To Night Owl from Dogfish – ARC Review

A few months ago, I asked to take part in the blog tour for To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer. The cover really captured my attention, and it sounded like a departure from my typical YA Fantasy reads. I’m so happy to share my thoughts on this heartwarming book!

Click here for the Synopsis!

From two extraordinary authors comes a moving, exuberant, laugh-out-loud novel about friendship and family, told entirely in emails and letters. Avery Bloom, who’s bookish, intense, and afraid of many things, particularly deep water, lives in New York City. Bett Devlin, who’s fearless, outgoing, and loves all animals as well as the ocean, lives in California. What they have in common is that they are both twelve years old, and are both being raised by single, gay dads. When their dads fall in love, Bett and Avery are sent, against their will, to the same sleepaway camp. Their dads hope that they will find common ground and become friends–and possibly, one day, even sisters. But things soon go off the rails for the girls (and for their dads too), and they find themselves on a summer adventure that neither of them could have predicted. Now that they can’t imagine life without each other, will the two girls (who sometimes call themselves Night Owl and Dogfish) figure out a way to be a family?

One of the first things I want to talk about is the cover. It almost looks like a merit badge, and I love that. I think the design, the colors, and even the title would really appeal to both boys and girls. I myself thought that one of the titular characters was a boy for a few pages and was surprised to learn they were both girls (even though that is clearly stated in the synopsis, get it together Sam). I think this would be a great book for boys to read, especially boys who love summer camp!

Just so darn cute! Look at that lil shark!

The story is told through a series of emails, primarily, between the 2 main girls Avery & Bett. They’re modern day pen pals! Initially, the girls are staunchly opposed to becoming friends, even though it was obvious to me that they were destined to be friends forever from the first page. I really enjoyed their constant denial of their blossoming friendship. It reminded me of a past experience I had with someone who turned into a great friend.

The girls eventually meet at camp, at their father’s insistence, but soon their lives conspire to pull them apart again. Most of the story focuses on the 2 girls maintaining a friendship across the country, and trying to find a way to stay connected across thousands of miles. Again, I feel like this theme makes the book a great read for young boy or girl readers. I really enjoyed it as an adult too! It was great to see the girls work together and learn to accept the good and the bad in each other. There are lessons for readers of all ages in these pages.

Today I am posting in tandem with Alex from Randomly Reading! In honor of pen pals Bett and Avery, we decided to exchange a few questions for each other.

1. Have you ever played matchmaker? 

Avery and Bett wind up spending a lot of time trying to fix up their Dad’s. If you know me, you know I’m not much for romance so I haven’t ever really tried to fix anyone up. However, I definitely remember conspiring with friends in Middle School or High School to help them bump into their crush in the hallway. Those were the days! xD

2. Have you ever had a cross country friendship?

Yes! In High School, I had a really great friend who I spoke to almost every day. We maintained communication for several years even though we had never met in person. He got me through some really difficult times. Unfortunately, he stopped speaking to me a few years ago after he got married. It was a bit of a shock, and honestly, I still wonder what I did to warrant that but it goes to show that it’s difficult to have long distance friends! I really loved watching Avery & Bett grow in their friendship despite the distance between them.

3. If you went to camp, are you still friends with anyone from those summers?

I was never able to go to a proper sleep away camp, though I did do some weekend events with a youth group (throwback!), and I did participate in band camp with my High School’s marching band. I’m not super close to anyone from my grade school days anymore, but I like to keep tabs on a few of my band friends when I can. You really learn a lot about yourself and the people around you when you share an experience like that.

I would love to hear about your experiences with summer camps or pen pals! I have had a lot of pen pals over the past few years, it’s such an interesting way to get to know someone. I highly recommend checking out To Night Owl from Dogfish. It is on shelves now! Pick up a copy for yourself, or the camper in your life.

About the Authors:

Holly Goldberg Sloan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and spent her childhood living in Holland; Istanbul, Turkey; Washington, D.C.; Berkeley, California; and Eugene, Oregon. After graduating from Wellesley College and spending some time as an advertising copywriter, she began writing family feature films, including Angels in the Outfield and Made in America. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Counting by 7s and Short, among other novels. 

Meg Wolitzer was born in Brooklyn, New York, grew up in the town of Syosset, on Long Island, and sold her first novel, Sleepwalking, while a senior in college. She is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous novels for adults, including The InterestingsThe Ten-Year NapThe Wife, and The Female Persuasion; the young adult novel Belzhar; and the middle-grade novel The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.


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