By Shelby Van Pelt — Ecco, 2022
Tova is a widow in her 70s, coping with the mysterious loss of her teen son, Erik. To distract herself from her losses, Tova takes a job as a cleaner in the local aquarium, where she communes with the creatures housed there. She becomes particularly fond of Marcellus, an aging, giant Pacific octopus, rescued and rehabilitated there. She knows he escapes and visits the other tanks, sometimes for a social call and other times for a snack. Tova keeps his secrets; Marcellus is grateful. When 30-year-old Cameron arrives, looking for the father he never knew, he takes a part-time job at the aquarium, where Tova makes him into a passable employee. While Cam settles into what feels like home for the first time, the intelligent and erudite Marcellus pieces together what happened to Tova’s son. Can the old octopus give Tova the peace she seeks before he dies? Narrated by both Marcellus and Tova, this charming story will have you longing for a trip to the nearest aquarium.