To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer
Avery and Bett are both daughters of single gay dads who find out that their said dads have just embarked on a jumping in at the deep end full on relationship and who are about to go off to China on a holiday of a lifetime and are sending their respective daughters to the same summer camp with the intention of their becoming close and loving sisters. Of course the girls have other ideas. That’s the nub of it!
It gets a lot more complicated, lots more characters, lots more events. I loved the book and thought the whole set up really worked well and was cleverly expressed entirely throughout by emails sent mainly by the girls. The girls are very different from each other, thus Avery is Night Owl, thoughtful and sometimes overanxious about situations and worries herself by looking up every risky issue on the internet, Bett is a high risk taker who doesn’t mind interfering in other peoples’ lives and likes to emphasise by PUTTING IMPORTANT THINGS IN CAPITALS. Which isn’t as annoying as it sounds. There is actually a lot of subtlety in the book, despite the capitals, and the feelings and relationships are often nicely understated with a lot of inferences drawn by the email style of writing which doesn’t overexplain things (unlike what I am doing now).
The narrative races along, it’s readable and funny. Being in a family with a gay parent is never presented as an ‘issue’ and discrimation is touched upon by the comments of one of the other campers in one situation, but events show that people can be more complex than at first sight, and also friendships can develop, and have their ups and downs. There’s a neat twist near the end so the ending is not quite as predictable as you might think.
I’m intrigued by the double authorship – did one writer write all Avery’s emails and the other all of Bett’s?