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Radio 2 Book Club - Remarkably Bright Creatures

The next book to be featured on the Radio 2 Book Club with Steve Wright will be Remarkably Bright Creatures, the heart-warming and original debut novel from Shelby Van Pelt. The book is released on 26 May and Shelby will be on the show with Steve on Tuesday 31 May.

We have an exclusive extract for you to read, and there’s a reading group giveaway on our Noticeboard.

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Remarkably Bright Creatures

When Tova Sullivan’s husband died two years ago, she talked her way into a job mopping floors at Sowell Bay Aquarium. Keeping busy helps her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished.

Thirty and headlining for washed-up band Moth Sausage, Cameron Cassmore has some serious growing up to do. Then the discovery of an old class ring sends him on a mission to Sowell Bay to track down the father he’s never known.

Marcellus, a ‘prisoner’ at the Aquarium, wouldn’t lift one of his eight tentacles for his human captors until he forms a friendship with the cleaning lady. Keenly observant, but with time running out, Marcellus deduces that Cameron is a missing key to what happened the fateful night of Erik’s disappearance.

Now Marcellus must use every trick his old, invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for Tova before it’s too late…

Selection panel review

The book was selected with the help of a panel of library staff from across the UK. Our readers loved Remarkably Bright Creatures – here are some of their comments:

“My favourite read this year. Our key narrator is an octopus called Marcellus, he quickly fascinates and is amazingly intelligent and agile. He is nearly through his life span and I love him. He is in a tank in Sowell Bay Aquarium, Washington County, watching everyone, putting two and two together – and often leaving his tank at night to find food, and eventually to help our two main characters, Tova and Cameron, who each have mystery and yearnings in their lives. Being young, and looking for a path in life, and being older and looking for the best way to spend the last part of life, are two main themes. There are lots more characters, deftly and realistically drawn, and I warmed to all of them. Marcellus’ observations pull the story together brilliantly. After reading this I looked up octopuses – I hadn’t realised how intelligent they are. An extra treat for me was the setting – the coastline of Puget Sound, Washington County, and a trip to Seattle – all places I love.”

“I defy anyone to read this book and not fall in love with Marcellus, the brilliant octopus who can’t help but meddle in the lives of the human characters in the book. I so enjoy a book that is well-written, and deftly observed, but also just an enjoyable read, which had me smiling regularly. Something you could recommend to almost everyone you know – please read it!”

About the author

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shelby Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her family. This is her first novel.

Get involved

Tune in to the Steve Wright show on Tuesday 31 May to hear a live interview with Shelby.

Do you want to read Remarkably Bright Creatures? You can share your thoughts with us on Twitter using #R2BookClub and you can also follow Shelby.

Planning to buy Remarkably Bright Creatures for your book group? Buy books from Hive or from and support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no extra cost to you.

Want to make sure you get the latest news? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

You can join the Radio 2 Book Club Facebook group


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The Radio 2 Book Club with Steve Wright

The Radio 2 Book Club is part of Steve Wright In The Afternoon. Each month Steve will interview the chosen authors, as well as having brilliant guest stars and real-life listeners on the show to talk about the books too. The Book Club showcases the best in brand-new fiction, from dazzling debuts to blockbuster bestsellers.


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