Young Captain Nemo

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced ebook in exchange for my honest opinion.

Young Captain Nemo has a fabulous premise .Gabriel Nemo is a decedent of the infamous Caption Nemo, but he isn't following in his footsteps. He wants to make the underwear realm safe for all. His sister however is an apply that hasn't fallen far from the family tree. Gabriel will need to challenge his sister if he is going to change the family persona.

My students, boys and girls, will want to pass this one around. Fast-paced, interesting, creative, Young Captain Nemo is going to be a big hit at my school.
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Gabriel Nemo lives alone (but with access to a lawyer in case things need to be signed) near the sea, and has access to a state-of-the-art submarine, the Obscure, that he uses to help ships in need. He has two good friends, Peter and Misty, who help him man the ship. When they sneak away from a school fund raiser to save a ship and have an encounter with a giant animal that has inhabited a sunken WWII era plane, Gabriel knows he is going to have to ask his parents, who are living at the bottom of the sea in a lab, for help. They agree to a "school trip" for his friends, and the trio are soon off. Also in on this adventure is Gabriel's sister Nerissa, who has inherited the Nemo gene for trouble making and has spent the last few years with her own ship, the Nebula, ramming illegal whaling boats, so she is wanted by the government. After some research on one of the creatures that they are able to capture,  Gabriel finds that the creatures they saw were "Lodgers", giant, crab-like creatures that feed on plastic pellets in a garbage zone and use abandoned ships for their shells. They can apparently communicate with each other, and when Gabriel tries to recreate the sounds, it calls the creatures to the lab, which they try to destroy in order to save their fellow creature. Nerissa knows that the navy is trying to kill the creatures, but if they try to blow them up, the resultant explosion will be horrific, since their eating habits make them basically mobile oil fields! After an epic battle that involves tremendous planning and skill, crisis is averted, but there are further wrinkles-- Misty is tired of lying to her parents, even though she loves the adventure. Luckily, the Nemos have some resources, and off to start a legitimate school that Gabriel, Misty, and Peter can attend while they have further adventures!

Strengths: I love that this just jumped right into the action and explained all of the backstory in small snippets interspersed with giant, flying sea creatures in WWII planes. Perfect, AND everyone's parents are alive! I was completely in awe of the scenes in the water, both sailing and diving. Wow. I don't know if they were accurate, but they certainly seemed so to me. The details from Verne's Nemo story are threaded throughout in a way that made me want to go back and read the original (okay, a translation!), which is a great thing for young readers up for the challenge. The characters are all great-- I loved that Peter didn't want to get wet (he can't swim!), Misty didn't want to lie to her parents, especially if there were a chance she might end up dead on the ocean floor, and that Gabriel, as much as he loves his adventures, misses his parents. All treated lightly, but effective just the same. Nerissa is an interesting study in opposites-- she's a criminal, but for all the right reasons! The details about the ecology of the ocean are great as well, and might lead to further research. Brilliant all the way around. 
Weaknesses: I need more details about the properties of Nemo glass, how that much mother of pearl is harvested for use in the ships, and how the lab is powered! Perhaps that information will be woven into the next book. 
What I really think: I was really looking forward to this, and had read a couple really awful books before I picked it up, so I found myself sighing in happiness, relief, and satisfaction while I read this. I had to stop in the middle to do real life things like laundry, cooking, and cleaning, and I was NOT happy until I got back to the book. Isn't that how we want students to feel about what they read?
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