Saturday, March 23, 2019

Maybe a Mermaid

Cameron, Josephine. Maybe a Mermaid
March 26th 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Anthoni Gillis and her mother have moved frequently as her mother moves up in the ranks of Beauty and the Bee cosmetics. When her mother moves up a level, she takes Anthoni on a long-promised vacation to Showboat Resort at Thunder Lake, a place she spent six "perfect" summers at when she was a girl. When the two arrive, the whole place is in disrepair and is being run by Charlotte Boulay, the now elderly daughter of the owners. Anthoni's mother reconnects with her childhood friend, who isn't really interested in spending time together. Anthoni hopes that she and the daughter might become True Blue Friends, but that doesn't work out either. Instead, Anthoni starts hanging around with DJ, and the two discover some secrets about the resort and Charlotte. Back in the day, Charlotte was the Boulay Mermaid, but how she managed the act is something Anthoni doesn't understand. Since Anthoni's mother's business is not doing well, the two plan to move to Chicago when their time is up at the resort, and Anthoni hopes she can make a friend before they go. When she tells a potential friend that she can show her a REAL mermaid, Charlotte graciously agrees to help, but when the show almost ends in disaster, Anthoni is forced to face some difficult truths.
Strengths: I am a complete sucker for run down resorts and especially Storybook Forest theme parks. The setting was awesome, and I didn't even mind the horrible flashbacks I had to swimming lessons in the lake! Anthoni and her mother's various positive mantras were great fun, and I also had some Amway flashbacks-- my parents sold it briefly, and I helped with the various demonstrations of the products. Anthoni and DJ had just the right level of supervision that they were safe but were able to get into some trouble! The inclusion of information of vaudeville was fun. There should be more middle grade novels about vaudeville!
Weaknesses: I couldn't pin down the timeline. Charlotte seemed like she would be about 90, but the mother would have been at the resort about 20 years ago. I didn't think about it too hard, but something seemed not quite right.
What I really think: I liked this, but I'm not sure how much appeal it would have. I have reached the point in the year where I have no budget left. If I got a copy of this for free, I would put it in the library, but I'm not entirely sure I'll buy it. And yes, I get a LOT of books that I send to other schools because I know my students just won't pick them up.
Ms. Yingling

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