Norah’s Ark | By Victoria Williamson
Book Review | Middle Grade Fiction | TheWriteReads Blog Tour
Two very different lives. One shared hope for a brighter future. No time to waste. The flood is coming…
Eleven-year-old Norah Day lives in temporary accommodation, relies on foodbanks for dinner, and doesn’t have a mum. But she’s happy enough, as she has a dad, a pet mouse, a pet spider, and a whole zoo of rescued local wildlife to care for. Eleven-year-old Adam Sinclair lives with his parents in a nice house with a big garden, a private tutor, and everything he could ever want. But his life isn’t perfect – far from it. He’s recovering from leukaemia and is questioning his dream of becoming a champion swimmer. When a nest of baby birds brings them together, Norah and Adam discover they’re not so different after all. Can Norah help Adam find his confidence again? Can Adam help Norah solve the mystery of her missing mother? And can their teamwork save their zoo of rescued animals from the rising flood? Offering powerful lessons in empathy, Norah’s Ark is a hopeful and uplifting middle-grade tale for our times about friendship and finding a sense of home in the face of adversity.
Narrative and Plot
The story of Norah’s Ark is told from both Norah’s and Adam’s perspectives. In theory, Adam and Norah are polar opposites. They both have what the other one wants. However, at heart, they are just two lonely souls who wish to be seen and understood. Once again, a middle-grade novel with heavier themes strikes well.
I enjoyed the tone of the book. It gives you a child’s perspective on things.
The plot was simple enough, and it is more of a character growth and journey rather than any kind of adventure. While maintaining innocence, it can be enjoyable for adults too.
Characters and Conflict
Both Norah and Adam are confused kids. They are affected by their environment. In the chaos, they find a common love and try to find joy. I enjoyed the character arc for both Norah and Adam. Both took their time coming out of their shell and learning the value of communication.
That being said, while I acknowledge the issue of homelessness and the foster system, it wasn’t that relatable to me. I come from a place where seeing a whole family sleeping under an overbridge for the night is normal. I come from a country where mid-day meals are provided in certain schools so that children are not denied their right to education. The issues and the magnitude of the problems in the story are vast. I am not trivializing the conflict in the story. Just saying that while I empathize with all that, it doesn’t move me beyond the scope of fiction. Other than physical abuse, I don’t think social services ever punish a parent for being poor where I live. That feels cruel to me.
All this to say that the premise had a disconnect for me beyond a fictional point of view. But I can see how someone who is more familiar with these systemic flaws can get passionate about it beyond the story.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Norah’s Ark. It had innocence and optimism, something the world needs all too much these days.
I received an e-Book for TheWriteReads blog tour in exchange for an honest review.