FICTION

Dolphin Summer

224p. Scholastic. Apr. 2018. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781338136449.
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Gr 3–5—Budding marine biologist Lily discovers a dolphin in her Brooklyn neighborhood. With her two best friends away at soccer camp, 12-year-old Lily would like nothing more than to while away the summer at the Coney Island Aquarium. After spotting a stranded dolphin in the Gowanus Canal, Lily watches over the animal, developing an attachment to it. When the dolphin begins to sicken, biologists transport it to a tank at the aquarium. Time is running out to save the animal. Fans of Hapka's previous novel, Dolphin Dreams, will be eager to learn the dolphin's plight. Following one's passion despite opposition is a central theme here; Lily's parents don't respect her love of science. The portrayal of the human-dolphin bond will interest animal lovers, and descriptions of the work of a marine biologist provide some scientific backstory. The pacing falls short on suspense, and attentive readers will guess the story's outcome before the end. Promising characters are introduced and left underdeveloped, and conflicts with friends are wrapped up too neatly.
VERDICT An accessible read for those looking a lighthearted animal rescue tale. A secondary purchase.

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