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The Neptune Project Paperback – April 1, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-In this dystopian adventure, Earth can no longer sustain life in many places and the United States has devolved into a totalitarian government. Nere lives by the ocean and has always had an affinity for water. She thinks nothing of her comfort with the sea until the day her mother breaks the news that Nere is a product of a genetic-mutations experiment called the Neptune Project. Now the government wants to close down the project and kill all involved. Nere and two other children are given injections that finalize their mutations and enable them to breathe water. Their journey through the ocean to asylum isn't easy, but with some help from Nere's telepathically linked dolphin friends and other Neptune Project victims the kids just might make it-if they can stop quarreling among themselves. This is an enjoyable book, with lots of adventure, suspense, and underwater scenes. The novel hits the target audience right between the eyes on "hot button" issues, especially global warming and its consequences, but should be popular with readers who are looking for a slightly different dystopian adventure or those who just dream of living in the ocean and playing with dolphins.-Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Here is a dystopian novel with a neat underwater twist. Nere and her mother, Gillian, live in a world almost destroyed by global warming and under the thumb of a totalitarian government, the Western Collective. Still, Nere can concentrate on her passion for dolphins (with whom she can telepathically communicate) until the ax falls. First, the government decides to move the residents of her area away from the sea. Then, Nere learns that she has been part of the Neptune Project. Gillian has altered Nere’s genes so that she can be one of the first humans to live entirely underwater. With relocation imminent, Nere is given an injection that finishes her transformation. But no one has taken into account Nere’s wishes. Feeling betrayed, Nere isn’t sure that she wants to participate, nor does she want to swim across the sea to join the rest of the colony. Although the writing is pedestrian, the adventure element is a real draw. That Nere can experience regular kid situations throughout all of this—friend issues, parental problems—makes the story relatable, even if her best pals are (totally terrific) dolphins. Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Now for the parts that I found less enjoyable about this book.
1: Dai. In my opinion, dai is not a likeable character at all. Instead, he is annoying, rude, intrusive, and disrespectful to Nere and her wishes. When we were first showed signs that Nere May have been interested in him, I thought for sure he would get loads more character development and eventually made into an at least tolerable guy. I was wrong. Instead, we were kind of given a predictable surprise that he was mean and angry because his father didn't wait to activate his fish genes. Plus, I think I've pretty much figured out that that rogue scientist mentioned at the end of the book (the guy who created wasp) is Dais father. I could be wrong, but I think it would be an obvious plotline for Dai to have. Most likely, having him as a Dad would supposedly be a play on our emotions to feel sorry for Dai and forgive him for being so awful to Nere. Well, that doesn't cut it. At least for me.
2: Tobin. In complete contrast to Dai, Tobin is compassionate, caring, and treats Nere with the utmost respect. Even when Nere "chooses" Dai over him, Tobin promises he will always love her but will back up her decision. Unlike Dai, who is always pestering Nere with the fact that he will beat out Tobin in the long run, Tobin is willing to accept whatever Nere chooses instead of forcing her into a position she doesn't want to be in.
3: Cam. Oh, Cam. I absolutely ADORE this character. He seems perfectly suited for Nere and what she wants. Unlike Dai, he's not rude or condescending, but unlike Tobin, he's not weak and yielding, either. He's strongwilled, commanding, and fiery, but at the same time, sweet and considerate. We see this when he is angry at his smuggler friend for getting busted, but is still nice enough to rescue him. We also get a glimpse of his brotherly protectiveness for Robry. In my opinion, Nere should ditch both Tobin and Dai and try to find Cam again.
4: Nere. Nere seems WAY too stony and heartless in this book. We touch upon her sadness at her mother's death, but it's only a touch. This book would be much more realistic if we saw more of the conflicting emotions Nere must have over the fact that her own flesh and blood may have altered her child's genes, but at the same time Gillian was struggling to make the world a better place for Nere and her generation,while dying in the process.
4: The whole love triangle (or diamond, I guess) itself. Unlike the Hunger Games, where the love triangle between Peeta and Gale is not completely crucial to the plot but adds bunches of character development, the love triangle in this book is bland and uninteresting all together. I've read this book cover to cover, and I still have absolutely no cares about the whole Dai vs Tobin crap. I don't sympathize with either character and really just wish Cam would turn up to show everyone who's boss.
The book would have been much better if it only focused on life in the sea and its hardships; instead of a sappy romance that Nere seems a bit too young to have yet anyway.
HOW I WOULD IMPROVE THIS BOOK
First off, Cam would be a Neptune project kid, but not know it yet. He would still be captured by the Western Collective at the beginning, but nit just for aiding in the Neptune project. It would be for experimenting on one of the fish kids.
Second, Dai would still be in the group, but Nere wouldn't be attracted to him at all. She would suspect something was up while everyone else thought him to be charming and for Nere's concerns to be unfounded. The group would've never run into wasps gang, but instead Dai would b caught sneaking out every once in awhile but no on would know why.
Tobin would not even be a love interest yet. That would come in the sequel, when Nere would find out about Cam being experimenting on, but wouldn't have anyone else risk coming with her to look for him. Tobin would want her stay, and she would be torn between rescuing her best friend or staying behind to help defend the colony against the Western Collective or something.
Dolphins are perfect. Wouldn't change anything about the dolphins
We need more background on how the government got to th low point that it is in this story. Doesn't have to be super detailed, but little snippets here and there would be nice.
The evil scientist who created wasp would not be mentioned until the end of book two.
GREAT THINGS ABOUT THE BOOK I WOULDN'T CHANGE
1: Tobin's character
2: Nere's character
7: Seapacks (hammocks, money, etc.)
8: Western Collective and Marine Gaurd sonar
9: General Epicness
And that about wraps it up, folks. Thanks for reading this monster review, and I hope you enjoyed it.
She managed to write a book that's easy to read (I would strongly recommend it for reluctant and/or picky readers) while intense with strong characters and plot. Both my husband and daughter said it was one of their favorite reads!
Very enjoyable and satisfying.
Update - my daughter loves it! Several of her friends have read it now too - consensus is : much better than twilight (we like characters who know, yes you are worthy) much better than hunger games, love the under water world - so interesting! Oh, and we really want to see Cam in book two!
I also noticed there wasn't a big climax (major fight scene with the bad guy) at the end because there wasn't a single bad guy through the story. They were on an adventure and they finally reached the end. I've never really seen this done (no climax) before but I didn't mind it at all.
I think the age range here is quite wide since the story is limited in bad language and romance. I can see kids anywhere from eight and up enjoying this.
I would absolutely read a sequel if one comes out. I am going to recommend this book to other writers in my writing group and at local bookstores. Very well done, Polly, especially for a debut!
The characters were great, and the book is packed with adventure from start to finish. I can picture it all on the big screen! Please tell me that the next book is coming soon!
Read it with my 8 year old son - he loved the idea of an underwater colony, and the dolphin interactions, but was a little disturbed by by the fighting/deaths/things lurking in the deep not to mention kids off by themselves. I can see where that would appeal to many kids, but if yours is sensitive be forewarned.