My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received electronic copy for review
Genre: Tween/Middle Grade fiction
Book Description: Swimming with dolphins is said to be the number one thing to do before you die. For 12-year-old Michael, it very nearly is. A secret boat trip has gone tragically wrong, and now he lies unconscious in hospital. But when Michael finally wakes up, he seems different. His step sister Bibi is soon convinced that he is not who he appears to be. Meanwhile, in the ocean beyond Bermuda’s reefs, a group of bottlenose dolphins are astonished to discover a stranger in their midst – a boy lost and desperate to return home. Bermuda is a place of mysteries. Some believe its seas are enchanted, and the sun-drenched islands conceal a darker past, haunted with tales of lost ships. Now Bibi and Michael are finding themselves in the most extraordinary tale of all.
My thoughts: This is a very original story. I don't think that I have ever run across anything like it before.
Michael and Bibi are thrust into a family together by the marriage of Bibi's father and Michael's mother. They don't quite get along. They are tolerant, but both long for something different.
Their something different comes along. Michael is rescued from drowning by a dolphin, and surprise, the dolphin and Micheal trade places. They now are in different worlds than they know how to live in. I really enjoyed how Nick Green was able to make their transitions realistic, well, the story isn't realistic, he just made it seem realistic.
I enjoyed his descriptions of life in the ocean. It took quite a bit of creativity to come up with describing the world as a dolphin would see it. He made it sound so interesting, but frightful for a human out of his element.
Anyone who loves stories dealing with the life of animals would enjoy this book. It ran a little slow for me in some places and was easy for me to set down, that is why I gave it a 3.5 instead of a 4 rating. The ending is very exciting. This book is definitely worth reading and finishing.
Read a Guest Post from Nick Green!
Going the distance
“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.” – Rocky Balboa
For my guest post today, I was asked to share my experiences of the process I went through to publication. Anyone who knows me personally is now groaning and covering their ears. Asking me this question is rather like asking Bilbo Baggins if he’s been on any interesting holidays lately. My ‘publication story’ is on the growing list of topics that my wife forbids me from mentioning at dinner parties, and I’ve told it so many times that it’s only a matter of time before the story acquires a dragon or some giant spiders.
But I’ve been asked the question, so here I go once again.
I’d been trying to get my books published for a number of years, but kept running up against the same frustrating issue. The issue was that they were no darn good. Then one day I had an idea for a new book. It was called The Cat Kin, and this time I knew the idea was good. I also rewrote it obsessively, polishing it as much as I could, and I made a pact with myself: if this one doesn’t get published, that’s it. I would give up.
The pact came off, of course – this make-or-break book was published. It took 18 months for this to happen – longer than the actual writing – but eventually my agent rang up with the joyous news that Faber and Faber were going with it. Mission accomplished. There followed the things I’d dreamed about: publishing lunches, editorial meetings, a radio appearance, and of course discussions about the sequel, which I set down to writing.
Then everything went sour. I sent in the sequel, my agent loved it, and even my editor agreed it was better than book 1. I started planning book 3. Then Faber dropped the bombshell: they would not continue with the series. Why they made this decision I still don’t really know – in the meantime The Cat Kin had been shortlisted for two awards, sold to Germany and made into an audiobook – but the decision was final. Suddenly I had a book but no publisher – and of course no-one else would take on book 2 if another publisher had book 1. I had a good book that was literally unpublishable. I had wasted more than a year’s hard work.
I thought again of my pact. Now seemed like the ideal time to give up. Writing is a tough business at the best of times, and it’s hard to motivate yourself to sit at that desk even if you’re optimistic about your chances of publication. But I felt like I was worse off than I’d been before.
However, writing isn’t just something you do. It’s also something you are. If you have the addiction, you can’t just stop. I could easily scrap my plans to write Cat Kin 3, but another unrelated idea soon took over. Though I tried to whack it down, it kept rearing its head. My new book would be about an encounter between humans and dolphins, and the adventure that unfolds when a boy finds himself living in the ocean as one of them.
‘The Storm Bottle’ was to become my favourite of all the books that I’ve written – but it would never have been written if Faber had not pulled the plug on my Cat Kin series. What’s more, if Faber had continued with the trilogy, then I would have written book 3 in a hurry, and it would have been disappointing (I know – I still have the old plot outline). What actually happened, in the end, is that Strident Publishing, a Scottish publisher, ended up obtaining the rights to The Cat Kin from Faber, and proceeded to publish the whole series – and when I did finally write book 3 – Cat’s Cradle – I’d had long enough to think about it, to make it a fitting end to the trilogy. (And their cover artist turned out to be about a million times better than Faber’s).
So really, I want to thank Faber for treating me the way they did. Because if they hadn’t, then ‘The Storm Bottle’ wouldn’t exist. What’s that old saying about lemons and lemonade? Here’s some lemonade – hope you like it.
Thanks Nick for the post. Now maybe whenever you want to rehash the story, you can just send them here and they can commiserate! I found it ironic that I asked you the question and my last name just happens to be "Faber". I personally found your post to be informative and a great demonstration of some of the downfalls of publishing and dealing with publishers! My interest is definitely piqued to read Cat Kin!
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