Monday, February 11, 2019

Blog Tour: To Night Owl From Dogfish

To Night Owl From Dogfish
Holly Goldberg Sloan, Meg Wolitzer
Genre: Middle Grades, Contemporary
Publisher: Dial Books
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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?

Some of my favorite parts of this book take place while Avery and Bett were at camp. I didn't get to attend camp when I was a kid, but I did get to be a program director at my local Girl Scout camp, Camp Oak Spring. One thing my campers LOVED was singing camp songs, and there were tons of fun ones out there. These are some of the ones me and my daughter remember fondly from our time at camp. be sure to stop by and see which camp songs my "pen pal" Kendra is sharing today over at That Reader Girl.

Mrs. O'Leary's Cow

Boom Chicka Boom

Baby Shark

Down By the Bay

I Met a Bear

Go Bananas

The Marshmallow Song

Hey Burrito

The Llama Song


I desperately wanted to read this book for several reasons:
  1. I am a HUGE fan of Wolitzer's work. I have read, and adored, many of her adult and YA books. 
  2. There is just something about camp books that delights me. 
  3. I love epistolary novels. 
  4. There is a Parent Trap like storyline in there, and that's a film I will always love. 
Well, I am happy to report, that the above mentioned things contributed to a wonderful reading experience, but there was so much more to this novel than what I listed. 

I am going to admit, it was insta-love for me. I was smitten with Avery and Bett from their very first exchange. Bett's larger than life personality and tell-it-like-it-is philosophy made me smile, and Avery being so straight-laced and grounded was the perfect foil for her. 

The early letters between the two were filled with fun facts and some plotting, but you could also see Bett and Avery discovering some commonalities and a friendship slowly emerging. In addition to seeing their friendship grow and flourish, I also saw the girls grow and flourish. This book took place over two years time, and I saw Bett and Avery mature physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

I also loved the idea of family presented in this novel. Both Bett and Avery were being raised by single fathers, and though Avery knew her biological mother, Bett only knew of the surrogate who carried her. It's always lovely to see such diverse families in books. The authors also incorporated the idea of found-family, and I have to say, this "family" was filled with so much love and joy, it was really heartwarming to be around them. 

There were so many other things in this book that impressed me too:
  • The authentic dialog between the girls
  • The hijinks, oh my, they were fun
  • Gaga, aka, Betty 1, aka, Bett's grandma ❤️
  • A small redemption arc for one of the auxiliary characters
  • Animal interactions and the great outdoors
  • A pretty dramatic climax
  • A twist I didn't expect
I wore a smile on my face from the beginning of this book to the very last page. This story was fun and sweet and touching and emphasized three really wonderful things: friends, family, and love. 

* ARC received in exchange for an honest review.



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 Interestings, The Ten-Year Nap, The Wife, and The Female Persuasion; the young adult novel Belzhar; and the middle-grade novel The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.

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. 


Week One
February 4 – Books4yourkids – Author Guest Post
February 4 – Two Points of Interest – Author Guest Post 
February 5 – Pages and Pugs – Favorite Quotes 
February 5 – Amber After Glows – Favorite Quotes
February 6 – Read. Eat. Love. – Inspired by the Book: Food 
February 6 –  The Hermit Librarian – Inspired by the Book: Food 
February 7 – Book Loaner Blog – Listicle: Camp Activities Inspired by the Book 
February 7 – Books. Libraries. Also, cats – Listicle: Camp Activities Inspired by the Book 
February 8 – Happy Reading Co.  – Favorite Quotes
February 8 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Favorite Quotes 

Week Two
February 11 – That Reader Girl – Listicle: Camp Songs 
February 11 – We Live and Breathe Books – Listicle: Camp Songs 
February 12 –  Sam Maybe Reading – Review 
February 12 –  Randomly Reading – Review 
February 13 – The Reading Corner for All – Creative Instagram Picture 
February 13 – Dos Lit Worms – Creative Instagram Picture
February 14 – Laceydoeslit – Review + Playlist 
February 14 – The Bookworm Banter – Review + Playlist 
February 15 – YA Books Central – Author Q&A 
February 15 – Because reading is better than real life – Author Q&A 

Do you have a favorite camp song?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. Night Owl and Dog Fish omg, the cuteness! There's so much to love about this book, but honestly that you read it with a smile on your face is what convinced me this is <3 -- some days that's exactly the sort of goodness you need to hear.

    1. I loved how honest the discourse between the girls was and friendship and family will always win my heart.

  2. This one seems to have so much going for it! I know a lot of people have issues with the epistolary format, but I usually love it. For some reason it just works for me. Your mention of The Parent Trap didn't hurt either. :) I grew up watching the Haley Mills version (I'm betting you did, too?) and the LL version isn't bad either. I like the way family is represented in a non-traditional form and overall it just sounds like such a feel-good story!

    1. These are letters between two 12-13 year old girls, that are so honest and fun. I loved it! There was a point where they talked about playing/singing their dads' favorite song, which totally screamed Parent Trap. Very fun, very sweet, and absolutely entertaining.

  3. Epistolary and Parent Trap? That sounds like a lot of fun!

    1. It was a tremendous amount of fun, and the authors touched upon social issues in such an organic way too, which is what I always love about middle grades books.

  4. It all sounds like the right ingredients for a fun middle grade adventure. I do enjoy those:)

    1. It really did have all the right things, in the right proportions. It was my personal want, that kept me from giving 5-stars to this book, but it was near perfect.

  5. This sounds really cute! I've never read anything by the authors, but I love the sound of this camp adventure. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Wolitzer has written all over the age range, and her books are really thought provoking. This is my first read from Sloan, but I hope to read the book from my TBR by her soon.

  6. Great cover and title. I did enjoy some of those vids.

    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. Those were their code names while they were plotting. One had trouble sleeping, thus, she was Night Owl. The other loved dogs and the ocean and water sports, so she wanted to be a shark.

  7. Kookaburra was one we always sang, and I enjoyed I Caught a Little Baby bumblebee, though the adults thought we got a bit gross with this one (that just made it even better).

    1. We never sang those at camp, but I did sing them (often) with my daughter, because whatever Barney was singing was what we were singing.

  8. This sounds super cute. I had no idea Wolitzer had written anything middle grade, so you definitely have me curious now. I never got to go to camp when I was a kid either so I don't have a favorite camp song. I remember my son singing a few of these though.

    1. I am not sure if Wolitzer has any other MG, but this partnership produced a stupendous book.

  9. This sounds great, Sam! I love everything connected to camp and this sounds like it is really well done. I have a lot of memories connected to singing songs at camp.

    1. It was so fun, cute, humorous, heartwarming -- name good things and that's in this book.

  10. Honestly Sam before reading your review I would never have given this book a second glance! Good job! Sophie @bewareofthereader

    1. I have really loved all Wolitzer's books, and middle grades have been clicking with me lately. It was so fun and adorable and endearing and honest. I couldn't find anything NOT to love in this book.

  11. I loved reading books about camp when I was younger even though I hate camping? I have no idea why? But I did love them :D I am glad you love them too and that the epilosary kind of format worked for you. I used to enjoy that when I was younger but not so much anymore ^.^

    1. I got certified to take my troop camping and was so happy they didn't want to sleep outside (as they explained it to me).

  12. How adorable. I want to read this one. I loved camp when we went as a kid. Uhh the good old days.


    1. It was so good. Message me your address. I will send you the ARC I got (I read the ebook I got)