Tentacle and Wing
Twelve-year-old Ada is a Chimera, born with human and animal DNA thanks to a genetic experiment gone wrong. Because being a “kime” is believed to be contagious, she has kept her condition—complete with infrared vision—hidden. But a surprise test outs her, and Ada is shipped off to a quarantined school for kimes.There Ada meets kids of many different shapes, stripes, and appendages, such as a girl with dragonfly wings and a seal-boy. As she adjusts to her new life, Ada senses that the facility is keeping a secret that could upend everything the world knows about Chimeras. But will someone put a stop to her efforts to uncover the truth? 

Tentacle and Wing Details

TitleTentacle and Wing
Author
ReleaseOct 10th, 2017
PublisherHMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139781328707338
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Adventure, Family

Tentacle and Wing Review

  • Kathy Cunningham
    January 1, 1970
    Sarah Porter’s TENTACLE & WING is a deeply moving, viscerally super-charged middle grade sci-fi thriller that had me from the first page. The story is set in the near-future, after a genetic mishap has resulted in children being born as chimeras, with both human and animal DNA. Twelve-year-old Ada has always known she’s different from other kids. She has amazing eyesight that allows her to see through solid objects, a sort of infrared super-vision that turns heat into colors. Her microbiolog Sarah Porter’s TENTACLE & WING is a deeply moving, viscerally super-charged middle grade sci-fi thriller that had me from the first page. The story is set in the near-future, after a genetic mishap has resulted in children being born as chimeras, with both human and animal DNA. Twelve-year-old Ada has always known she’s different from other kids. She has amazing eyesight that allows her to see through solid objects, a sort of infrared super-vision that turns heat into colors. Her microbiologist dad has trained her to keep her powers secret, since being identified as not totally human (or a chimera) would get her carted off to an isolated prison designed to keep chimeras (or “kimes” as they’re called) separate from normal humans. But when Ada’s secret is discovered, nothing – not even her father – can protect her from being torn away from her family and forced to live with others like herself. Are the kimes really contagious to normal humans, or is it just prejudice and hatred that forces them into isolation? And what is really going on in this newly developing world . . . and why?This is a remarkably complex story. At first, it seems to be all about our human inability to accept those who are different from ourselves. Ada is mixed race, and even before she’s outed as a kime she’s had to deal endlessly with the question, “What are you?” Before she was identified as a kime, she could always answer that question with, “I’m a human being.” Now she can’t do that. But the normal people’s reaction to the kimes isn’t quite the same as it is to racial or ethnic differences – the kimes are assumed to be contagious, they have animal or insect appendages, they have super-developed senses, and many die at birth. And no one is sure how all this started. Was it really an accident in a genetics lab that set off these genetic mutations? Or is something bigger, even metaphysical happening?Porter’s characters are fascinating and surprisingly believable. There’s a girl with dragonfly wings who can almost fly, a boy more seal than human who can spend hours under water, and a super attractive boy who seems to be part chameleon (his skin changes with his moods, and it can mimic anything it touches). And all of them seem like real kids, with the same fears and insecurities we all have. The politics of their situation adds additional levels of uncertainty, making it difficult to figure out who the “good guys” and the “bad guys” are. Ada may have kept her secret for years, lying to everyone about what she really saw with her super-human eyes, but the secrets and lies run rampant among the kimes, leaving Ada (and the reader) unsure of whom to trust. TENTACLE & WING is a surprisingly dark tale, delving deep into the depths of human character. Adults and children alike prove capable of both malicious and benevolent. The lust for power is a driving force, motivating even those who seem like good and caring people. These are characters who struggle to do what’s right while never being quite sure what “right” is. Ultimately, the novel ends with a satisfying conclusion that ties up at least part of Ada’s story while leaving plenty of room for sequels. We learn a lot more about how the kimes came to be, and what their role might be in the future. I was reminded a lot of Octavia Butler’s LILITH’S BROOD series, as well as Margaret Atwood’s ORYK AND CRAKE (both are about genetic manipulation and what it might mean for the future of humanity). And both are very adult books, with very adult themes. TENTACLE & WING is for kids, but it’s challenging and though provoking on a very mature level. Both of my sons would have loved this book when they were in middle school. I highly recommend it.[Please note: I was provided an Advance Reading Copy of this novel free of charge; the opinions expressed here are my own.]
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  • Vanessa Botelho
    January 1, 1970
    First thing about this novel to grab my attention was the very creative book cover. I noticed events in the novel happen one after the other not much filler story in the novel keeps you interested which is great as Middle school kids get distracted quite easily. For someone as myself who is not in middle school I find it a very easy fast fun read. The story starts off with Ada realising she's not quite all human and gets thrown into a "secured" home for children like her... What adventure awaits First thing about this novel to grab my attention was the very creative book cover. I noticed events in the novel happen one after the other not much filler story in the novel keeps you interested which is great as Middle school kids get distracted quite easily. For someone as myself who is not in middle school I find it a very easy fast fun read. The story starts off with Ada realising she's not quite all human and gets thrown into a "secured" home for children like her... What adventure awaits her and what will she learn about people like her.... I recommend you read the novel so you to can find out.
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  • Silea
    January 1, 1970
    Based on the cover material, i was expecting a fairly light-weight standard early-YA 'being different isn't bad' story, but with tentacles and wings. And it does start out pretty low-key, an introduction to our main character, her family, her world. But it turns darker and darker as it goes, from catastrophic climate change to racism to bigotry, and that's even before you get to the betrayals, the lies, and the attempted murder.Ada is a bit of a blank slate as characters go, i wish she had more Based on the cover material, i was expecting a fairly light-weight standard early-YA 'being different isn't bad' story, but with tentacles and wings. And it does start out pretty low-key, an introduction to our main character, her family, her world. But it turns darker and darker as it goes, from catastrophic climate change to racism to bigotry, and that's even before you get to the betrayals, the lies, and the attempted murder.Ada is a bit of a blank slate as characters go, i wish she had more personality, but that's really all i can say is bad about this book. Secondary characters are complex and developed, with motivations and conflicts of their own.The book wraps up nicely, but with plenty of unanswered questions, so i fully expect a sequel. And i will wait impatiently for it.
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  • Wendy
    January 1, 1970
    In ‘Tentacle and Wing” an imaginative middle school sci-fi thriller the whole of South Fork, Long Island has been quarantined because babies with human and animal DNA are being born thanks to a generic experiment gone wrong. Because being a “kime” is thought to be contagious, and each considered a monster by the populace, any parent harboring a chimera can be sentenced to five years in prison. In an atmosphere of fear and hatred twelve-year-old Ada Lahey the daughter of a microbiologist who can In ‘Tentacle and Wing” an imaginative middle school sci-fi thriller the whole of South Fork, Long Island has been quarantined because babies with human and animal DNA are being born thanks to a generic experiment gone wrong. Because being a “kime” is thought to be contagious, and each considered a monster by the populace, any parent harboring a chimera can be sentenced to five years in prison. In an atmosphere of fear and hatred twelve-year-old Ada Lahey the daughter of a microbiologist who can see things others can’t has been sheltered and taught to act normal only to fail a blood test at her school and shipped off to Sag Habour to an isolated school for kimes. There she meets Gabriel, a boy whose skin reflects the colors and shapes of the world around him; Ophelia a girl with dragonfly wings who can hover; and Rowan, a seal-boy. But the school is far from being a refuge for kimes as its gates are plagued periodically by mobs of people wanting to see the freaks, as well as hidden secrets within which are proving to be a danger to Ada’s safety.Fast-paced Sarah Porter blends mystery, danger and adventure into a plot where the “villains” may not be just the people trying to break down the gates to the facility, but within its own walls. In a multifaceted story filled with twists and turns that keep the reader on the edge of their seat the action never stops as intensity and suspense build especially with Ada’s discovery of a mysterious sentient blue light, an underground cavern and an enormous creature who she suspects wants to kill her.Masterfully the author tackles themes like racism, discrimination, and a changing global environment in a dark setting that breeds betrayal, lies and attempted murder. Yet the plot will enthrall middle schoolers and young teens who love strange, superpowered beings in a changing world.Bringing the story to life are characters that are complex, realistic and diverse like Ada Lahey a musically talented young girl who for years has hidden her power but when it’s revealed, sacrifices her well-being to save her parents and unborn sister or brother. Kind, determined and empathetic she makes friends with Rowan a boy born with flippers and fur who’s considerate, open and honest; Ophelia her secretive and disloyal roommate; and overly confident and sulky Marley who believes she’s totally human. Darkly emotional, reckless and cruel is Gabriel stamped as “the violent child” while the Administrator Miss Stuart who seems warm and loving masks a calculating, power-hungry side.With mystery and adventure wrapped up in a sci-fi thrill ride, “Tentacle and Wing” is a novel that will keep youngsters captivated for hours. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope that we’ll see more of Ada and her friends in future.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to HMH Kids for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!I have read a couple of Sarah Porter novels before this one, and I'd have to say I liked TENTACLE & WING the best! For a YA fantasy novel this was surprisingly complex and a great lighter suspense (geared towards middle grade).This is set in the near future. After a genetic mishap, there are some children being born as chimeras - so they have both human and animal DNA. The story focuses on 12 year old Ada. Growing u Thank you to HMH Kids for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!I have read a couple of Sarah Porter novels before this one, and I'd have to say I liked TENTACLE & WING the best! For a YA fantasy novel this was surprisingly complex and a great lighter suspense (geared towards middle grade).This is set in the near future. After a genetic mishap, there are some children being born as chimeras - so they have both human and animal DNA. The story focuses on 12 year old Ada. Growing up she has always known she was different that the other kids around her. Her eyesight was so incredible, she could see through solid objects and even see in infrared which turned heat into colors. Since she can remember, her dad has always told her to keep her powers a secret from the other kids, otherwise if she was discovered as a chimera then she'd be taken away to be isolated from the normal human population. When her powers are discovered, Ada is ripped away from her home, family, and friends to go live in a facility with other chimeras, or kimes.Considering this is a YA book that is geared towards middle school age kids I was very surprised at how complex the characters were and the subject that Porter tackled. It's not a heavy read by any means, but having a story about learning to live with and accept people's differences is very topical right now. Only the chimeras and normal humans aren't dealing with race or ethnicity, they are dealing with the stigma and belief that the chimeras are contagious. It's phenomena no one can really figure out - why were these kids born with animal DNA mixed in? Are they actually contagious?I loved the diverse characters that Ada meets. We meet a girl with dragonfly wings who is still working on being able to fly, a boy that is mostly seal and can spend hours underwater, and then a young man that seemed to more of a chameleon than shape-shifter - he could change colors based on mood or by mimicking what he touches. Despite their physical differences, these kids felt very real and believable in their emotions and struggles.Overall, if you want a unique YA fantasy premise with memorable characters, then this is a good one to pick up! If you typically aren't a fan of the YA genre, then this might not be for you. I'm not one to go out of my way to pick up YA novels, but I was pleasantly surprised with TENTACLE & WING.I give this 4/5 stars!
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  • Alexa
    January 1, 1970
    Though Ada seems young at the beginning of this story, she grows up quickly among the kimes--short for chimera. They are under quarantine on Long Island but something is not quite right, as you might expect. It actually turns out there are some really sinister forces at work, and they aren't glossed over or sinister for 12-year-olds--they are really nasty and this book doesn't shy away from the ugliness of discrimination, fear and fearmongering. Definitely recommend for those sci fi kids who oft Though Ada seems young at the beginning of this story, she grows up quickly among the kimes--short for chimera. They are under quarantine on Long Island but something is not quite right, as you might expect. It actually turns out there are some really sinister forces at work, and they aren't glossed over or sinister for 12-year-olds--they are really nasty and this book doesn't shy away from the ugliness of discrimination, fear and fearmongering. Definitely recommend for those sci fi kids who often just read adult books to get them through. The ending does pull back a little and allow for some comfort, but not as much as you might think in a middle grade novel.
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  • Laura Phelps
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fast-paced sci fi / fantasy that covers a lot of ground - it is both an ecological cautionary tale and an exploration of acceptance and tolerance. The characters are compelling (especially the chimera - the non-kime “regulars” are mostly pretty awful humans) and Ada’s voice is strong and empathetic. And, the cover art is gorgeous!
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent! Loved the similarities between the X-Men kids and these characters. Wonderful descriptions of the various chimeras. The only thing that really bothered me was the lack of adults who were the "good guys." The only one that was truly looking out for the kids was the doctor who had lost his mind.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I like that this books went deeper than just the superficial "everyone is perfect the way they are" but I didn't care for the fact that it seemed most everything was wrapped in a neat little bow by the end.
  • Gigi
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting sci-fi read with interesting characters and a gorgeous cover!
  • TJ Burns
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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