, this is a lovely gem for fans of irrepressible girls and contemporary stories set outside of the U.S.”—Booklist

“A gripping, emotional realistic novel describing the grim realities of growing up in Indonesian poverty….VERDICT A riveting read featuring a determined and talented teenager.”—School Library Journal

“Punctuating Nia’s thoughtful, present-tense narration with her stories about Dewi, Kadarusman effectively weaves a gentle tale of love and loss and illuminates the power of storytelling. A thought-provoking peek into a culture deserving of more attention in North America.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A stark setting combines with striking characters…The novel does not offer simple solutions but instead wraps up Nia’s story in a way that demonstrates her willingness and ability to stand up for herself. Girl of the Southern Sea is an uplifting novel about hope and the power of storytelling.”—Foreword Reviews

“Rating: E…[Kadarusman’s] insight into life in Indonesia, supplemented by her shared heritage has made this fictional story of poverty, tradition and self-determination entirely accessible and – more importantly – believable. There is a pragmatism here that transcends all the possible and imagined divisions in this story which gives it an appeal as broad as the ocean it describes.”—Resource Links

“Nia is a wonderful character – resilient, courageous and independent….Kadarusman gives her readers a young rebel as the protagonist of this novel….Young adult readers in the junior grades will find Girl of the Southern Sea an entertaining and interesting novel. A glossary of Indonesian terms and a map will help with comprehension. The novel would be an excellent starting point from which to study Indonesian culture as well as the effects of poverty on young women in Indonesia and elsewhere in the world….Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine

“I cannot convey the depth of the storytelling within Girl of the Southern Sea and it’s message for girls to make their own opportunities….It’s origins may be saturated in misfortune and tragedy but it will become the story she wants to write for herself and make her the Girl of the Southern Sea.”—CanLit for LittleCanadians

“This story is so full of sadness, loss, bitterness, and heartbreak but it is also so full of love, friendship, hope and determination! Nia is an inspiration…This is a book that needs to be in every library and every classroom around the world!”—Blazer Tales