Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 14 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
A heartfelt YA coming-of-age novel set in an animal shelter from the award-winning author of In the Wake, exploring grief, first love, and growing pains.
Eighteen-year-old Dot Grey doesn't hate people; she's just not especially fond of their company. It's 1997, and she's just left home in favour of a dank, cold basement, where she lives with several small animals, including a chorus of crickets, a family of sowbugs (they came with the apartment), a hairless rat, and an injured crow.
Her job at the animal shelter is her refuge — so long as she can avoid her father's phone calls. He's trying to get Dot to visit her mother, but Dot knows there's no point. No one ever understood her like her mum, who helped Dot channel her vibrating fingers into Morse code, their own private language. But her bright, artistic mother was terribly injured a year ago and Dot can't reach her, even with her tapping fingers. Left with only a father who refuses to face the truth, she focuses on saving the little lives at the shelter.
When Joe starts working there, everyone thinks he has a crush on Dot. Dot thinks he's just awkward and kind. He shows his good heart when they rescue an entire litter of puppies together, and Dot finds herself warming up to him. But Joe waits too long to tell her his deepest secret, and soon she is forced to deal with two losses. In the end, Dot's weird way of looking at the world is the one thing that will, against the odds, help her connect with it.
With breakneck wordplay and the most motley of crews — human and otherwise ̬ Decoding Dot Grey is a tender and delightful novel from the award-winning author of In the Wake.
About the author
Nicola Davison's first novel, In the Wake, won the 2019 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, the Miramichi Reader's Very Best Book Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the Dartmouth Book Award. A graduate of Dalhousie University and the Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program, she's an active member of the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia and can be spotted at most events toting a cumbersome camera. Her meandering path to writing this novel included time working at an animal shelter, several veterinary clinics, and a dog daycare. Now a professional photographer, she lives in Dartmouth with her husband, son, and a stubborn but delightful basset hound who is terrified of cats. She has no idea how to use Morse code. She's not even that good at texting. www.nicoladavison.ca