*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*
What is it about?
After the worst summer of her life, Parker desperately wants to be invisible. But her new classmate Sven has other ideas. He knows he has to do something memorable on his first day or he’ll forever be the epileptic kid that everyone feels sorry for. Unfortunately for Parker, he decides to make her his target. So, when Parker discovers that Alaska, the dog she used to own and love, is now Sven’s assistance dog, she hatches a plan to get her revenge…(goodreads)
Book: Talking to Alaska | Author: Anna Woltz | Translator: Laura Watkinson | Publisher: Rock the Boat | Pages: 192 | Release Date: 04.02.2021 | Genre: contemporary MG | Rep: epilepsy | TW: bullying, trauma, armed robbery
What did I think?
I absolutely adore novels centered around friendship. I love dogs. So when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. I expected so much from this and I certainly was not disappointed.
To be honest, I didn’t really like the two protagonists, Sven and Parker, on the first few pages. But while I didn’t immediately like them, I understood both of them. The new kid with the illness and the weirdo who had to give away her dog. Sven wants to be more than his epilepsy, he wants to be seen for who he is, so he decides to do something cool, something memorable. He doesn’t want to tell everyone about his illness and just wants to be more which is the reason why he doesn’t accept Alaska as his service dog.
Parker has usually been a loner. She’s loved her dog, Alaska, more than anything but had to give her away. There is not a single day where she doesn’t think about Alaska, she misses her. So when she sees Sven being indifferent to her best friend, she makes a plan to get her back.
This plan is a bit reckless, but through it Sven and Parker get to know each other better and grow closer. A tentative friendship is blossoming between them and I loved reading those parts the most. Parker and Sven really talking about things that matter to them with Alaska by their sides. It is a friendship with ups and downs, it helps both of them to figure out some important lessons and get to know not only each other but also themselves. They learn a lot about their surroundings and how humans act in certain situations. They learn about illnesses and trauma while still handling everything that’s going on in their lives.
Their friendship is such a precious thing to read about. I loved it so much because it felt real and awkward and warm and angry and just like a deep bond forming between them that they have yet to realize. And then there’s Alaska, this wonderful dog, torn between her job as a service dog and her love for her former owner. Not only do the two kids struggle, Alaska struggles as well, but she is the bond between them, bringing them together. It was so beautiful to read about. What a huge impact animals can have on humans and the other way around.
The only thing I wish there was more of were pages. I loved this story so much, it really could have been longer. Just some bits and pieces here and there, some more details, just more. I fully submerged in this wonderfully warm story of growth and friendship, it made me all fuzzy and emotional. What a beautiful book!