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The Neptune Project (The Neptune Project #1)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  980 ratings  ·  232 reviews
With her weak eyes and useless lungs that often leave her gasping for air, 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 is so much more comfortable and confident in the water than on land until the day she learns the shocking truth—she is one of a group of kids who hav ...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Disney/Hyperion Book
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79th out of 525 books — 2,437 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Claire Caterer
It takes a skillful author to bring readers into an unfamiliar world and make them feel secure. The detail has to be just right, without overpowering the story; the characters have to be grounded in reality, to give us something to identify with; and even the nonhuman creatures have to resonate warmth and personality. Polly Holyoke has done all this and more with her fabulous debut, The Neptune Project.

Holyoke has drawn up an authoritarian futuristic America sprung from a planet plagued by envir
I only want to add to the reviews read here that this book should appeal to "picky" readers. It's got everything they enjoy and it's effortless. There is action, suspense, and drama as well as, well developed characters in a dystopian world. It takes a skilled writer to make telepathy and underwater living a natural part of a novel. It's also an easy read without being easy. The story has you on edge, you root for the characters and it keeps you guessing. Also a treat for those parents who read ...more
Jayce Senter
Genre: Science Fiction
AR level: 5.9
Grade appropriate: 4th and up
In library? Yes! We have 4 copies and they are constantly checked out.

Overall: 5/5-- I really did love this book. I was not really looking forward to it, but several of the kids had been telling me how great it was and it’s on the Bluebonnet list this year so I gave it a whirl. Was pleasantly surprised.

Creativity: 5/5-- It’s a dystopic book set under the ocean. Didn’t see that one coming!

Characters: 5/5-- I did
Parallel Worlds
Intended Audience: Middle Reader/YA
Sexual content: N
Ace/Genderqueer characters: ?
Rating: PG-13 (for violence and death)
Writing style: 2/5
Likable characters: 2/5

Our protagonist, Nere, is a lonely misfit with weak lungs who gets along better with dolphins than humans. She also happens to be a gifted telepath (it runs in the family). At least a hundred years in the future, global warming has expanded the oceans and covered much of what was the United States—now the Western Collective. When the gove
This review first appeared on my blog,

When I read the summary for THE NEPTUNE PROJECT, the words “genetically modified” caught my eye. I’m a sucker for main characters that start out as average, only to discover they have some special ability that makes them unique and powerful. I mean, don’t we all wish we had something like that?

Nere, the protagonist of THE NEPTUNE PROJECT, calls herself “Freak Girl.” She has weak lungs and eyes that are super sensitive to light. She’s never felt su
Jessica Day
I have this theory that I enjoy books more while I'm on vacation. Most books I read at the beach tend to have higher scores and I can really get wrapped away in a book by the ocean. The Neptune Project doesn't fit this theory however. I almost put the book down on more than one occasion and, while the story does improve over the course of the novel, it isn't one I'd recommend to many readers.

The Neptune Project is based off of a promising idea. The story follows genetically altered kids struggli
I was really skeptical about this dystopian underwater mutant book - when my 9yo (who adored it) basically forced it on me I couldn't help thinking it sounded like a hunger games/the giver/x-men mashup - but after I got about halfway through I realized that's not such a bad mashup after all. Lots to discuss here including the romance/love triangle (and I really appreciate that the romance is not the main focus of the book and is handled with a pretty light touch) and ideas about what parents wan ...more
I can't believe it took me this long to read Polly's debut. I mean, my kids were pestering me for years - "It's one of the best books ever!" they said.
They were right. In the mood for adventure? DO IT.
When your child comes to you and says, "Momma, will you please read this book? I loved it so much I want you to enjoy it too," you are absolutely required to read it. I didn't even really read the blurb on the cover, so I didn't have a clue what this story was about when I started.

Holyoke does an amazing job of creating a new world under the sea that the reader feels comfortable in. I also liked that she had the characters speaking to each other telepathically, as traditional speech wouldn't wor
The Reading Countess
Dystopic middle grade book set in the ocean involving genetically mutated teens who can communicate telepathically with humans AND dolphins? That's what I thought-as an adult reader. Middle grade readers will find this one hard to put down, though precisely for those very reasons. Carefully embedded lessons to our youth about protecting our fragile earth notwithstanding, I have to say that my adult reader eyes had a difficult time getting lost in the story due to the author's style. But, hey. Th ...more
Isabel Clark
I really enjoyed reading this book, with it's science fiction feel and underwater dystopian setting. Personally, I have high interest in futuristic, sci-fi novels, as well as ones about the ocean. What interested me the most was the creative plot, vividly depicted by the author. I was never bored with the book, but compelled to flip the next page and find out what new challenge Nere and her group would face. Although I loved the book itself, the writing was standard and unsophisticated; I wasn't ...more
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Stephanie Ward
'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, ...more
Ms. Yingling
Nere and her mother live along the coast, and her mother studies marine life in the area. Food is scarce, and the government has cracked down on just about every aspect of people's lives. Shortly after Nere and a friend go out at night to save a smuggler, the government decides that her village is not contributing enough food, and the people are sent inland. Nere's mother is prepared for this, and Nere finds out that she and several of the other children of the fishermen were genetically altered ...more
In this futuristic middle-grade dystopian, Nere learns that she’s one of a group of children who have been genetically engineered to live in the ocean, and she and her two friends must swim up the Western Coast to meet up with her dad in his new underwater colony. This book is incredibly fast-paced without sacrificing character. I felt super sympathetic toward Nere, who’s forced to give up the life she’s known on land for a dangerous one beneath the sea, dodging Marine Guard divers and sharks al ...more
Tamera Wissinger
THE NEPTUNE PROJECT by Polly Holyoke is a crisply written action adventure with a reluctant, compassionate heroine, young love lost and found, and lost again, with themes of courage, forgiveness, strength of family ties, and ultimately of redemption. As the title suggests, the story takes place at sea. Not on the sea, but in the sea. Without submarines or even scuba gear. It is a futuristic fantasy, and while I admire so many things about this story, one of my favorite aspects is its authenticit ...more
I won this on a goodreads contest and I have to say I'm really glad I did. It's the not the sort of book I think I would have picked up but when I saw it in the contests, I was intrigued and thought 'why the hell not'. Not only did the book arrive in a super quick time, I got a personalized postcard from Polly Holyoke, the author, a bookmark and she also signed the book. These acts of kindness warmed me towards this book before I even turned the first page.

I was immediately drawn into the story,
Teresa Bateman
Global warming, overpopulation, decreased resources--the world has gone to heck in a handbasket. Nere isn't as badly affected because she and her mother's work with dolphins is considered important. Then everything changes and Nere discovers she was part of an experiment--The Neptune Project. Left with no choice her mother finishes the transformation of Nere and two others from their town. Now they breath water, and the sea is their home. But the sea is not safe. They meet others like them and j ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
THE NEPTUNE PROJECT by Polly Holyoke takes the reader into the cold beauty of the ocean with a group of children who have been genetically altered in order to save them from the control and oppression of a dystopian world. Nere and her group of fish-like friends travel the waters to a safe haven run by Nere’s father, who she long believed dead. The journey is well-told with little angst and only slight romance as these kids finally discover who they were meant to be.

Like taking part in an underw
Clara M.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 stars. I was expecting this to be a chip off the old dystopia block, and the cheesy cover really doesn't help, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself reading a dystopian science fiction with some actual science in it. The narrative is straightforward and clearly written, but has enough interesting details to set it apart. And it will make you want to hug a dolphin.

One thing I really appreciate is that Nere, the protagonist, is a leader who actually acts like it. She isn't some random
I loved this book. I will be teaching 6th grade language arts next year and I set a goal to read all of the books on the middle school summer reading list. I wasn't sure I would like this one but I just flew through it. It had me hooked. It had a good balance of tension and adventure with even a little romance thrown in. I think my students will love it.
Feb 25, 2013 Drucilla rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: h
A really unique idea done really well. Holyoke did her research and it shows. I love that she makes everything so realistic. The ocean can be beautiful but it's also a very dangerous place and Holyoke doesn't pull her punches. The book does leave you with questions, but I liked the way it was set up and with the way it ends, I'm sure any questions will be answered in the (inevitable) sequel. The only thing I had a problem with was (view spoiler) ...more
This book was really good. Nere went from a uncertain young girl who didn't want to draw any attention to a relunctant but capable leader of this group of kids. The scenes in the book went from innocent and childlike behavior as the children played with dolphins in the sea and enjoyed the wonder of the see to outright brutal as the Western Collective hunted them.

My only problem with the book was the dolphins were given too much attention. Every time the kids were in a tough spot, Nere called Ma
This book was completely and utterly ridiculous in every way. And I thoroughly enjoyed that. It was just what I needed. It had some problems when it came to describing non-white characters, like "I realize he looks Asian" (and, actually, an over-reliance on the phrase "I realize" in general, as it was used awkwardly and often to express "The next thing I observe is") and horrible, incorrect Spanglish (because yes, Spanglish actually does have a rhythm and a kind of grammar, and also "stupido" is ...more
Gail Shipley
The Neptune Project has adventure, survival, genetics, a dystopian world, bad guys, animals, dolphins, huge sea creatures, etc. There is something for everyone. This action packed novel is well researched and action packed. You will find yourself wrapped up in the characters, rooting for the dolphins and Nere and sitting on the edge of your seat hoping everyone makes it. I can't wait for the sequel to come out next year!
Ashley Gonya
I loved this book because the author is very good at describing her world and the characters. It also had a original plot that introduced a beautiful and colorful world and characters. Also a big cliff hanger that I loved! But I felt that some events where repeated a lot.
I really loved this book it is a middle grade novel full of action and drama. I really enjoyed it and would definatly recommend it
Kathy Mathey
Move over, Ariel - there's a new mermaid in town. Love the story of Nere and her friends as they navigate an "under the sea" world to try and establish a new colony necessitated by global warming.
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new book 1 10 Mar 14, 2014 03:48PM  
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Polly Holyoke has been imagining stories since she was in fifth grade. When she isn’t writing, Polly loves reading, camping, skiing, scuba diving and hiking in the desert (where she quite stupidly got herself bitten by a rattlesnake). She lives with three rescue dogs, two spoiled cats and a nice husband who is tolerant about the piles of books all over their house. Her debut middlegrade novel, THE ...more
More about Polly Holyoke...

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