Friday, February 7, 2014

Review & Giveaway - Neversink by Barry Wolverton

Title: Neversink
Author: Barry Wolverton
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Pages: 287
Goodreads Rating: 3.84 Stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Age Range: 8-12

Summary from Goodreads: Barry Wolverton's masterful middle-grade debut, Neversink, is an epic tale of some very un-epic birds, a fast-paced and funny story of survival, friendship, and fish, in the vein of Watership Down and Kathi Appelt's The Underneath.

Along the Arctic Circle lies a small island called Neversink, 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, 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.

What did my 9-year-old daughter think of the book?  Read on to find out (in her own words)!

What is the story about?
The story is about many auks and puffins living on an island called Neversink. The birds all thought it was a great place until the owls who lived near them at a place called Tytonia taxed them so that they had to make smidgens (which is cooked fish) for all the owls. But only one puffin knew how to make them. It's up to Lockley to save all the birds.

What do you think of the cover and pictures in this book?

Who is the main character? How are they like you or not? Do you like them?
The main character is Lockley.  We both like fish and he and I are both very helpful. We are not alike because he does not seem to really want adventure but he will do it if he has to, but I love adventure! I like Lockley.

What is the most exciting part of the story?
The most exciting part of the story is when the owl king tried to take the auks' eggs.

What is your least favorite part of the story?
My least favorite part was the beginning before the owls gave the auks the taxes.

How did the story make you feel?
The story made me feel bad for the birds, even all the owls that were forced to be mean to the auks.

What lessons did you learn from this story?
I learned you should stand up for what is right.

Would you re-read this book? Who do you think would like it?
I would probably re-read this book and I think that it is a good book for both boys and girls.

Neversink was a fun, humorous Middle Grade novel that's sure to appeal to the animal lovers in your family!  This book read very much like a kids' movie (I could totally see an adaptation on the big screen) - full of crazy characters and dramatic moments.  

The negatives.
  • A little slow in parts.  The biggest issue that I had with Neversink is that, in certain parts, it was a little too much talk and too little action for a middle grade novel. This was mostly true in the first half. There were lots of great messages in this book, but some of the political ideals are just a bit over the target audience's head, so I don't think my daughter truly appreciated those parts of the book. She also commented about the spirit journey, saying "He basically just swam down to the bottom of the ocean and talked to the lady." And, yeah, he pretty much did - it was a little anti-climactic considering the build-up to it - we were expecting real danger! Still, overall my daughter and I both enjoyed the book and the slow pace was only an issue in certain parts.
  • The characters.  In my opinion, the secondary characters totally stole the show in this book. I was in love with Egbert, the scholarly walrus with a propensity for talking (and using words that none of the other characters understand)! He was such fun and I loved the fact that he went from sort of a bumbling sidekick to a truly loyal friend with an important part to play in the story. Another fun character was Ruby - a cute little hummingbird who spent much of her time arguing with Egbert. Lucy, Luckley's wife was great because she turned out to be such a strong character (who had to fight her natural puffin instinct to "go with the flow").  These secondary characters really made the book for me!
  • Tongue-in-cheek humor.  The book had a fun sense of tongue-in-cheek humor throughout, with little asides and fun quips.  I especially loved the comments that had to do with the supposed superiority of walruses (at least according to the walruses) and how the writer was sparing us from lots of long walrus speeches in parts.  There were also some little joking anachronisms (although these weren't always as successful as far as I was concerned - for instance, Ruby would compare something to a modern item like a plane and then someone else would point out that there was no such things as planes. Huh?). Overall, though, the fun sense of humor made the book feel whimsical, which I really enjoyed.
  • Great messages.  This book had lots of great messages about not accepting social injustice, sticking with family and friends and believing in yourself!  Of course, these are just the types of messages I like to see in a great kids' book!
So, overall, Neversink is a great read!! I highly recommend it to young fans of animal stories! My daughter and I give it 4/5 Stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***


About Barry Wolverton

I have been writing for children for 20 years, helping create educational books, documentaries, and online content for Discovery Networks, National Geographic, the Library of Congress, Scholastic, and Time-Life Books.

My debut novel, NEVERSINK, is now available in paperback. The first book in THE VANISHING ISLAND trilogy releases in early 2015.

Author Links:
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