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Mermaid Summer---

  With the help of her brother, Jon, 9-year-old Anna daringly seeks to discover the secret means to undo a mermaid's curse upon their grandfather.

 

While taking their annual summer vacation with their scientist uncle  (lovingly nicknamed Dr. D) Billy Deep and his sister Sheena get caught up in a hunt for a mermaid. Things take a turn for the worse when Billy actually finds one.

This wide-eyed, magical tale by distinguished author Alice Hoffman reflects the pale blue hue of two 12-year-old friends about to be parted at summer's end. Hailey and Claire have lived next door to each other and have been best friends all their lives, but now Claire's family is going to move away to Florida. The two hang out at the neighborhood beach club in the blistering heat, dreading the end of things. The Capri Beach Club, too, is coming to an end--neglected and shabby, due to be bulldozed at the end of the season. Despite the girls' fear of change, everything shifts with a summer storm. At the beach club the next morning, Hailey and Claire find that the storm has left its mark, filling the cloudy waters of the swimming pool with jellyfish and seaweed. Hailey boldly dives in and discovers that the waves have also brought a delicate blue and white mermaid who is extremely grouchy at her predicament. The girls scheme to return the fish-woman to the sea, but she obstinately refuses to leave the vicinity of Raymond, the handsome boy who runs the gift shop. Alarmed at the mermaid's growing weakness, Hailey and Claire extract her promise to go back to the sea in exchange for one evening with Raymond. They set up a blind date, dress her in a long blue dress to hide her tail, and take her to the rendezvous in a wheelchair. But the next morning the dying mermaid is in love, and the patio is full of partygoers. Can the girls sneak her past all those eyes to save her life? And will she let them? Young teens will be entranced by the strange dreaminess of this poignant little story about love and loss. (Ages 10 to 14) --Patty Campbell

Sirena,

Here, she retells the Greek myth of the Sirens, whose sweet, beckoning singing caused countless shipwrecks. But did the Sirens (who Napoli imagines as mermaids) really mean for the sailors to perish? Or were these sultry singers cursed themselves? In Napoli's tale, because they are half-human, the 10 Sirens are doomed to lead short mortal lives--unless they can convince men to become their mates. But after witnessing a shipwreck in which the survivors kill one of her sisters, 17-year-old Sirena decides she would rather lose her chance at eternal life than trick a human into loving her. She vows to live alone on "an island where the first rays of sun bring sight to blind eyes.... I am going there to find new sight. I will wipe from my brain the sights I have seen and start over." Little does she know that due to a jealous goddess, a sea-serpent bite, and a dead hero, a man will come to her island and love her for herself, not just her song. Sirena is  the perfect teenage heroine--questioning authority and falling in love no matter what the consequences. In creating this beautiful story, Napoli brings mythology alive for today's young adults. (Ages 12 to 15)

 

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