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Ship Sooner    by Mary Sullivan order for
Ship Sooner
by Mary Sullivan
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

It is said that there is nothing new under the sun. I beg to differ. Ship Sooner by Stay's author, Mary Sullivan, is new and different and enchanting.

Ship, a thirteen-year-old girl in a Massachusetts town, is gifted with exceptional hearing. She can hear the beating of her friend Brian's heart, the sound of water trickling down a shower wall, the breath of a baby across a room. She is also plagued by loud noises - the wail of a train whistle, the blast of a shotgun, the repeated squeal of a power saw. Ear caps are prescribed for her to tone down the sounds of the world. Her mother supports Ship and her sister Helen by baking pies and cakes for a local restaurant; Ship's father is not in the picture. There is a mystery surrounding her friend Brian, and Ship's life falls apart after she spies on Helen and Brian in a shed.

Ship Sooner is an unusually appealing young character. She is as human as you or I, and I wouldn't be surprised to open my front door and find her standing there. She is thrust into knowing more of the world than she should, because of her unusual hearing. The other players in this plot could be any one of us. Except, I hope, Brian's father - not a likable character, he is nevertheless a believable one. I was also impressed by Ships' mother Theresa's friendship and loyalty to her ailing friend Trudy. I know that such friendships do exist, as I was very lucky to have been in one.

Ship Sooner caught me from the very first page and gently led me into a plot that burst into totally unexpected action. The last hundred pages kept me almost breathless with anticipation and dread. This is fine writing at its best.

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