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Shelby Van Pelt

Connection to Illinois: Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago.

Biography: Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shelby Van Pelt lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her family. Remarkably Bright Creatures is her first novel.

  • Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER; A Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!; NAMED A BEST BOOK OF SUMMER by: Chicago Tribune, The View, Southern Living, USA Today; Starred Review - Booklist; Illinois READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2023

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel
ISBN: 0063204150 OCLC: 1262965821

Ecco 2022

After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago. Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors—until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late. Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.