Read Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala Online


"After her mother dies, twelve-year-old Talia McQuinn goes to the Arctic with her father, a whale researcher. Over the course of one summer, and through several unlikely friendships, Talia learns that stories have the power to connect us, to provide hope, and to pull us out of the darkness"--...

Title : Waiting for Unicorns
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780525426318
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Waiting for Unicorns Reviews

  • Mary
    2019-04-24 14:51

    What a delightful juvenile read. A delightful story of hope, perspective and narwhals!

  • Amy-Jo Conant
    2019-03-29 13:53

    GRL - WDRA - 60LX - 840I was pleasantly surprised by this book as I had it hanging around for a while before I plunged into reading it. I began taking notes early on in my reading and might just end up sharing my thoughts as I journeyed through the book. First, this book is not for everyone. You need to be a patient, introspective reader. There is very little action, very little dialogue. This book is about relationships, loss, finding friendship, repairing relationships. Aspiring writers should absolutely read this book. If you want to be an author who writes beautiful novels read this and take notes. This book has a slow pace (given the little action). However, it's pacing is perfect and I would recommend you read it slow. The language is beautiful, hauntingly so. Most books have special lines sprinkled in here and there that give you pause. This book is filled with line after line that is poetic and meaningful. You could open up to almost any page point to a line and analyze it. There is so much for book groups to discuss. Some of my favorites: "The happiest people are the ones who've decided that everything they already have is everything they'll ever want.""... Dad would have never said the things he did. And maybe- maybe- I needed to hear those things, ... more than I needed unicorns.""Sometimes I forget almost everything takes practice. Sometimes you have to do them over and over again before you can do them well. ""We all carry scars, some of them are just a bit more visible than others." "I could choose to be brave, because that what love does. It puts courage in all your empty places and lets you believe that good things, impossible things, can still happen.""Being brave takes practice."So image 240 pages filled with these kinds of ideas coming at you one after the other. The fact is some books throw it at you and cram it down your throat in a preachy way. I didn't feel that way with this book. It came easy and slow and in a way, you could connect with Talia. You get wrapped up in her grief and sadness and you are thankful for the quiet cast of characters that support her. They support her without interfering and give her the space she needs. There is a beauty to their relationship. It has the sweetness of Winn-Dixie with an edge of maturity. In Winn-Dixie Opal brings hope to her friends. In Unicorns, Talia gains hope from those around her. Talia is a character to root for. You want good things to happen to her. The culminating conversation between Talia and her Dad is very real. You see a parent with flaws grasping at how to deal with an immense loss and new responsibilities.Read... enjoy!Notes: If you are uncomfortable with the topic of cancer or loss you might want to skip this book. Also, there is a very brief kiss that readers might want to be aware of.

  • Lonnie Smith
    2019-03-24 19:10

    What a read! A heartfelt story of a young girl coming to terms with loss, forgiveness and new life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down (finished it in one sitting).The author was adept in painting the landscape and really making you feel like you were there, as well as sitting inside the narrator's head. Recommend = Yes!DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a Pre-Release edition of the book which is subject to change.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-24 18:07

    I loved this book. I loved how visible the author made the character's feelings. The story was so touching and emotional. It was really sad at some points but also very cool.

  • Jonathan
    2019-04-04 21:57

    Such real emotion as I read, leapt off the pages and burrowed into my heart, showing themselves again in the corners of my eyes. This is real fiction. The kind that works through the heart, the most real kind there is. Loved the adventure, loved being plunged under despair, loved being lifted in hope.

  • Phil
    2019-04-12 17:44

    Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala gave me what I think was important insight on coping with the loss of a love one, specifically from cancer. It showed me that life needs to go on, other wise you might miss out on good times with the people you have left. The book was published in 2015 and was the authors first book. Beth Hautala's style was definitely more simplistic and geared towards the stereotypical young teenage girl. The book is about a girl and her father who go to Alaska in search of narwhal whales after losing the matriarch of the family to cancer. While there the characters are developed in a way that seems realistic yet positive despite the loss of their close family member. This made them relatable to me because at the time I had never lost a family member and thought I would be able to handle the grief very easily. To make the book better for me, I would have made one of the characters closer to my age. The plot is extremely predictable through out the book. But it didn't matter because I think it was meant to warm a person's heart rather than surprise them. The book compares to no other book I have ever read. I randomly selected the book on a reading monday and read it all the way through. I would warn potential readers that there is a scene that includes a kiss between young teenagers. I would recommend the book to anyone who has experienced the pain cancer can cause on a family. I would not recommend it to any advanced student outside of the previously mentioned criteria because it is an extremely predictable easy read.

  • Vikki VanSickle
    2019-04-18 21:45

    Much of the book is about Talia holding onto the memory of her mother, Katherine. She was the kind of person who believed in magic and made life bright and fun. Talia is desperate for stories about her mother, which Sura is happy to provide. This information and a few choice flashbacks sprinkled throughout the narrative make it achingly clear what Talia has lost. But this book is also about forging new relationships. Her father isn’t so much distant as grief-stricken. Talia and her father were never as close as she was with her mother, but they both yearn to connect and when they do it is extremely satisfying for the reader. Sura seems gruff at first but is patient with Talia and wins her over in part with pancakes and some truly delicious-sounding hot chocolate. And then there’s Simon the Guitar Boy, a preternaturally wise and positive influence on Talia. In other words, exactly the kind of friend/crush she needs. In many ways this book is about the power and importance of wishing, a not-so-distant cousin of hope. This keeps the book buoyant, and despite some truly aching moments, the book never becomes unbearably heavy.There are a lot of lovely details in this book that straddle the line between whimsical and earthy, which is possibly my favourite line in children’s fiction, and one not easy to straddle effectively. A particularly effective visual metaphor in the book is the jar of wishes that Talia keeps under her bed. I also loved the ‘unicorn of the sea’ imagery and the little tidbits of natural history, wildlife, and conservation which pervade the book and give a excellent sense of place. Canadian readers will especially love how Hautala represents one of our more Northern communities. The conservation angle and the setting are part of what sets Waiting for Unicorns apart from the crowd

  • AliceAnn
    2019-03-29 15:51

    This was a very well done book. There were no gadgets or gizmos, no chase scenes, or anything blowing up in space, (although I have nothing against those things, in fact I often prefer them); however, this book didn't need any of that. It was simply a well-written book about a young teenage girl, who has to learn to deal with her mother's death, as well as her father's prolonged absences. The characters are all believable, and the Arctic setting felt spot on; almost a little too believable here in the cold, snow-covered Midwest. This is a book about hope, and wishes, and second chances, and it made my heart happy. Highly Recommend.

  • Brittany Perry
    2019-04-23 17:56

    I WON THIS BOOK FREE FROM GOODREADS FIRST READS GIVEAWAY! This book was fabulous. The cover was gorgeous and matches the interior work. It is set in the Artic so I also think this would make an excellent winter read. The main character grows a lot in the book and the character development in this work is very well done. This was not a junk book but a very nice piece and I am so happy to have it on my shelf. It flowed well. I seriously recommend picking it up it has that same sort of spirit as some of Gary Paulson's work and was a book that I really relished. Just a superb read.

  • Yareli Becerril
    2019-04-17 13:42

    100000000% I would recommend it. I really loved this book about friendship and loss. I found it so sad when I found out that Talia's mom had died, and that Talia had decided to cut her own too. I would totally reread this book.

  • Mercy
    2019-03-30 16:03

    Talia travels to the Arctic circle with her researcher father the summer after her mother passes away. Her childhood wish to see unicorns (a connection with her mother) becomes merged with recent local sightings or narwhal whales.

  • Kim Straub
    2019-04-05 19:57

    This is a wonderful, insightful and philosophical story set in Churchill amid the polar bears and arctic turns. The protagonist, a thirteen year old girl, is trying to come to grips with the death of her mother.

  • Mary
    2019-04-16 15:06

    Lot of skimming to get through this book.

  • Mindy
    2019-04-10 14:09

    Have tissues handy.

  • Kandes
    2019-04-16 19:40

    I only read maybe 1/3 of this book, but my God.... it's so dang boring. This isn't a review of course because I guess I didn't give it much of a chance. I was just so bored I decided to DNF it. It was part of this year's challenge to read a book I knew nothing about but nope, I'm over it. 2 stars because I don't think it's fair to rate it at all.

  • Hannah
    2019-04-11 18:54

    this book wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I think that it turned out better that way!! 😉 I absolutely loved this book!

  • Kaci
    2019-04-11 18:50

    I really liked this book. I was intrigued by the arctic setting in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. My favorite parts were the interactions between Talia and the people of Churchill.

  • abigail mcalister
    2019-03-25 17:46

    this is a believing book.

  • NebraskaIcebergs
    2019-03-31 19:09

    Waiting for Unicorns is set in the unusual location of Manitoba. This is one reason I felt drawn to Beth Hautala’s debut novel. I also appreciated the relationships and themes explored in this quiet and beautiful story. Despite some minor quibbles, I found Waiting for Unicorns a poignant tale of loss and hope.My favorite part about Waiting for Unicorns is how the main character, Talia, deals with death. Her mother has recently died of cancer. This leaves Talia and her father feeling broken. Thus, while Talia didn’t want her father to leave her for his research, it also feels of vital importance for her father to find the whales he studies. Somehow, this will help keep him together. It also becomes critical for the wishes Talia has written on scraps of paper stored in a mason jar to come true. One in particular, involving narwhals, has to happen. If they do, maybe her wishes will also allow Talia to see her mother one more time and to say a final farewell. Once her father does leave Talia for his research, it also becomes critical for him to call and visit Talia as scheduled. When this plan ends up being jeopardized, Talia found herself falling further apart, unable to deal with additional loss.The North is a region not often portrayed in young adult literature and I enjoyed seeing it as the setting. From my limited research, it seems as if Hautala mostly gets her facts and details right about Northern Canada. The people in Churchill are a mix, some being Aboriginal hunters from the community and others being academic researchers from outside. Thus, it is appropriate for Talia’s father to have been hired to study whales there. Temperature is that of subarctic climate. Thus, it is also appropriate for Hautala to use the cold to describe both how Talia feels physically and emotionally after her mother’s death. Finally, tourism is a significant industry, drawing spectators to see natural wildlife including polar bears. It does seem however that polar bear attacks are rare, which means the attack of one on Talia’s friend seemed to serve more as a plot device intended to deepen the thematic exploration of loss than that of an actual realistic event.Hautala notes in my interview with her that there’s little written about the Inuit and so she wanted to know more about them. From my limited research, it also seems as if Hautala mostly gets her facts and details right about the Inuit. Being a people of the land, they depend on meat for their food. Thus, many of them would be hunters and one of their main foods would be caribou. Although many Inuit do still hold to these traditional ways of life, they also live in modern homes, use snowmobiles for transportation in the winter, and in other ways depend on white man’s conveniences. I did find it interesting Hautala choose to have Talia and her father live with an Inuit woman, given that apparently they’re in the minority of the Aboriginal cultures in Churchill. The portrayal, however, of Suri seems authentic. It seems reasonable that she would serve a mix of Inuit food such as tuktu or caribou fried in fat along with Canadian food such as orange juice and toast. It’s also realistic that Suri might share Inuit lore such as that about how the narwhal were formed and to also share memories of Talia’s mom. However, Talia’s revulsion over eating moose and caribou meat seemed a little excessive (and thereby perhaps offensive) in the light of only around 3% of Americans being vegetarian.As with many novels, the start of The Waiting for Unicorns felt weak in contrast to the rest. To move for a summer from Woods Hole, Massachusetts to Churchill, Manitoba, Talia and her father drive to Montreal. There, he sells the family truck, because one can’t drive to Churchill. Instead, Talia and her father now board an airplane that takes them all the way to Churchill. If this is a temporary move, why sell the truck? If they’re unable to take it all the way with them, why not simply fly the entire way, as apparently they did at the end of the trip? Once I got past this befuddlement, I often found myself teary-eyed at how sensitively Hautala handles the shared grief of Talia and her father.Hautala says that she had to wrestle through a lot of bad writing and a lot of rejection before she finally told the story I needed to tell. The result is a culturally-rich tale of new landscapes, new friendships, and lots of healing moments.

  • Shannon
    2019-04-15 16:45

    I enjoyed this book. A story about Talia and her struggle to overcome the death of her mother. Talia's father is a whale researcher who brings her with him to the Artic. She stays with a family friend, Sura, while her dad embarks on his annual whaling trip. Talia makes friends with Sura, the Birdman, and Simon- a boy her own age. She feels confused and lost by the absence of both of her parents and struggles to understand why her father left her with a stranger in a faraway place for a whole summer. In the end, Talia learns a lot about herself and how to live in a world that is not a wish-granting factory but still amazing nonetheless.I honestly don't understand why my students haven't loved this book. I had to struggle not to cry on multiple occasions.

  • Kimberly
    2019-04-03 20:06

    Some books are just perfect to read out loud and this is definitely one of them.

  • Jenny
    2019-04-22 16:03

    My full thoughts and review: Arctic isn't your typical summer getaway location, but that's exactly where twelve-year-old Talia is heading. Her father's a whale researcher who stays out on the water for weeks at a time collecting data on whales. This leaves Talia with too much time to worry and think. She worries that her dad won't come back. She thinks about losing her mom less than a year ago. And that she wasn't able to say goodbye.There might not be much to do in Manitoba, but there sure are some interesting people. For example, Simon the Guitar Boy and his grandfather, Birdman. Simon loves playing the guitar, and Birdman is named because, well, he loves watching birds. Though she's at first taken aback by these two unique individuals, she quickly comes to love their quirky nature and thinks of them as part of her family.While her dad is out on the sea, Talia is able to talk with him on a weekly basis using a handheld radio. After missing two of their regularly scheduled chat dates, she becomes very worried that something terrible has happened. So much can go wrong on a fishing vessel, especially in the icy waters of the Arctic. Sura and her friends try to help her be positive, but after already losing one parent, Talia is especially fearful of losing another.One thing that helps keep Talia from losing all hope is her wish jar. Since the time when her mom was diagnosed with cancer, she's been making wishes on paper and adding them to the jar. The one wish she hopes will come true is that she'll somehow be able to say a final goodbye to her mom. She knows it's unrealistic, but the rule to the wish jar is that a wish can't be removed until it comes true.When her father finally returns, he brings good news. Narwhals have been spotted and Talia is going with her father to see them! Because unicorns have the power to make wishes come true, Talia hopes these unicorns of the sea will be able to do the same. Out on the boat, Talia and her father use the radio equipment to try and locate the narwhals. After more than a week, they have no luck and must return home. But the trip wasn't for nothing. Talia and her father finally talk about the passing of her mom, and the emptiness left by her mom's passing seems to get a little smaller.In the end, Talia starts to reconsider the idea of wishes. She's gone through some pretty major changes over the course of just a summer. She's finally started to accept the loss of her mom, and even more importantly, the fact that she'll never get to say the goodbye she's been wishing for. Talia leaves Manitoba a year older, and more than a year wiser.

  • Dana Bibb
    2019-04-09 19:00

    While this was a good story and a favorable ending, this is not the sort of book that I would call a page turner. It is well written and a good story line. I enjoyed the setting, as I love cold winters and northern areas.

  • Leah Smith
    2019-03-28 19:50

    I always have problems with the term-children's literature. This book is children's literature, but I loved it and I am many, many years from childhood. Good writing, excellent plotting, well-developed characters and a lush magical setting can speak to everyone.This book had all of my favorites an Arctic setting, Churchill, Manitoba-home of the Polar Bears, and a place I would love to visit. A spunky, troubled female protagonist who also shares my name as her middle name (different spelling though) Talia Lea McQuinn, and whales, specifically belugas and narwhals. I have been fascinated by narwhals for years.I can't believe this is author Beth Hautala's debut book. It's that good. Filled with the mystical location, Inuit traditions, and the heart tugging theme of the loss of a parent, this book delves into all of the emotions that we encounter in life.I really liked how the author included a lot of factual history (Miss Piggy) in this book as well.I loved how different cultures story telling traditions are woven into the story. I think this quote explains so well of why all cultures have fairy tales and myths that get passed down through the generations. As Talia's mom explained to her "There are two kinds of stories—the kind people make up to help them explain something they can’t believe, and the kind people make up to help them believe something they can’t explain.”I don't want to give away too much of the plot of this lovely book, but do yourself a favor. Read this book with its lovely cover-read it yourself or read it to a child. You are in for quite a treat!

  • Christine Turner
    2019-04-24 17:49

    Subject:Grief -- Juvenile fictionStorytelling -- Juvenile fictionArctic regions -- Juvenile fiction.SummaryA novel about one girl's journey to the arctic, where she discovers the power of letting go of pain and opening up to second chances When twelve-year-old Talia, still reeling from the recent death of her mother, is forced to travel with her emotionally and physically distant whale-researcher father to the Arctic for the summer, she begins to wonder if the broken pieces inside of her will ever begin to heal. Like her jar of wishes, Talia feels bottled up and torn. Everything about life in Churchill feels foreign, including Sura, the traditional Inuit woman whom Talia must live with. But when Sura exposes her to the tradition of storytelling, she unlocks something within Talia that has long since been buried: her ability to hope, to believe again in making wishes come true. A rich and poignant story about opening up, to new people, to second chances, to moving forward with life.Author NotesBeth Hautala ( grew up listening to true tales of arctic adventure as told by her grandfather, an Alaskan bush pilot. She has a degree in Writing and Rhetoric from Northwestern College and has written for Lake Country Journal Magazine and Forget Magazine . Beth lives in Minnesota with her husband and their children. Follow Beth on Twitter at @BethHautala.

  • Erin Martin
    2019-04-20 21:07

    Most of the time picking up a book on a whim without knowing anything about it and without checking any ratings is a gamble, and it usually ends in a dnf or a low rating. But sometimes, you find an absolute gem. I was initially drawn in by the physical beauty of the book itself. It has one of the most gorgeous covers and under the dust jacket the book is such a stunning blue. Then the synopsis had me hooked. Summer in the arctic?? Sign me up. That sounds like my kind of book.12 year old Talia's mother had just died of cancer a year previously, and now she and her scientist father are headed up to northern Canada so that her father can track and monitor the beluga whales that migrate there. Though Talia is obviously grieving, she is not wallowing in absolute self-pity. Her grief is believable and it's healthy. She's struggling to except her new way of life and is trying to figure out her place and how she will go on without her mother to guide her. This is a beautiful story about acceptance and hope and about learning to make the best out of a sad situation. I learned that sometimes we focus so much on one specific goal that we don't even notice the small things happening around us that make us happy. This book was so original and beautiful. I can't recommend it enough. I loved it.

  • Katie
    2019-04-16 17:04

    Thirteen year old Talia loses a parent, does not understand the other one, and struggles with coping with all her emotions and fears. She holds onto all these wishes, and gets hurt when bigger wishes aren't fulfilled, without realizing she's not paying attention to all the little wishes that are coming true. This is partially a coming of age story. I thought the author did a good job in portraying the emotional struggles of a young teenager. The father kept on working, even though that meant being away for a month, leaving his daughter with a friend. To a kid, there's no rationality. All she knew was that her mother was gone, and her dad left her too, with a stranger. Adults cope with situations differently than young ones, and unfortunately kids just see it as being indifferent and that they don't care about them. This book is a little journey with a young girl discovering she is not alone.

  • Yapha
    2019-04-16 16:58

    Talia's father is a scientist who studies whales. The summer after her mother dies, he brings Talia with him to Churchill, Manitoba in the Arctic Circle while he studies beluga whales. Talia brings with her jar of wishes, started when her mother got sick. She is desperate to find a unicorn to grant her a wish when the Inuit woman whose house she is staying at tells her a legend about narwhals, considered the unicorns of the sea.Talia feels that if she can just find a narwhal, everything in her life will be made right again. When her father goes out to sea for six weeks, Talia must come to terms with her own grief and decide whether to open herself up to the new people and experiences in Churchill. This powerful book is a journey through grief and out the other side again. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.

  • Julie Williams
    2019-03-26 15:57

    Talia is heartbroken. Her mom recently dies of cancer and she didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. Not her dad is taking her to the Arctic where he will leave her with a stranger while he goes on a whale expedition. It is not fair. To cope Talia keeps a wishing jar - she is waiting for her wishes to come true and especially longs to see a unicorn because they are known to fulfill wishes. When Talia hears about beluga whales in the area, unicorns of the sea, she tries to find one of those as well. But in waiting for some big wishes to cometrue she almost misses the small miracles everyday.This was a nice story...not too long, good characters, interesting plot without some of the drama and angst of a typical middle grade book. Too quiet??? Curious to see how this appeals to readers.

  • Abby Stevens
    2019-04-03 20:50

    You know those books that just SING? Waiting For Unicorns is one of them.A coming-of-age story set in the Arctic, Talia is facing the recent loss of her mother and the distance she feels from the rest of the world. The setting reflects her isolation, but also makes room for the threads of love and community that she can't fully avoid. As she waits for her father to return to her, she makes wishes and keeps them in a jar: wishes for unicorns, for the memory of her mother, for a story that will tell her the truth when life seems impossible to understand. If you know a middle-grade young woman who is struggling to find her place in the world, give her the gift of Waiting For Unicorns. She'll thank you.