Just this Side of Reality: Nim's Island | Review

Nim's Island - Wendy Orr, Kate Reading, Inc. Blackstone Audio

An enchanting MG Contemporary Fantasy


Nim lives on an island in the middle of the wide blue sea, shared by only her father, Jack, a marine iguana called Fred, a sea lion called Selkie, a turtle called Chica, and a satellite dish for her e-mail. No one else in the world lives quite like Nim, and she wouldn't swap places with anyone.

But when Jack disappears in his sailing boat and disaster threatens her home, Nim must be braver than she's ever been before. And she needs help from her friends, old and new.


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Nim's Island by Wendy Orr, read by Kate Reading, published by Blackstone Audio (2008) / Length: 2 hrs 25 min



This is Book #1 of 3 in the Nim series. It is the only one available on audio.



It could be argued that this book is not really fantasy, it is just a book about a very imaginative little girl who is good with animals. That's probably true; but it reads more like a fantasy than a straightforward contemporary, so I feel comfortable reviewing it here on the blog.


Although the book is very short, it feels longer (in a good way). And it is strong in all three areas I generally review (see below).



Nim: Although she is very mature for her age, and able to take care of herself pretty well, she is also a typical child. She loves to have fun, such as playing coconut soccer with her "friends," and throws a bit of a tantrum when things aren't what she thought they were.


The human supporting cast includes Jack (her father) & adventure writer Alex(andra) Rover. If I was reviewing this as a contemporary review, I might have to say some harsh things about Jack's parenting. But I'm not, so I can say that he is a loving & fun father who is raising a smart & self-sufficient daughter. / The animal friends are bursting with personality. Selkie, the sea-lion nanny, reminds me of Nana from Peter Pan.



Although in real life I would probably hate the heat & humidity, this definitely makes me want to take a vacation to her island. There are so many details here of all the wonderful things in Nim's life. As well as a few not so wonderful ones, such as dead & rotting things - yuck.



This is a really short book, and yet a lot of things happen. We get to start out with a more typical view of her life with regular chores & scientific chores plus fun with her animal friends. Then things start to get more & more serious as she loses contact with her father and complications ensue. The ending resolves all of these issues while leaving their future open to changes.



  • All the times they say they love something "the way..."
  • An avian postman




CONTENT NOTESCaution: Nim's mother died in an accident at sea (caused by the irresponsible actions of others.)



Character voices differentiated = Yes, I wasn't always fond of Alexandra's / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good, especially angry Nim / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual



Nim's Island (Nim #1) by Wendy Orr, read by Kate Reading, published by Blackstone Audio (2008) / Length: 2 hrs 25 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • Can you recommend any other good "not quite fantasy" books?
  • Why are so many fictional parents absent in some way, isn't it possible to have adventures while they are still around?


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