Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt Review

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt Review

Hey there, fellow book lovers! 

Today, I want to share my thoughts on “Remarkably Bright Creatures” by Shelby Van Pelt, a delightful novel that has totally captured the heart. 

Let me tell you, this book is a gem, and I’m giving it a solid 5 out of 5.


Remarkably Bright Creatures book lying on a table

Remarkably Bright Creatures dives into the lives of two souls marked by loss: Tova, an elderly woman who cleans the Sowell Bay Aquarium, and Marcellus, an octopus of remarkable intelligence who resides there. 

Tova grieves the long-ago disappearance of her son, while Marcellus yearns for freedom from his captivity.

An unlikely friendship blossoms when Tova finds Marcellus tangled in cables and frees him. Marcellus, recognizing his debt, develops a bond with Tova. Their connection is interwoven with the narrative of Cameron, a young man searching for his biological father, who also ends up in Sowell Bay.

The story unfolds through alternating perspectives, revealing the characters’ inner struggles and desires. As a mysterious octopus arm is discovered near the aquarium, the novel takes a turn towards suspense. Tova and Cameron find themselves drawn together by the event, with Marcellus playing a surprising role in their connection.

The book explores themes of grief, hope, and the possibility of finding solace in unexpected places. It dives into the intelligence of octopuses and the human capacity for connection, even in the face of loss.

No more spoilers anymore. You have to read it to find out what you are missing. 

Let’s dive into the review.  

My Review

Let’s start with the author, Shelby Van Pelt. 

This is her debut novel, and boy, did she hit it out of the park! 

Born in the Pacific Northwest, just like the setting of the book, Shelby now resides in Chicago with her family. 

There isn’t much information about her online, but I did stumble upon an interview where she talked about the inspiration behind the book. It all began with a story she read online about an octopus escaping its enclosure. 

That sparked something in her creative mind, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now, onto the story itself. 

The narrative unfolds through the eyes of Marcellus, a wise old octopus residing in the South Bay Aquarium. 

Marcellus knows his time is running out, but fate has something unexpected in store for him. 

Enter Tova, the nightly cleaner at the aquarium, a widow with a tragic past. And then there’s Cameron, a man searching for his roots, his journey leading him to Saul Bay, the quaint little town where Marcellus and Tova reside. Trust me, these characters will steal your heart.

Speaking of characters, Saul Bay itself feels like a character in its own right. It’s a small fictional town where everyone knows everyone, and where the sense of community is palpable. 

And let me tell you, the themes explored in this book hit close to home. From the importance of community and believing in oneself to the complexities of family dynamics, the book dives deep into the human experience.

Now let’s talk about what I loved most about this book. 

First off, the writing style is simply mesmerizing. 

It’s poetic, it’s emotional, and it’s downright beautiful. There’s a scene towards the end of the book, where Tova finds herself in her attic, and let me tell you, it had me choking up. That’s the power of great writing, folks.

I also adored the small-town vibe of Saul Bay and its quirky inhabitants. From Ethan, who owns the local grocery store, to Avery, who runs the paddle shop, each character adds depth and charm to the story. 

And let’s not forget about the chapter titles, each serving as a nugget of wisdom that ties back to the narrative.

Now, I’ll be honest, this book isn’t without its flaws. 

You’ll have to suspend your disbelief a bit, especially when it comes to Marcellus the octopus having human-like qualities. But trust me, it’s a small price to pay for such an enchanting read.

On Goodreads, Remarkably Bright Creatures boasts an impressive rating, and for good reason. 

People love the sentimental feel of the story, the unique premise, and of course, the captivating writing style. Sure, some folks found the plot a bit slow, and others were expecting more octopus action, but for me, it was the perfect blend of heartwarming storytelling and slice-of-life charm.

So why should you read this book? 

Well, if you’re a fan of small-town settings, interconnected storylines, and redemption arcs, this book is right up your alley. 

Plus, where else are you going to find an octopus as a main character?

As for how this book made me feel, let’s just say it left me with warm fuzzies that I’ll carry with me for a long time. 

It’s the kind of book that you can cozy up with on a rainy day and escape into a world where everything feels right. And trust me, that’s a feeling worth holding onto.

If you decide to pick up the book, I’d love to hear what you think. 

Comment down below.

Thanks for joining me on this bookish journey, and until next time, happy reading!

Similar Posts