Book Review: The Marino Mission, by Karen Chapman

marino_mission_coverThis book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.

Have you ever had to leave a place that you absolutely loved? Did you end up loving this place that you went to, and not want to leave? Karen Chapman, the author of The Marino Mission, has clearly shown that it is tough to leave family and friends, through the perspective of a young, 16 year old girl, Alexa. Karen Chapman has received a B.S. in Biology and Marine Biology. She has had experiences similar to the one in this book and has reacted towards them as Alexa did.

On the small island of Puerto Marino, every way you look, there is sand, palm trees, and the ocean. There is a large marine safety campus that is where most of The Marino Mission takes place. There are many dolphins that are being held in this laboratory and some that are only a few months old!

Many times, I found myself not able to put this book down. Every minute that I was reading this book, my eyes were glued. I never reached a place that either bored me or lost my interest. I would also found myself at times  laughing at something that one of the characters had said or done. This book is also great because it appeals to many interests, other than marine biology. I would most definitely love to read this book again and even out loud to one of my siblings.

Alexa, who is a very bright 16 year old girl, is the daughter of a marine biologist and a biology teacher at a university. “She looked at her long, blonde, beautiful hair in the mirror as she was brushing it on her way to school.  She had never been one of the “popular” people in her school, but she did have many great friends” (17). Over the years, Alexa started to love working in labs with her mother and father. Soon after working in labs, she was told by her mother that she would be moving to and island over the summer, for her mother’s job. When Alexa arrived at Puerto Marino, she was very sad about leaving her friends back home. After a few days of working in labs in the marino, she decided that she would like to go and see the ocean. While she was on the beach, a young boy had shouted out to her. After Alexa realized that he was talking to her, she was embarrassed and ran back to the lab. A few days had gone by and she returned to the same beach. Alexa heard a voice behind her and instantly knew that it was going to be the same boy. The boy had introduced himself as José. Over the three months that Alexa was visiting Puerto Marino, she and José developed a great friendship. Through this friendship, Alexa and José were faced with a magnificent challenge. José and Alexa had worked very hard together to come up with a plan that would help them solve their problem.

Karen Chapman had come up with a great idea that has captivated many readers minds. She had placed characters in the story knowing exactly which role they would play to help Alexa with her problem. Throughout the story I would wonder what the author was seeing as she was writing this book. After finishing this book, I realized that she was painting the picture, that everyone is given challenges, either large or small.  However people choose to get through their problems always ends up helping either them selves or someone/something else. “I have never been more happy to see people back together, than I am right now seeing them, knowing that I have helped” (202-203).

I would most definitely love to read this book again, and even to one of my siblings.  I have found that this book would be appropriate for ages 10 and up because in some places of this book, it is the slightest bit, hard to read clearly. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a book to enjoy. I would also like to see if there are any other books that are written by the same author so that I could yet again enjoy a book.

-Zoe P., 7th grade

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