Remarkably Bright Creatures - Shelby Van Pelt

Remarkably Bright Creatures

By Shelby Van Pelt

  • Release Date: 2022-05-03
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 1,999 Ratings


A Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!

“Remarkably Bright Creatures is a beautiful examination of how loneliness can be transformed, cracked open, with the slightest touch from another living thing.” -- Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here

For fans of A Man Called Ove, a charming, witty and compulsively readable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow's unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus

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.


  • Couldn’t Put it Down

    By JenO1313
    This was the best book I’ve ever read. I couldn’t put it down. I was shocked when I realized this was the first book she ever wrote. I can’t wait for the next one.
  • Heartwarming

    By jessica drennan
    This is a heartwarming story and it’s just what I needed. You will literally cheer on the plot to bring Tova and Cameron together and when it is all over tyou will want to give a big hug to a giant pacific octopus! Remarkably Bright Creatures is remarkably enchanting.
  • Loved Everything About This BOOK!

    By Blueyeraven
    The characters just jumped off the page into my life. Highly recommend this book!
  • Great first novel!

    By dancing dolly
    Absolutely a lovely lovely read. Loved Marcellus…
  • Story that shouldn’t work but does

    By bat4330
    This is a book that shouldn’t work, but it does. Writers have anthropomorphized dogs, cats, perhaps the occasional horse. But an octopus? As a narrator? We know that they are very intelligent. To go with this octopus tale is a human story so sweet that it alone can hold the reader’s interest. Loved this book. Still not sure why
  • Plow through the slow beginning until the quirky characters will grab you and not let go

    By MoHo Mom
    This book starts slowly. But if you persevere you will be rewarded with a cast of lovable, well-drawn characters who will grab your heart. The climax was so riveting I couldn’t put the book down until it was finished and left me with tears of joy.
  • Captivating story!

    By JennWelling
    Loved this book. The narration is superb, the characters are believable and I couldn’t put it down.
  • Such a beautiful story

    By renatabrg
    How not to love Marcellus! I loved this book and the characters. Some parts of the story brought some confusion to the reader, though. Don’t know if on purpose, or if I missed something
  • Just wonderful

    By Robobecka
    What a great book! I just loved how all the storylines came together and Tova was a gem.
  • Remarkably Bright Book!

    By Lads62
    It took a few chapters to get into the grove but once I did, I was hooked! So clever, poignant, heart-felt; all rolled up with grief, love and joy. Be sure to read the Acknowledgements to learn how she got the idea for the book. Loved this one!