Tuesday, April 7, 2020

TO NIGHT OWL FROM DOGFISH by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer.  New York:  Dial Books, 2019.  310p.  ISBN 978-052555323-6 hc. $17.99    Gr. 5-8    JUV

Sloan and Wolitzer formulate a humorous middle-grade story about the families we're born into and the friendships we create on our own.  Written as an epistolary novel, this tale is told entirely through e-mail messages  between two 12 year-old girls.  Book-loving Avery from New York City and sports-loving Bett from California, secretly known to each other as Night Owl and Dogfish, couldn't be more different.  After routinely looking through her dad's e-mails, Bett discovers that her father met someone at a conference and has been dating online.  She also learns that the two fathers plan to visit China together, while sending both daughters to a summer camp in Michigan.  Bett's subject line to Avery is "You don't know me," which ends up with 62 replies back and forth while the girls learn about each other and think about the possibility of becoming sisters.  Bett's gregarious grandmother enters the story, along with Avery's surrogate mother, to provide family histories while introducing discussion on sexual orientation, race, becoming a teen, and reinventing families.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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