“To Night Owl from Dogfish” by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer

This was a sweet story and a fun read. I heard of it from Book Riot’s All the Books podcast and decided to try it because Liberty said it’s like The Parent Trap and I loved that movie (both the original with Hayley Mills and the remake with Lindsey Lohan).

Genre:

Middle-grade contemporary

Pubbed:

February 2019

Quick summary:

When Bett Devlin learns that her dad is conspiring with his new boyfriend to send her and his boyfriend’s daughter to summer camp, she reaches out to the boyfriend’s daughter, Avery Bloom, so that they can devise a plan to thwart their fathers’ intention.

The fathers are single gay dads who met at a conference and started to date. They’d like their daughters to get along, so they conspire to send them to the same summer camp; but Bett and Avery have other plans and instead vow NOT to be friends and definitely not let their dads date each other. But nothing goes as planned.

An epistolary novel told through email correspondences, To Night Owl from Dogfish is a fun, hilarious read that all ages — middle grade, YA, adult — can enjoy. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

I knew I’d love this book when I heard it described on that Book Riot podcast. I was immediately hooked and loved that the personality of the protagonists — Bett and Avery — leapt off the page and sucked me into the story. It was a quick read. The story is fast-paced and the girls’ voices are so compelling that you’ll hate having to leave the book for long to do other things. I certainly was and ended up whisking through the story in just two days.

It’s a contemporary novel so references to things and issues of today are included. However, I didn’t expect the entire story to be told through email. I didn’t mind it much, but it’s been a while since I’ve read an epistolary novel, so I wondered if that’s why I found some things hard to believe or if it’s because I’m living in a time when communicating by email is secondary to texting/calling.

It makes sense to me that the correspondence between the two girls begin as email but as the story progressed, I thought it would switch to text messaging at some point; but that didn’t happen. Some aspects of the emails didn’t work for me because it came across as the characters overexplaining things or rehashing events they have both just experienced, which would have been annoying if I was receiving the email, but works for the book. Such content had to be included so that the structure would work for the story and not confuse (me) the reader.

But otherwise, this was an enjoyable read. I immediately took a liking to Bett, who’s adventurous and caring, and Avery, who’s intense and cautious. Both girls mirror their dad’s personality and it was interesting to watch how that plays out when they interact with each other. I love how the story progresses and the relationships that sprout and develop throughout it. I was so sucked into this story. There was even a moment, involving Avery’s mom, Kristina, when I almost cried. It’s so good! But I think I love it more for the girls’ personality and how much it suffuses the narrative, it’s even apparent in how they write their emails.

My favorite characters are the girls, of course, and Bett’s grandma, Gaga. Gaga is so sweet! I love what becomes of her by the end.

Overall: ★★★★☆

It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s funny, and it’s a quick read. I highly recommend it.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

I borrowed it from the library, but I can see myself rereading it in a year or so.

7 thoughts on ““To Night Owl from Dogfish” by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer

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