To Night Owl from Dogfish is a charming middle reader that was a collaboration between Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer. The story has a fresh and modern nod to the classic Parent Trap tale. When I was this age, I just loved the vicarious experience of reading camp stories and would have loved to have gone to a summer long camp. As an adult, this book filled me with nostalgia and was still a fun read for me. The story is epistolary and is told primarily through emails with a few texts and letters throw in for fun. This was the perfect format for this book because I quickly had clear pictures of our two young pen pals through the voice of their writing. Bett (Dog Fish) and Avery (Night Owl) are complete opposites from personalities to homes (East and West Coast). Bett discovers that her dad has been secretly dating Avery’s dad and tracks her down to inform her of this news and that they are going to camp together over the summer. Through many hijinks, they become close friends and learn a lot about themselves, their families, and each other. What I loved the best is that the story has a happy ending, but it is not trite and tied up with a shiny bow. The ending is bittersweet and realistic for how the lives of Bett, Avery, and their dads unfold.
From the publisher:
“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?”