Forty Days (Neima's Ark #1)
by Stephanie Parent
Release Date: 02/10/13
Summary from Goodreads:
The entire village knows Neima’s grandfather is a madman. For years the old man has prophesied that a great flood is coming, a flood disastrous enough to blot out the entire earth. He’s even built an enormous ark that he claims will allow his family to survive the deluge. But no one believes the ravings of a lunatic…
…until the rain starts. And doesn’t stop. Soon sixteen-year-old Neima finds her entire world transformed, her life and those of the people she loves in peril. Trapped on the ark with her grandfather Noah, the rest of her family, and a noisy, filthy, and hungry assortment of wild animals, will Neima find a way to survive?
With lions, tigers, and bears oh my, elephants and flamingos too, along with rivalries and betrayals, a mysterious stowaway, and perhaps even an unexpected romance, FORTY DAYS is not your grandfather’s Noah’s Ark story.
FORTY DAYS is approximately 45000 words, the length of a shorter novel, and is the first installment in a two-part epic story. It does contain a cliffhanger ending.
Readers looking for a traditional, religiously oriented version of the Noah’s Ark story should be warned that FORTY DAYS may not appeal to them. The novel will, however, appeal to lovers of apocalyptic fiction, historical fiction, and romance, as well as anyone who’s ever dreamed of having a baby elephant as a pet.
I’ve always loved animals and books about animals, so when I started working on a retelling of Noah’s Ark, one of the things I was most excited about writing was the relationship between the people and animals on the ark. I knew there was no way I could create personalities for every animal on the ship, so I did some research on the ones that most interested me, trying to narrow it down…and I very quickly decided on the elephants. Because, seriously, elephants are AMAZING. They show a wide range of emotions, are incredibly loyal and affectionate (as in the picture above, where the baby elephants are entwining trunks to show affection), and are extremely intelligent as well. So here are a few things I love about elephants…
They remember and care for each other over long periods of time. After long periods of separation, elephants will have elaborate “reunions.” They sense and begin calling to each other from over a quarter of a mile away, then greet each other with excitement. In one case, two elephants were in a circus together but then were separated for over twenty years; when they were reunited, they remembered each other and actually bent the metal bars between their enclosures in their effort to get closer together!
They care for sick and injured elephants. Members of a sick elephant’s herd will bring it food and support it while it stands. If an elephant dies, they will try to revive it, and when it becomes clear the elephant is dead, they will often dig a shallow grave, cover the body with dirt and branches, and remain at the gravesite for several days. Elephants who’ve had particularly close relationships will even show signs of depression after a death.
They’re very smart. Elephants have been taught to paint with their trunks, and they’ve also figured out how to open complex locks in order to escape captivity.
I was lucky to read some great middle grade and YA books involving elephants during my research, and if you’re interested in learning more (or, more accurately, having your heart burst with emotion), I’d highly recommend CHAINED by Lynne Kelly and THE NATURE OF JADE by Deb Caletti.
And if you’re still not convinced that elephants are amazing…watch this video about an elephant and a dog who are best friends. I watch in whenever I’m in an especially bad mood—it’s better than chocolate! Just make sure you have a box of Kleenex nearby for the happy-tears…
Forty Days is on sale this week only for only $.99! Go get your copy!
(1) e-book of Forty Days and $10 gift card to Amazon (INT)
(3) e-book copies of Forty Days (INT)