The Benefits of Being an Octopus

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

Zoey is a gem of a character, revealing her depth in the way she faces adversity in her seventh grade year. Living in a trailer with her three younger siblings and mother's boyfriend- she is overwhelmed by the responsibilities at home to keep the family together. This novel explores tough themes: domestic and gun violence, poverty and verbal abuse. This is all done with such tact, I wouldn't hesitate to share this with middle grade readers.
The octopus metaphor was beautifully done throughout the book- and is represented in a stunning way on the cover. I love how the octopus is an extension of her... the part of her that in "unseen"... underneath the surface. Brilliant.
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The Benefits of Being an Octopus is a well-written, engaging tale that will allow students of lower socioeconomic status to see themselves represented in literature. It will provide them a story of hope and perseverance and I would therefore recommend it to students.
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I absolutely adored this! Stayed up until midnight finishing it. Didn't want to stop. Beautifully written and I loved Zoey so much! A definite keeper :)
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I was immediately drawn to this book because of the cover. It's simple, yet colorful and aesthetic, and it fits the vibe of the story very well!

The Benefits of Being an Octopus follows Zoey, a seventh grader who doesn't have time to deal with crushes or even homework. She's too busy taking care of her younger siblings while her family barely scrapes by. But one of her teachers forces her to join the debate club, and Zoey can't stop thinking how much easier life would be if she was an octopus with eight arms and the ability camouflage. Surprisingly, joining the debate club helps Zoey see things in a different light and with everything going on at home, at school, and...

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This could be one of the books that everybody should read.. it’s talking about important subjects; gunlaws, domestic violence, both physical and mental abuse, living below the poverty level and so on. This book could mean a world of difference to quite a lot of people; it opens a new POV on everything, one that deserves to be seen.
I really loved the octopus story through the entire book, the sayings, all the little facts.. it made it so much more realistic and hopeful and I loved it.
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Ann Braden tells a story of socioeconomic struggles, courage, and the importance to speak up and stand your ground. The Benefits of Being an Octopus will be a source of hope for many young readers living on the edge of society (which underpins the requirement of libraries, obviously!). I would like to specifically point out the role of the octopus in this book.

The octopus serves a triple purpose in this story: It is 1) a symbol of the human ability to adapt and evolve in difficult situations, especially children and adolescents, which represents a core theme in this book, 2) a visualisation of how young ones, who are forced into parental roles for their siblings due to their parents...

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The Benefits of Being an Octopus takes an honest look at how poverty and domestic verbal abuse impacts the life of 7th grade Zoey and her family.  This novel is well written and will resonate with young adults, if not on a personal level, then to guide them towards compassion to others.
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I think this fabulous novel will resonate with many different readers. There are layers here that, when peeled away, get to the heart of many social issues today. There is Zoey, who cares for her younger siblings while her mom works. Silas, who is mute at school as a defense mechanism. Fuchsia, who has lived in foster care but is now back with her mother. The characters are well developed, and there are many to like, love, cheer for, or hate. I am pleased that the publisher and NetGalley allowed me to be an early reader in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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I received an ARC of this book from Sky Pony Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This book was incredible. I’m surprised that this was Ann Braden’s debut novel and a middle-grade!

“That’s one of the things about the people on that beautiful tropical island: they can’t see who’s floating about in the ocean around them. Or maybe they can and they just choose not to look. I don’t know. I’ve never been there.”

We followed Zoey in this story, a 7th grader with many unfortunate circumstances. She lives in her mums boyfriends trailer where she shares a room with her two younger siblings. She lives in poverty and each day works through the possibility of the power...

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The Benefits of Being an Octopus is a riveting Young Adult novel. In the acknowledgements Ann Braden reveals this book was inspired by the need for students in poverty to view themselves in literature. Braden also dedicates the book to her single mother, and those two details inform how she was able to craft such a heartfelt, genuine book.

Zoey is a 7th grader with three younger siblings. Her single mother has moved them into her boyfriend's trailer. There's never enough money and her mother is stretched to near breaking, so Zoey is expected to assist with childcare. As I have witnessed in real life, children faced with such issues mature quickly because they have to. The...

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I found the ARC for this book on NetGalley after a friend raved about it. I admire the way the book deftly deals with many important issues while still being appropriate for middle level students. As a teacher, I probably had many students dealing with these same issues, only I did not realize the delicate balance going on in their lives, whether it's waiting for the EBT payment to be able to buy more food, stowing possessions in trash bags, juggling jobs and transportation, or students too busy helping with child care to do their homework.

The octopus theme was very cleverly handled, although a bit less at the end, and Zoey applying what she learned in debate club to the way her...

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Wow! Wow! Wow!  This book was just amazing.  AMAZING!  It hooked me right from the start and did not disappoint throughout the book.  I always worry about giving away too much information when writing a review.  Let’s just say that this book dealt with some issues that I hadn’t seen before in a middle grade novel.  While this book may be slightly too sophisticated for my grade 3 readers, I could definitely see it in older grades.  This book touched me like Out of My Mind, Fish In A Tree, Rain Reign etc.  This book definitely touched my heart and soul.  I cannot believe this is Ann Braden’s first book.  This is definitely one to add to your library!
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Wow, what a powerful book for teenagers and about teenagers. If I could I would give this so much more than just 5 stars. It has the quality of an award-winning short story and a pace of a thriller. Spot-on in every aspect.

It isn't often when an adult writer actually manages to write for young readers in a way that both appeals and is also very insightful. This book made me laugh and cry tears as big as kidney beans. There were so many broken strings inside Zoey and myself...memories of my own childhood kept creeping up like those eight tentacles constantly mentioned or hinted at.

It's like Zoey says at the beginning:

"If I were an octopus, things would be so much easier...

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This was an absolutely fantastic middle grade book dealing with gun issues and domestic violence. I literally could not put this book down and finished it in a day. I've always had a heart for students who struggle with their home life and making it paycheck to paycheck and this book does a great job dealing with that issue and bringing it to light. I cannot wait to share this book with kids at school. I think a lot of students will relate to this and will find the courage within to do what needs to be done.
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Great novel for kids and early teens to see the hidden problems that other children may face. This shows taboo subjects in a new light, 5/5.
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I was given an ARC of thus novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I absolutely love this middle grades novel.  Zoey is loveable, and my heart ached for her perseverance in light of her difficult circumstances.   I believe that this would be an excellent novel to read as a class to help students empathize with others.
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Zoey is the eldest of her mum's children and since learning about octopuses from an old documentary she watched figures she could do with being one as she has to run around her siblings, Hector, Bryce and Aurora whilst their mum works.



They all live in a trailer park with Lenny, Hector's dad and their mum where they struggle for money as her mum's a waitress. Kenny is quite scathing towards their mum especially as he knows she works with Connor, a kind man at the pizza parlour she works in whom likes Zoey and the other kids.



Zoey has just started middle school with Fuchsia her friend where she learns about a debate team and her teacher insists on her taking part. Whilst in...

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