Along the Arctic Circle lies a small island called Neversink, whose jagged cliffs and ice-gouged rocks are home to a colony of odd-looking seabirds called auks, including one Lockley J. Puffin. With their oceanfront views and plentiful supply of fish, the auks have few concerns—few, save for Lockley's two best friends, Egbert and Ruby, a know-it-all walrus and a sharp-tongued hummingbird.
But all of this is about to change.
Rozbell, the newly crowned king of the Owl Parliament, is dealing with a famine on the mainland of Tytonia—and he has long had his scheming eyes on the small colony to the north. Now Neversink's independence hangs in the balance. An insurgence of owls will inevitably destroy life as the auks know it—unless Lockley can do something about it.
I'm not a big MG reader, but I am a huge fan of cute animals. So when I heard about this book about puffins and owls who wear hats and a walrus sidekick, I knew I had to check it out, even though it's not my normal thing.
And you know what? It's not my normal thing, but it's awesome. And it's also not your typical MG book. Yes, it is from the POV of animals, but don't let that cute animated cover fool you, this book is so much deeper and darker than I expected. It reminded me a lot of Animal Farm with the way it was its own story but was also so much a commentary on society and an expose on the evils of government. We know from the beginning of the book that Lockley wants to soar, and we see him step up and become a hero to the auks slowly, even though it isn't natural for him to be in the spotlight, and we are brought immediately into the dispute between the auks and the owls. (And did I mention that the owls wear HATS?)
The highlight of this book really is the awesome humor. Egbert the walrus and Ruby the hummingbird bring so much lightness and so many laughs to this story that can get a little deep at times. I loved long-winded Egbert and quippy little Ruby, and every time they were on the page I couldn't keep a smile off of my face.
I adored all of these characters (yes, even the evil little Rozbell), and I loved every second of reading this book. It's a great book to read with the MG-er in your life, but it's also one that I think transcends age limits because the social commentary is something anyone can relate to. I loved this book...and there are owls in hats!
I won this ARC from Barry's agent Jen Rofe on Twitter. She had a contest where people tweeted their favorite fictional animal and I got chosen for my choice of Hedwig. :-) So I'm going to pass on the ARC love! Just comment below by 3/29 with your email address and your favorite fictional animal and I'll choose a winner at random to win my signed ARC of Neversink! (I'm paying for this shipping, so, sadly, it's US only.) All I ask is that you give the book a review...and I hope you love it as much as I did, but that's not a requirement.
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