Booktalk for TENTACLE AND WING by Sarah Porter

Ada has been lying to people her whole life. With her black wavy hair, brown skin, and green eyes, Ada looks completely normal. Completely human. But she’s not. She’s a dreaded chimera, or kime.

Most people are terrified of the kimes — these part human, part animal monster children. No one knows why Chimera Syndrome is spreading across Long Island. In an effort to contain it, all kimes are sent away to a special facility so they can’t contaminate anyone else.

Unlike most kime kids, Ada wasn’t identified at birth. She doesn’t have dragonfly wings on her back or poisonous tentacles growing out her forehead. The only evidence of her animal DNA is her infrared vision — she can see heat in a way no pure human can. (She can tell when someone just left the room, or how many fingers they’re holding up behind a newspaper.)

Ada has grown up in a family, pretty much like a normal kid. She’s just had to hide who she really is. Then the year she turns twelve, she gets caught. DNA test at school. Now she’s being packed off to wherever it is they lock up the kimes. Her dad doesn’t even fight to keep her.

The quarantined school is not exactly what Ada expects. Yes, she meets a girl with giant insect eyes and a boy with otter fur on his face. But she also has a growing suspicion that there are secrets being held — or unraveled — inside the razor wire fence. Secrets that could explain the mystery of the chimera. Or perhaps destroy them. Ada must choose her allegiances very carefully.

Genre: Science fiction

Grades 5-8.

 

Anna’s take on it:

I really enjoyed booktalking TENTACLE AND WING this spring in fifth and sixth grade classes. It’s not a title that most kids have heard about, but I saw a lot of interest in it once I booktalked it. Students were intrigued by the premise that Ada isn’t 100% human and appalled that her dad doesn’t try to keep her once her secret is discovered. The book delves into themes of prejudice — and at the same time is a great adventure. I’m delighted kids are excited to read it.