Lily and the Octopus by Steven RowleyLily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Lily and the Octopus

bySteven Rowley

Paperback | June 7, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 110 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Out of stock online

Available in stores


Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, Lily and the Octopus is an epic adventure of the heart.

When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride.

The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details.

We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog.

Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.

Remember the last book you told someone they had to read?

Lily and the Octopus is the next one.
Title:Lily and the OctopusFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.38 × 5.5 × 0.9 inPublished:June 7, 2016Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1501146238

ISBN - 13:9781501146237

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful I fell in love with the whole metaphorical aspect of this book, so incredibly happy to have read this unique gem.
Date published: 2018-08-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh! This was a book I read for a book club. It had an interesting perspective as a dog owner and coming to grips with the lose of a beloved pet, however it was written in a way that I was not fond of. The messages of mental illness and love are dominant which is why I gave it 3 stars instead of 1or 2. The story was light but often confusing but I could relate to the heartbreak of losing a pet. I have not recommended this book to anyone and have not passed it along to other like I normally do with books. Not my favorite book by far but not the worst book either.
Date published: 2018-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow... The beginning of this book seemed a little childish and took me a few chapters to really get into but wow.. such an amazing story of a man and his best friend and the denial of mortality. Very powerful.
Date published: 2018-03-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from horrible I wish you could give no stars because this was the occasion, this is literally one of the five most terrible books I’ve read, hands down!!!!
Date published: 2018-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved this book Reading its reviews, I wonder if some people didn't read the same book that I did... I couldn't put it down! It's a very sweet and touching story, especially for a dog owner #plumreview
Date published: 2018-03-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Easy Read A nice easy read - lighthearted with a deeper message about love and mental health.
Date published: 2018-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a touching story As a dog lover and owner, I found this book relatable and extremely touching. The style of writing is whimsical, and might not be to everyone's liking. There were a few pages I had to skim and skip altogether because it was just so strange. Overall, though, there was something about this story that makes me want to read it again. It's definitely an emotional and memorable read.
Date published: 2018-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So glad I found this book! A friend recommended this to me, and I have in turn recommended it to all my friends! I thought this was such a unique, heartwarming way to explore the themes of grief and love. It was funny and sad, and I absolutely loved it.
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just Okay I originally picked up this book because I have two dogs that I just adore and thought "This is a character I can relate to!" The beginning and the end are emotional (I don't want to give anything away) and I cried, but a fair bit in between is not all that interesting. I'm disappointed by the book...but am glad I read it through.
Date published: 2017-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE I originally bought this book because I saw it had a wiener dog on it, but it ended up being one of my favorite books! I immediately picked my dog up and told her I loved her when I was done reading. But be prepared to cry!
Date published: 2017-10-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A let down This book started ok, it was heartwrenching and sad, you really feel for the main character. But then it just starts to drag and get really ridiculous. I wouldn't recommend it
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing Sadly, I read this based on the amazing reviews and it did not live up to my expectations, not even a bit. It was truly disappointing and simply put, a boring read. The plot was good - but the writing just did not live up it.
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Get ready to cry and fall in love This book was the perfect read on my vacation by the beach.
Date published: 2017-07-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Heartwrenching This was a really great book, however quite a tearjerker. It's not for the faint of heart, but for any dog owners you can really relate to the main character in this book.
Date published: 2017-06-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was OK It was alright, not my favourite book though - I was expecting it to be better. Other than that, it was still pretty good, and I would recommend it to anyone that finds the description interesting but isn't looking for a book to completely blow them away.
Date published: 2017-06-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heartfelt I was intrigued to read this book because of the title and it's cover. I finished it quickly, although at times it was a bit slow, but nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very touching and heartfelt, there was added humour and written in an easy to follow perspective.
Date published: 2017-05-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Touching novel Being an owner of a dachshund I was immediately drawn to the cover. This novel really dove into what it is like to have one of these lovable dogs in your home and just how big of an impact one small creature can have on our lives.
Date published: 2017-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oh, my heart Dog? Check. Quirky main character? Check. Heart-breaking story? Check. All the makings of a 5-star book!
Date published: 2017-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If you want to feel all the feels... If you want to feel all the feels then this book is definitely for you. I laughed, I cried, I rolled my eyes, it was a beautiful story about friendship between two modern personalities. It was everything you can expect, and everything you wouldn't expect between man and his best friend.
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartfelt and Emotional This book made me laugh and cry and I absolutely loved reading it. As an avid animal lover and a pet owner, I could truly relate to the bond that Ted and Lily have. This was a beautiful and heartfelt story, but don't read it unless you're prepared to shed a few (or several) tears! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 8/10 Loved it but it broke my heart.
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hilarious and heart breaking A touching, funny, sweet, and relatable tale of a man, his dog, and a very unwelcome octopus. 4/5
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from More than I expected #plumreview I thought this would be just another dog lover book but it was so much more. Happiness and sadness throughout.
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A very sweet story 3.5 stars. “To focus, I think of how dogs are witnesses. How they are present for our most private moments, how they are there when we think of ourselves as alone. They witness our quarrels, our tears, our struggles, our fears, and all of our secret behaviours that we have to hide from our fellow humans. They witness without judgment.” ― Steven Rowley, Lily and the Octopus
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Joyous, whimsical and heartbreaking all at the same time: what more could you want? This book moves you while also keeping you on your toes. It brings a smile to your face and a laugh to your lips while just as quickly tearing your heart out. It takes a very special author to renew the well-worn "man-and-his-dog" trope in such a refreshing and captivating way. This is one dog (and owner) you won't soon forget.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking and Wonderful My favourite combination in a book: heartbreaking but wonderful. It manages to be funny, sad, scary and terrible - in a good way. Loved every bit of it - I will definitely be keeping it in my stash as a 're-read' for the future.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ohhhh This book was really funny and yet heartbreaking. I really could related.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was okay Not the most riveting book but I did love the message.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great story! I loved this book! Emotionally deep, funny and endearing.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking and also hopeful If you've ever loved and lost a beloved canine companion, this book will break your heart one moment, then mend it the next. Keep the tissue box close by. The author brilliantly captures the voice of the dachshund, Lily. Her human, Ted, is endearing in his love for her. His dedication and determination to save her is so poignant. It's a bittersweet story that ends on a hopeful note. Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely loved this book.
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Didn't know what to expect Such a good book! made me laugh more than once. It was sad at moments but was worth the ending. So glad I decided to read it.
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a cryfest, but so worth it, loved. I laughed, then I cried, then I sobbed uncontrollably for the last 40 pages. I was interested right away by the fun writing and quirky man who loves playing board games and talking about cute boys with his dog. Nothing is wrapped up quickly or cut off too soon. It follows a perfect course and does the ending justice. Probably haven't hyper-venti-cried that much over a book in a while, it was worth it.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bring the tissues This book utterly destroyed me. I don't usually cry at books (even books everyone says they cry reading) and I sobbed like a baby. So many moments of this book rang true from life with our previous dog Smooch, from the impromptu Thanksgiving dinner to the moment with the peanut butter. Reading it while separated from my beloved dog Tiggy while on vacation made it even more difficult. A beautiful book about the power of animal companionship and love. Highly recommended but bring the tissues.
Date published: 2016-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from my review has disappeared I gave this book a five star rating because I loved it but my review is no longer available. Kind of sad because the only other review is so negative and I totally disagree with it. This is just a quiet and gentle book about love.
Date published: 2016-08-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not what I expected I bought this book because it was recommended to me by Plum and seemed different and intriguing. I was not pleased with it at all. The praise on the cover compares the book to so many other great novels but I was disappointed by this one. There was no real story line, and no character development until well past half way throughout. If it comes down to it I wouldn't recommend this book if you're looking for a different read. The events of the story are rather depressing however the emotion just Isn't behind the words.
Date published: 2016-07-22

Editorial Reviews

NATIONAL BESTSELLER “Lily and the Octopus is the dog book you must read this summer…. Reading this heart-wrenching but ultimately breathtaking novel was a very profound experience…. As Lily might say, ‘YOU! MUST! READ! THIS! BOOK!’” —The Washington Post “Startlingly imaginative...‘Lily and the Octopus’ is a love story sure to assert its place in the canine lit pack...Be prepared for outright laughs and searing or silly moments of canine and human recognition. And grab a tissue: THERE! WILL! BE! EYE! RAIN!” —Newsday “Sensitive, hilarious, and emotionally rewarding.... The intimacy of pet ownership is sweetly suffused throughout this heartwarming autobiographical fiction... In generous helpings of bittersweet humanity, Rowley has written an immensely poignant and touchingly relatable tale that readers (particularly animal lovers) will love.” —Publishers Weekly “Steven Rowley’s touching, fresh, energetic novel isn’t simply another ‘boy and his dog’ story. It is a profound exploration of grief—how we find ourselves lost, how we search for reason, how we sacrifice ourselves for our loved ones, all to avoid paying the octopus. But the octopus will be paid. And in settling that debt, in the magical, hopeful world of Lily and the Octopus, we will learn to live—and love—again. A wonderfully moving story.” —Garth Stein, bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain “An exceedingly authentic, keenly insightful, and heartbreakingly poignant tribute to the purity of love between a pet and its human.” —Booklist (starred review) “A quirky and deeply affecting charmer of a novel, Lily and the Octopus is funny, wise, and utterly original in its exploration of what it means to love any mortal creature. This brave little dachshund will capture your heart, as will her prickly, tenderhearted, and irresistible owner. Don't miss their adventures together.” —Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants “Singular, spectacular, and touchingly tentacular.” —Chris Cleave, bestselling author of Little Bee “You will tear through this big-hearted, inventive novel. A fast and funny read that also happens to be a profound meditation on love and forgiveness, Lily and the Octopus is a delight.” —Christina Baker Kline, bestselling author of Orphan Train “Intelligently written, finely observed, and surprisingly moving, this is a book you’ll find hard to put down.” —Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project “A whimsical, touching tale” —People “My favorite book of the year: Steven Rowley's Lily and the Octopus. Hilarious, heartbreaking. You will absolutely cry and you will love it."  —Patrick Ness, bestselling author of The Rest of Us Just Live Here “You don’t need to be a dog lover to enjoy Steven Rowley’s new book, ‘Lily and the Octopus,’ but if you’ve realized you like your dog more than most humans you encounter, this is one you won’t want to miss.” —Newport Beach Independent “In his funny, ardent and staunchly kooky way, Rowley expresses exactly what it's like to love a dog.” —Kirkus Reviews “Rowley shares a moving, profound tale of grappling with loss.” —Real Simple “It is a joyful book; it is also a sincerely written tragedy that invoked the purity of friendship between animal/human family members. It's laughter through tears. Rowley has a sense of humor with just enough morbid sensibility to appeal to a wide audience (even if animal best friend books aren't one's thing). Yet, he navigates the five stages of grief and loss while inspiring others to appreciate the lives we already have.” —Edge Media “Portland’s Steven Rowley strikes a chord in a moving book about heartache and friendship that is expected to be a big seller this summer.” —Portland Press Herald “The connection between man and dog is loud and clear in this sweet novel…” —Fort Worth Star-Telegram “Author Steven Rowley uses humor and pop-culture references to tell a whimsical story of courage in the face of heartbreaking reality. Philosophical and introspective, “Lily and the Octopus” also looks at the transformative power of love, the importance of forgiveness and the beauty of really living, letting ourselves be seen instead of hiding in plain sight…I laughed, I sobbed, and at the end, I felt as if I’d caught up with a friend over coffee.” —The Free Lance-Star