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The Neptune Project

(The Neptune Project #1)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,924 ratings  ·  424 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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Jenna G. Ferguson The first book is 'The Neptune Project', the second is 'The Neptune Challenge', and the third is 'The Neptune Promise'.…moreThe first book is 'The Neptune Project', the second is 'The Neptune Challenge', and the third is 'The Neptune Promise'.(less)
Cedar North so the western collective choke on it when they eat the bread.

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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  2,924 ratings  ·  424 reviews

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Claire Caterer
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Parallel Worlds
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jayce Senter
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guest-reviews
Review by Hope 8x2
The Neptune Conspiracy is set in a future where the sea rises to dangerous high levels. In the neantime, a character called Nere Hanson along with her handful of friends are shocked to learn they have been volunteered by their parents to live in the deep, dark sea.

Protected by her loyal companions; a group of dolphins named 'The Pod.' Bravely, Nere leads her friends with the help of the pod on a journey to her Dad's little colony. They attempt to fight off government divers, sh
Dominique aka Kidoma
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, arcs, for-review
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
Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
This one's a hard one to rate for me. Let me start by saying I loved the ideas around this book and the originality of it. The whole situation and main character felt very real and I genuinely think science can accomplish this one day.

What I didn't get on with was how fast this was paced. I mean I really hate it when books are too slow paced but this one was soooo fast! I felt because it was so fast I didn't get to know many of the characters as well as I would've liked to. I also would've like
Teresa Bateman
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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,
May 06, 2013 rated it liked it
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

THE NEPTUNE PROJECT is set in a future where the seas are rising and wars and famines wrack the surface world. Nere Hanson and her teen companions are shocked to learn that they have been genetically altered by their desperate parents to live in the sea. Protected by her loyal dolphins, shy Ne
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-a-match
ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

What worked: I loved the premise of this one. I mean come on, genetic modification, underwater antics and a world that's gone to hell? Alas, this is another that I just couldn't finish and The Neptune Project bit the dust at 71%.

What irked: I should have known when a character gives an explanation for the genetic modification in a very offhand manner early on in the book that The Neptune Project was going to be a miss. Then
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clara M.
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 6th-and-form-i
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Reading is my Escape
Exciting Undersea Aventure
Trapped in the ocean -- with no way out.
Suddenly, her relentless hands grab my head and force it under the water. :You'll be all right.:  I hear my mother's words in my mind. :I promise you. Just relax and breathe in.:
My lungs are pure fire now. I have to breathe. I have no strength left to fight her.
I open my mouth and the water rushes in, and I'm dying. Black spots dance across my eyelids. Then suddenly, I cough and choke, and then I'm not dying anymore. I can breath
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
Mar 06, 2016 added it
The 'Neptune Project' focuses on Nere (pronounced 'neare') and her brothers and friends who are genetically altered to breath and see under water. After the world is polluted to an unlivable state and wars break out, scientist decide to create human/dolphin/fish people, the scientist in this case being Neres parents and other kids parents. After living above water for most of her life Nere is finally told about what happened. She is then told about a safe haven her father, who she believes to be ...more
Tamera Wissinger
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-debuts, fantasy
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
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
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
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked 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
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have absolutely loved this book and was hooked in since the first ten pages. There was very many actions and major plots of this story. The Neptune Project expands young readers' imagination in so many ways. It's about a girl named Nere who is a very powerful telepath who needs to learn to live and adapt to the ocean to survive. She makes friends along with enemies and meet dangerous sea creatures. The main character also has complicated feelings between Tobin and Dai. Even though the plot was ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Isabel Clark
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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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Polly Holyoke is the author of THE NEPTUNE CHALLENGE (2015) and THE NEPTUNE PROJECT (2013), which has been named to state reading lists in TX, MD, FL, HI and OH and to Bank Street's 2014 Best Children's Books of the year. THE NEPTUNE PROJECT won Florida's Sunshine State Young Reader's Award, and THE NEPTUNE PROMISE will release Dec. 1, 2017.

A former teacher, Polly loves doing school visits and con

Other books in the series

The Neptune Project (3 books)
  • The Neptune Challenge (The Neptune Project, #2)
  • The Neptune Promise (The Neptune Trilogy #3)

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“:Well, isn’t this cozy?:
Dai is grinning at me. We are packed in so tightly, I realize our shoulders and arms are touching.
:I think I owe that boat captain a favor,: he adds, a gleam of mischief in his dark eyes. :I wouldn’t mind if he decided to drive in circles over our heads for the next few hours.:
:I think your muscles would get a little cramped by then: I nod at his long legs, which he’s had to bend to fit into our hiding spot.
:The pain would be worth it,: he says, looking at me. I feel my cheeks heat up as I stare back at him. Is Dai actually flirting with me?”
“Nere, there’s a chance I will see you again,” Cam says, his dark eyes intent. “If you ever need help, get word to me through the smugglers. I’ll come.”
I can only nod, afraid to trust my voice. I must look miserable, though, because moments later, he hugs me. I bury my face in his shoulder, his arms tighten around me, and finally I feel safe.
“No matter what happens, I’ll always love you,” he whispers in my ear. I close my eyes. Do I love him back? I just know Cam is more important to me than any friend I’ve ever had. I open my eyes and raise my face to him, and then he kisses me. I realize I’ve been waiting forever for this. Cam’s lips are soft and he smells like salt water and fresh sea air. I wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him back.”
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