By Kit de Waal
Pub Date: 11 July 2019
Teens & YA
PGBB Reviewed on NetGalley 27 May 2019 ⭐5/5
A book that's practically perfect in every way. And a perfect first book to launch new imprint Bellatrix (see about below).
'Becoming Dinah' has a hundred-and-one themes to explore to their depths; two timelines gradually merging for a satisfying resolution; and one girl, with two names, pulled apart by so many dichotomies: race / bi-race; sexuality / bi-sexuality; religion / secularism; community / self... Call her Dinah. Or call her Ishmael.
Kit de Waal delivers her story seamlessly. It's utterly absorbing. The characters are completely real. And the links to the original Moby Dick are both delightfully playful (we have an Ishmael, an Ahab, a Pip, a 'whale white' vintage VW campervan, just for starters) and perfectly subtle, folded into the structure and themes.
It's quite a masterwork, and perfectly accessible at the same time.
Bellatrix [noun: female warrior] In literature and in life, women of the past and present have a million stories that are untold, mis-told or unheard. In response, we [Orion's Children's} are proud to launch Bellatrix: a new collection of gripping, powerful and diverse YA novels by leading female voices. From gothic to thriller, to romance to funny, each book is entirely unique, but linked by a passion for telling her whole story.
Helen Thomas, editor-at-large at Hachette Children’s Group, said: “It’s an honour to have two absolutely remarkable authors launching the Bellatrix collection for us this year. Both Kit and Kiran have found untold stories and perspectives lurking within two major classics – they’re changing the story by telling the story, the whole story. What’s most important, though, is that these books are completely unique – it doesn’t matter whether we know Moby Dick or Dracula or not, and we’re not interested in being worthy; these are gripping, inclusive, provocative, exciting books in their own right. This collection is about giving voice where it’s not always heard, through the vehicle of first-class storytelling.”