“Avery, you don’t know me but I’m writing to you anyway. This is awkward but I’m just going to say it. Your dad + my dad ARE NOW A COUPLE. That isn’t my business, only it IS my business because my dad wants to send me to a summer camp that you’re going to.”
So begins one of the zaniest, touching and innovative novels about friendship and family that you’ll come across. In To Night Owl From Dogfish (Dial and Dutton Books for Young Readers), bestselling authors and friends Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer tell the story of two girls who start out as strangers and end up as friends – and the adventures that build a community around them in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
The novel, geared primarily for young readers but also adults, is written entirely in emails and letters.
Bett Devlin lives in Los Angeles. She is fearless, outgoing, and loves animals and the ocean. Avery Bloom is intense, a bit nerdy and afraid of many things, particularly deep water. She lives in New York City.
Avery responds to Bett’s startling initial message on her father’s relationship by saying, “Bett, I think you are confused and have the wrong person. If my papa was in a relationship with your dad, there is a one hundred percent chance that I would know about it…..he tells me everything.”
Avery adds a P.S., “I’m twelve and I live in New York City. Even though you sent your email to the wrong person, I’m curious: How old are you and where exactly are you writing from?”
When their dads fall in love, Bett and Avery are sent, against their will, to the same sleepaway camp. Their dads hope that the girls will find common ground and become friends – and possibly, one day, even sisters. But things soon go off the rails for the girls (and their dads), and they find themselves on a summer adventure that none 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?
Anyone familiar with Wolitzer’s work no doubt will appreciate any reference to sleepaway camp, which plays such an important role in her brilliant bestselling novel, The Interestings.
This book is a cross-generational family drama with a bit of romance, a lot of adventure, and one nerve-wracking brush with death. Sloan and Wolitzer bring their quick wits and sharp writing skills to the project.
Both accomplished writers, Sloan and Wolitzer have more in common than their status as bestselling authors – both also have a foot in Hollywood. Sloan started out as a writer and producer on hits such as “Angels in the Outfield,” while the big screen adaptation of Wolitzer’s The Wife is currently storming award season as Glenn Close’s star performance earned her Best Actress in a Drama at the Golden Globes and an Oscar nomination.
Sloan has written has books for children and young adults before, so it’s not unusual for her to book speaking engagements to young audiences. “I look forward to what kids will ask us,” she said in a conversation with Wolitzer recently published in Publisher’s Weekly. “Sometimes they ask something unexpected. I was in Wales and a boy raised his hand and then stood up. His face told me that he had a question that was burning inside him like wildfire. I called on him and he said, ‘Do you like cheese?”
To Night Owl from Dogfish is available for purchase starting February 12.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Holly Goldberg Sloan is the author of five previous novels for children and young adults, including the New York Times bestsellers Short and Counting by 7s (an E.B. White Read Aloud Honor Book). A graduate of Wellesley College who has written films such as “Angels in the Outfield,” she lives in Santa Monica, CA.
Meg Wolitzer is the New York Times bestselling author of The Female Persuasion, The Interestings and The Wife, among other novels for adults; the young adult novel Belzhar; and the middle-grade novel The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman. She lives in New York City.