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Sharks in the Time of Saviors

By: Kawai Strong Washburn

In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears the worst. But Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story the stuff of legends.

Kawai Strong Washburn’s debut, Sharks in the Time of Saviors, follows Noa’s family as they struggle amid the collapsing sugarcane industry. They hail his rescue as a sign of the favor of ancient Hawaiian gods—a belief that appears reinforced by Noa’s puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor drives the family apart: Noa, now working as a paramedic in gritty Oregon neighborhoods, attempts to fathom his expanding abilities; farther north, in Washington, his older brother Dean, becoming obsessed with wealth and fame, hurtles into the world of elite college athletics; while in California, risk-addicted younger sister Kaui navigates unforgiving academic and wilderness landscapes to forge her independence from the family’s legacy.

When supernatural events revisit the Flores household in Hawai‘i—this time with tragic consequences—everyone must reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.

ISBN: 9780374272081

JLG Release: Aug 2020


Sensitive Areas: Language: Strong Language , Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes , Crime: General , Discrimination: Sexuality , Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur
Topics: Hawai'i , Family life , Hawaiian gods , Paramedics , College basketball , Supernatural

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Library Journal*, Booklist

Library Journal

Washburn’s first novel is a story of Hawaii and of its strength, founded not merely in sentiment but in tangible, mystical forces rooted in history and in the very soil. When Noa falls into the ocean as a child and is rescued by sharks and later as a middle schooler miraculously restores a playmate’s mangled hand by touch, his reputation as a Washburn’s first novel is a story of Hawaii and of its strength, founded not merely in sentiment but in tangible, mystical forces rooted in history and in the very soil. When Noa falls into the ocean as a child and is rescued by sharks and later as a middle schooler miraculously restores a playmate’s mangled hand by touch, his reputation as a “healer” is made. Noa’s brother, Dean, develops into a basketball phenomenon, aggressively recruited by colleges, and their sister, Kaui, breaks the curves in her mechanical engineering curriculum. The three siblings are seen by their parents as the saviors the parents could never be, but they are flawed saviors. Noa’s healing power is erratic, and he eventually disappears in the Hawaiian wilderness in search of his destiny. His siblings also encounter roadblocks, largely of their own making, leading to greatly lowered expectations. All this wreaks havoc on the hopeful parents, with their father suffering a nervous breakdown and their mother carrying the burden of the family’s travails. Recalling Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, each character in turn narrates portions of the story, an effective technique that offers a 360-degree perspective while keeping the story’s secrets until ready to be revealed. A more than noteworthy first foray into contemporary fiction by Hawaiian native Washburn.

Book Details

ISBN

9780374272081

First Release

August 2020

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/3"

Page Count

384

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Adult

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Strong Language , Sexual Content: Strong Sexual Content/Themes , Crime: General , Discrimination: Sexuality , Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur

Topics

Hawai'i, Family life, Hawaiian gods, Paramedics, College basketball, Supernatural,

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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Book Genres

Magical Realism

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