Feature Book of the Week: The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke

Monday, September 14, 2015

Featured Book of the Week
The Neptune Project 
Polly Holyoke

Nere feels more at home swimming with the dolphins her mother studies than she does hanging out with her classmates. Nere has never understood why she feels so much more comfortable and confident in water than on land, but everything falls into place when Nere learns that she is one of a group of kids who-unbeknownst to them-have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of "The Neptune Project" will be able to build a better future under the sea, safe from the barren country's famine, wars, and harsh laws.

But there are some very big problems: no one asked Nere if she wanted to be a science experiment, the other Neptune kids aren't exactly the friendliest bunch, and in order to reach the safe haven of the Neptune colony, Nere and her fellow mutates must swim through hundreds of miles of dangerous waters, relying only on their wits, dolphins, and each other to evade terrifying undersea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids...dead or alive.

Fierce battles and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friends race to safety in this action-packed aquatic adventure.

Author Post 

I was excited to learn that The Neptune Project was going to a part of the Pattonville Area-wide Book Battle. I’m thrilled that students in Missouri will be trying to remember the details in my story because I spent months doing research to get those details right.
I have always been fascinated by the sea. Growing up in Denver, Colorado, I loved the rare family vacations where I actually had a chance to see the ocean and the beach. I’d gaze at the waves and wonder what it was really like beneath them. When I got home again, I’d talk my friends into playing dolphin and mermaids with me by the hour. In my twenties, my husband and I took up scuba diving, and it was so cool! I finally had a chance to see for myself the amazing world under the waves.

When I first dreamed up the premise of my Neptune books, that a group of genetically altered kids would have to go live in the sea, I faced two challenges. I didn’t know any oceanography and I really didn’t know genetics. But I grew up in a family where if I didn’t know something, my parents encouraged me to look it up. When I was little, that meant digging into the Encyclopedia Britannica. We were the proud owners of both a kid set and a grown up set.  I remember gazing at fascinating pictures and reading articles about everything from dinosaurs to dolphins. Later, when I went on to college, I went to a small school that encouraged its students to do detailed research using all sorts of original sources and documents.

That’s why I was confident I could do the research for a book set almost entirely in the sea, and I was right. I dove right in, so to speak, and had a blast learning all about the rich marine life of the Channel Islands and the Northwest. I found out that dolphins sleep with one half of their brains awake, and that orcas live in family groups their entire lives. Sea wasps, or box jellyfish, actually kill more people every year than sharks do. Every day I learn more fascinating facts about the sea.

           Orcas swimming in the Gulf of Alaska


I recently heard a local library director just assumed I was a marine biologist. I also had a young fan tell me, “I had no idea all those cool animals were down there.” Those are some of the nicest compliments my research and my books have ever received!


I grew up in Colorado and love hiking, camping and skiing in the mountains. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude from Middlebury College in Vermont and earned my teaching certificate from the University of Colorado. I taught middle school social studies for almost a decade before leaving teaching to concentrate on my writing career. I've always LOVED reading and wrote my first book, RUSTLERS OF THE HIGH COUNTRY, with my best friend when I was in fifth grade. This remarkable tale about two little girls outwitting horse thieves never was published, but it did get me hooked on writing stories.

My husband introduced me to scuba diving, and I've been fortunate enough to dive all over the world. Like my heroine, Nere, I am claustrophobic, though, so I don't dive in wrecks or lava tubes anymore.

I live with three sweet dogs, two lazy cats and a very nice husband who puts up with piles of books all over our house. I love going to work in my pajamas and getting paid for daydreaming.  

If you would like to know more about this author or her books check out her website.

17 Delicious Comments:

Anonymous said...

This book reminds me of The Maze Runner because they both involve kids who are forced to do things they don't want to or couldn't control.

St. Gabriel the Archangel School

Hazelwood Central Middle Book Battle Club said...

The summary of this book sounds interesting and amazing! We are wondering if she has a friend in the group of dolphin mutates or if she is going to have a love interest. Who funded the Neptune project? Is there a person in the book named Far? Is this a series, how many will there be? Did the author use plot armor? We are excited to enter this undersea adventure! We cannot wait to read it and find out the answers.

-Hazelwood Central Middle Book Battle Club

Talia said...

I was inspired by you making a book in fifth grade. I love how you are so interested in the ocean. It seems like this will be a good supernatural book. ~Talia, Lift for Life Academy

Aanihya said...

The reason I would want to read this book is because diving in the ocean sounds like a crazy adventure. The book you said you wrote when you were a kid that didn't get published also sounds interesting. I would like to read that, too. ~Aanihya, Lift for Life Academy

Quentin said...

I would like to read this book because I can relate it to Avatar: Water benders. They can go under water for a long time. And, I would also like to see how they face the danger. ~Quentin, Lift for Life Academy

Amarion said...

I would read this book because I like science fiction. This book makes me think it is like Percy Jackson because they both have water powers. I think people who like science fiction should read this one. ~Amarion, Lift for Life Academy

Shamia said...

I want to read this because this seems like good science fiction. The book description makes me wonder if there is conflict among the Neptune kids. I wonder if they will all make it to the safe haven. ~ Shamia, Lift for Life Academy

Gabi said...

I like the way you wrote your first book when you were in 5th grade. I'm sorry that book didn't get published, but it shows don't give up on your dreams. I hope you work on more books. ~Gabi, Lift for Life Academy

Shannon Steimel said...

I, too, have loved the ocean since I was a kid, which is unfortunate when you live in the middle of the country--nowhere near a beach. I look forward to getting to experience the ocean vicariously as I read your book. At least I will be safe from sharks and jelly fish! As a librarian, I appreciate all the research that went into your book! ~Mrs. Shannon Steimel, Librarian, Lift for Life Academy

Anonymous said...

I know that i will love this book because i loved the show H20. I hope to read it after i finish my current book.
Deauna- Hazelwood Central Middle Book Battle Club

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly Collins -hixon middle said...

I loved this book because there is a bit of action and a hint of romance.

Anonymous said...

I liked how the action starts from the beginning

Anonymous said...

Ladue Middle School
I really love the book because it starts out slow with a "oh" and a "ah" but when Nere's mom gets in trouble, you know that something is going to happen but you can't tell her mom dies. When you read the part when they are going through the ocean it's really nerve racking and full of suspense. When you meet the group and the bigger gang, it's like "phew!" safe at last. Then they get into a battle and just like that, it's back on the run and once again, it gets suspenseful. When they meet the wall of bubbles it's like "Finally! Their safe!" But of course something good always comes with a price, whether it's bombing a boat and getting their leader killed, going on a shortcut and getting attacked by a squid, or going across a group of miscast and losing someone you love, only to find out he works for the enemy. (From Nere's perspective.)

Anonymous said...

West Middle School-
This book is so great that I can't wait to read the next! There is so much drama, a hint of romance, action/adventure, and mystery! Tbh I've always wondered how it would have felt to live in the ocean and now Nere and her friends get to have that experience but, of course it has its flaws. I suggest reading "The Neptune Project" to whoever is reading this comment and hasn't read it yet. It may sound boring to you in the first couple of chapters but you'll end up loving it!Oh yeah btw I'm team Tobin if you were wondering. I mean Cam... we don't even know that much about him and Dai... well lets just say that I don't like him. And it;s NOT because he kept *THAT* secret from Nere i just honestly don't like him for some reason I don't know.

Anonymous said...

I read this book and wished this could happen in real life. I keep wishing that this will happen thanks to the wonderful scientists and marine biologists. Maybe in the next few years.
Brittany Woods Middle School- Y.D.P.

Anonymous said...

Im in the middle of reading this book and all these weird features make it so cool. All these new twists and turns makes the cook a real page turner. ckms

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