Thirteen year old Cam and his mother live in Cetacea (pronounced Si-tay-sha), the part of Australia that survived the third flood. The residents of Cetacea worship Big Blue, whose words are interpreted by Byron Vos, the founder of Cetacea and the only person who can talk to whales. Together, Cam and his fellow Cetaceans are working to repair the damage people have done to the environment.
‘Look after the Earth and the Earth will look after you.’
The last words Cam’s father said to him before he left have become Cam’s mission.
Follow Big Blue. Find the truth.
Together with his new friends, Banjo (like the frog) and Petra, Cam begins to question the truths he’s grown up with. On the surface, Cetacea appears perfect but when you look a little closer you realise this utopian society may actually be a dystopia.
Cam and his friends are not encouraged to think for themselves. They’re expected to accept the status quo without question.
Cam’s journey explores the bonds of family, the depths of grief and the value of friendship. You might think this book is about whales and you’d be right. Fundamentally, though, it is about asking questions. Being curious and seeking knowledge. Thinking for yourself rather than blindly accepting everything you see and hear as truth.
‘Fill your head with questions,’ he advised. ‘Because if you don’t, someone else will fill it with lies.’
This story is unlike anything I’ve previously read by this author but I loved it. I really liked getting to know Cam and Banjo but it was Petra who stole my heart. She’s an individual, she’s a survivor and this girl has spunk.
I love it when names have meaning in books. In case you’re wondering, cetaceans are marine mammals; they include whales, dolphins and porpoises. The name given to the people who visited Arlo was especially appropriate.
As an Australian, I appreciated the inclusion of the local wildlife in this book, although I was saddened to learn that even if I made it safely to Cetacea, my home would be submerged.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be at the beach looking for cetaceans.
Thank you so much to the author for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
“Follow Big Blue”. These were the last words that Cam’s father said to him. So Cam follows Big Blue, the giant whale-god, as does everyone else on Cetacea, an island in the flooded future.
The islanders’ lives play out under Big Blue’s rules, which are communicated to them by the enigmatic whale-talker, Byron Vos. Byron was once a marine scientist and is now organising an epic clean-up operation to revive the ocean after centuries of human greed and neglect.
But, as the story unfolds, Cam begins to wonder if all is not quite as it seems. Could there be a more complex truth behind Byron’s actions? A truth that may be connected to Cam’s father’s disappearance?
Cam’s quest to understand life under Big Blue leads him to new friends and shared adventures – but the truth, when he discovers it, turns out to be far more dangerous than he ever could have imagined.