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  • Lara-Johanna Pirk

The Last Whale


I recently read the book “The Last Whale” by Chris Vick. It is a young adult fiction about a girl called Abi. She is a climate activist and computer geek, using her tech abilities to hack into the websites of companies causing harm to the environment. The book starts in the present and covers three generations of Abi’s family.

It starts with Abi going on a forced vacation to visit her grandmother on a remote island in Norway. She does not want to be there and is stressed when she finds out there is no internet, as she has work to do for her climate organisation, EC. As part of the organisation, she received an AI that can help her document animals and process that data to understand how they communicate. The AI is very advanced and can even have entire conversations with the owner. She is relieved when she finds out that by using this AI, she can still work on her projects even though she is not connected to the internet.

On the island, each year whales cross. Abi gets excited by the chance of seeing one and keeps finding herself looking out across the vast ocean. One night, she goes out and sees whales diving in the water nearby. She is fascinated and immediately obsessed.

While working in a cabin on the island, she finds an old tape machine and several tapes. She powers the machine up and discovers that the tapes hold whale songs. Along with her AI, she analyses the songs and makes an important discovery.

Later in the book, the perspective changes and we now follow Abi’s daughter, Tonje, as she tries to find whales along with her mother.

In conclusion, I like the book a lot as it talks about climate change, a topic I am interested in. It has a fascinating plot line with different perspectives over many years. I also like that you get to see the timespan of about 70 years and can learn whale facts along the way. One negative thing was that it took quite a long time to get back into the story once the perspective switched and you were not sure how many years had passed. 

All in all, it is a sad but interesting story about a girl and her goal to save the planet and whales. I would definitely recommend it.

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