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The Neptune Project

The Neptune Project

4.7 35
by Polly Holyoke

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara Troisi
Thirteen-year-old Nere Hanson does not do well on land—she is a misfit who struggles with weak eyesight, burning lungs, shortness of breath, and lack of endurance. Put her into an aquatic setting and she is akin to the sea and her dolphins to whom she communicates using inherited telepathy. Her marine biologist parents anticipated early on that the life-threating Western Collective government directives were deteriorating their world. An alarming edict prompted them to genetically transform their daughter Nere, and friends Lena and Robry, to be able to survive in the ocean. This action-packed science fiction title unleashes the Neptune Project, a futuristic sea adventure consisting of twelve young "teen-mates" and a pod of dolphins that battle to survive in order to reach the underwater Safety Harbor. Excitement, fear, and even humor abounds as one creates images of their (altered but still human landlife) features and adaptation to daily seaworthy endeavors—diet, rest, health, recreation, communication, relationships, and training. The author's action-packed descriptions of strategies and combat are filled with suspense, characterizing the value of trust and leadership developed amongst the team. Readers can sense the impact of environmental changes (global warming, pollution, species extinction) and mutant alien gangs, even as the troop journeys to their destination. Realistic descriptions of sea creatures and seascapes add authenticity to the adventure. Communication between the altered team and dolphins is identified with colons in the text. Spotlight this title by reading one of its brief thrill-a-minute chapters or use it as a read-aloud. This unique innovative encounter in an underwater world is sure to grab readers' attention! Reviewer: Barbara Troisi
VOYA - Cheryl Clark
Nere feels like a freak with her pale skin, thick glasses, and weak lungs. She would rather swim with the dolphins her scientist mother studies than spend time on land with kids her own age. When an authoritarian government commands her village to move inland, Nere finds out how different she truly is—her parents biologically engineered her to live underwater. Now she is suddenly living in the sea with a group of kids she has never met before, facing dangers from both the open ocean and humans bent on capturing them. But for an outcast like Nere, the greatest challenge of all might be fitting in with her fellow mutates and learning how to lead them. At first The Neptune Project seems like yet another young adult dystopian knockoff: autocratic government, genetically altered teens—we have seen it before. But after a slow start, it suddenly turns into an adventure novel. Almost every chapter ends with a cliff-hanger, forcing the reader to flip the page for more. In addition, the book revels in the beauty of the underwater world and the creatures that inhabit it. The relationship between the teenagers and the dolphins—who actually become characters themselves—is especially well crafted. There is even a touch of romance when Nere becomes the object of a romantic rivalry between two boys—quiet, reliable Tobin and sarcastic, daring Dai. With both romance and adventure, The Neptune Project will attract male and female readers. Reviewer: Cheryl Clark
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, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Several centuries after global warming has devastated the planet, a tyrannical government has taken control of the West Coast of America. In a small seaside community in what was Southern California, Nere lives with her scientist mother and a pod of trained dolphins. Unbeknownst to Nere, her parents have genetically engineered her and several other children to breathe under water so they can live free there someday. When the government announces its intention to move the entire community inland, Nere's mother finishes the alterations on the children and sends them away into the sea, where they will try to join Nere's father's colony for these new "Neptune children." Nere and her friends, along with their friendly dolphins, must make their way there under the sea while fighting sharks and avoiding capture by government forces. They communicate telepathically, and Nere is even able to talk with the dolphins. Together with other Neptune children from Southern California, they head north, hiding and fighting all the way. Holyoke keeps her prose well-pitched to her audience, providing enough violence and even death to create suspense but muting it appropriately. She creates an interesting and diverse set of characters, including the dolphins. The science-fiction elements are nothing new, but they are built on good information about oceanography. This suspenseful, undersea dystopia should keep middle schoolers hooked. (Science fiction. 9-12)
From the Publisher
"Holyoke keeps her prose well-pitched to her audience...this suspenseful, undersea dystopia should keep middle schoolers hooked."—Kirkus Reviews

the book revels in the beauty of the underwater world and the creatures that inhabit it. The relationship between the teenagers and the dolphins-who actually become characters themselves-is especially well crafted. The Neptune Project will attract male and female readers.—VOYA

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Polly Holyoke grew up in Colorado, where she spent her childhood skiing, camping, reading, and dreaming up fantastical stories. Polly went on to graduate from Middlebury College and become a middle school social studies teacher. She lives in Plano, Texas with her husband and their two daughters, as well as two cats, two Chihuahuas, and a Beagle.

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The Neptune Project 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Neptune Project has joined the ranks of those few modern books that will appeal to just about everyone. I loved it, my 13-year-old daughter loved it, and my 10 year-old son says he wants to read it. I've even recommended it to my mother. It's rare to find a book with such broad appeal, but truthfully, this story has everything. It's action-packed, from first page to last. It has complex family and friend relationships, moral dilemmas, even a nice love triangle (but perfectly appropriate for tweens). I appreciate the strong female lead, but there are several dynamic boy characters, too. And I really love the setting. It's obvious that the author is a scuba diver. The descriptions are vivid and beautiful. But my daughter and I agree, we want to SEE this story - on the big screen. And we really want a Neptune Project series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great summer reading book for kids. It leaves a lot to the imagination and leaves an ending wanting a sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a thrilling book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book rocked! Even though i just got it from the library i STILL cant put it down:) now if only there was a 2nd book!!!! Gosh how this urks me!:)
Demi-Goddess More than 1 year ago
Polly please make a second book! I love love love this book and was super excited when she came to our school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was truly great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesomie book i read it almost every day!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book but what happened after that it seems like there should be more oh well . It is a great book I highly recomend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grabbed my interest from the first page. It was well written and well edited. I'm disappointed there isn't a second book but I will keep a look out for this author to write more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to read if you love dophins,si-fi,and action packed books. For $9.99, great book to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the book readit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great book!! I loved the way kids from varied backgrounds who had experienced radically different levels of compassion growing up were empathetic to each other. Their group dynamics skills were inspiring. Please tell me this group of kids will continue their adventure in a second book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much and all the suspense got me hooked! I want to read this book over and over again! I wish there was a second book at the ending i was so shocked in how it ended! I wanted to keep on reading, i wanted to find out about what happens to Nere, about Dai, about everything I'm hoping so much that polly holyoke makes a second book i'm praying she will! <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book. To bad they did not make a second book. They left it hanging
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nere, Robry, And Lena must make hard choices to survive, and reach the neptune colony, in order to do so they must also leave their home, above the surfice. Many adventures await them as they discover their powers, and embark on an epic journey
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG ! I mit polly holyoke , she was a old lady and likes to go out and swim with her husband dauthers . My school is called NEPTUNE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN FLORDIA OCSEOLA
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever. love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know if I should get it? Alot of pepole were saying they loved it but some things about the book made them a little upset. Why it got my eye was the name a nice name for the book The Neptune Project it fits it. What I didn't like about it is that there might be another book I am looking for a noval thats just one book not a whole series. Even though this book is probley going to have only two books. I am giveing it two stars cause is looks good but is it? Hey they say never judge a book by its cover. Please anwser me. Thank you. My review name is at the bottom of this review. Godsgirl
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imaginative and engrossing for any age
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loved the story of group dynamics, leadership, sacrifice and adventure! that almost all of it takes place underwater was super. agree with some of the comments that a relationship interest is a little confusing given the ages but having read a lot of my kids books these last few years that is my bias not theirs.
StephWard More than 1 year ago
'The Neptune Project' is a wholly original and unique young adult fantasy/dystopian novel that follows leading lady Nere as she lives in the dystopian future where she struggles to come to terms that she is a part of "The Neptune Project" - one of several children who were genetically engineered to survive in the ocean. Nere and the other children of the project are supposed to help build a better world underneath the water, where the wars and famine of the current earth won't effect them. Now, on top of dealing with the startling news of her origins and destiny, Nere must learn to get along with the aloof Neptune kids, swim hundreds of miles in the ocean in order to reach the undersea colony, and stay ahead of the government who will stop at nothing to get their hands on her and the other Neptune kids. This was a really fun novel that takes the reader on a journey and adventure that you'll never forget. The plot is completely refreshing and brings a whole new level to the YA genre. It mixes several genres together, including action, fantasy, science fiction, adventure, dystopia, and even some romance - and creates a beautiful novel like none other. The characters were all well written, especially the main character of Nere. She's a typical teenage girl who has health problems and family issues like everyone else, but underneath all of that she is courageous, smart, strong, and resilient. She's also an extremely devoted friend, which shows a lot throughout the book. The plot was totally fresh and original - I've never encountered a novel like this one before. The author did a fantastic job intertwining several genres and story lines to create a wonderful novel that will appeal to fans of all genres and readers of all ages. The writing itself was incredibly well done with a quick pace and effortless flow to the book that had me flying through the pages. Definitely recommended for YA fans of all genres! Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book.  I bought it for my daughter, after reading the first chapter I couldn't put it down and read the whole thing in one sitting!