Primary Genre(s): Middle Grade, Magical Realism
Published: 19 May 2020 by Random House Children’s/Crown Books for Young Readers
Page count: 336
My Format: eARC via NetGalley
Ending: Heartwarming and Happy
Would I recommend it: Definitely!
Commission Link: Buy The Elephant’s Girl
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads
An elephant never forgets…but Lexington Willow can’t remember her past. When she was a toddler, a tornado swept her away from everyone and everything she knew and landed her near an enclosure in a Nebraska zoo, where an elephant named Nyah protected her from the storm. With no trace of her family, Lex grew up at the zoo with her foster father, Roger; her best friend, Fisher; and the wind whispering in her ear.
Now that she’s twelve, Lex is finally old enough to help with the elephants. But during their first training session, Nyah sends her a telepathic image of the woods outside the zoo. Despite the wind’s protests, Lex decides to investigate Nyah’s message and gets wrapped up in an adventure involving ghosts, lost treasure, and a puzzle that might be the key to finding her family. Can Lex summon the courage to hunt for who she really is–and why the tornado brought her here all those years ago?
I absolutely fell in love with this book! Here are my pros and cons for The Elephant’s Girl:
- I am such a fan of middle grade fiction. I have many favorites and this book has joined my favorites list easily. This story is a perfectly balanced mix of magical realism, mystery, adventure, ghost story, family drama, and friendship… and it takes place in a zoo! How cool is that?
- The story actually includes many contemporary topics that are great for children to read and learn about. These include atypical family units, animal rights, bullying, empathy, and cultural differences.
- The elephants! I adored Nyah and really enjoyed the relationship between Nyah and Lex. If you weren’t an elephant fan before, you will be after reading this book!
- I loved the wind imagery used in this story! It ranges from breezes that speak to Lexington all the way to tornados that wreak havoc. Ultimately, I think the message from the wind imagery is that we will always battle storms in our lives, but what we learn from those storms and how we move on is what is important.
- So much emotion! The relationships between Lex and everyone she knows were so special, but I particularly loved her relationship with her guardian Roger and her best friend Fisher. You will feel the affection, respect, and love as you read the story.
- The ghost element was interesting and incorporated into the story very organically. The ghost is not scary, but instead very helpful to Lex in many ways.
- I even enjoyed the adventure and mystery that the kids found themselves in!
- The story is beautifully written and it ends in an uplifting, heartwarming manner.
- Read that Author’s Note at the end! She discusses things she has learned about elephant communication using infrasonic sound – yes, it is a real thing! She also talks about people, organizations, and parks that help exploited elephants and encourage conservation efforts. Links to these organizations are included, as well as a recommended reading list, if you are interested in learning more about elephants.
Ultimately, this is a story about the power of friendship and love. It is about the positive connections we can develop with other humans and animals.
This is the author’s debut novel and I am so impressed. The author commented the following on Goodreads:
“I wrote this magical book for every kid who has ever felt alone and every kid who wants a good friendship story. It’s for girls and boys and elephants. It’s for kids who’d love the power to talk to the wind and for anyone who enjoys animals, adventure, and a hint of magic. This book is for everyone who has ever battled a storm. Face down the wind, my friends!”
I’d definitely recommend this book to middle grade readers, but I also think it would appeal to many adults as well. I certainly loved it!
Thank you NetGalley and Random House Children’s/Crown Books for Young Readers for a free eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Elephant’s Girl. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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(image from Goodreads)