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The Girl with the Mermaid Hair Hardcover – January 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061542601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061542602
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,591,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—Narcissistic, naive, beautiful, and rich, 15-year-old suburbanite Sukie learns that being real is preferable to being perfect when a series of messy truths (primarily discovering her father's affair) challenge her illusions. The central point of the novel—the teen's vanity—is exhaustingly revisited between minor forays into plot-furthering events; probably three quarters of the book's pages are devoted to the protagonist evaluating her pose, stride, clothes, hair, make-up, voice-modulation, etc. Readers may disagree as to whether this makes Sukie significantly realistic and empathetic or simply an over-the-top vehicle for Ephron's message. The only two supporting characters given more than cursory outlines are Sukie's parents, who are also shallow, blithe, and self-obsessed. There is also some half-baked hocus pocus with an image-morphing mirror and an omniscient dog. This title will hit home with some girls and preach others to sleep. Strictly an additional purchase.—Rhona Campbell, Washington, DC Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Fifteen-year-old Sukie is a self-observer. She is constantly looking at her reflection or taking pictures of herself with her cell phone. So when her equally vain mother offers her an antique mirror, she’s pleased to have one more venue in which to keep tabs on herself. But as the mirror begins mysteriously cracking, so does Sukie’s tightly controlled life. Ephron, perhaps best known as a screenwriter, brings a cinematic flair to her writing in a story that’s as much cautionary tale as it is slice of teen life. Because she writes with so much wit and clarity, it’s possible to overlook some of the book’s flaws, including a reveal that even kids will see coming a mile away. Just as she did in Frannie in Pieces (2007), Ephron tries here to incorporate a little fantasy into her story, with mixed results. But when her writing goes over the top (the depiction of Sukie’s dog, Señor, is both subtle and hilarious), readers will say, “Wow!” A book for girls who think they know everything and turn out to be wrong. Grades 7-10. --Ilene Cooper

More About the Author

Delia G. Ephron is a bestselling author, screenwriter, and playwright. Her movies include, You've Got Mail, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Hanging Up (based on her novel), and Michael. She has written novels for adults (Hanging Up and The Lion is In) and teenagers (Frannie in Pieces and The Girl with the Mermaid Hair), books of humor, (How to Eat Like a Child), and essays. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times, O the Oprah Magazine, Vogue and MORE, and The Huffington Post. Recently she collaborated with her sister Nora Ephron on a play, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, which has run for over two years Off Broadway, and has been performed in cities across the US as well as in cities around the world including Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Manilla, and Sydney.

Customer Reviews

Everything was really disconnected and confusing, but as soon as I hit the halfway mark the story got so much better.
TeensReadToo
Maybe it's that I read more into The Girl With the Mermaid Hair than necessary, but I really enjoyed finding these literary allusions in Delia Ephron's book.
Erika (Jawas Read, Too)
This book is definitely not a fantasy at all (for some reason I thought it was) and is more of an over-characterized commentary on teen social disorders.
K. Eckert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I didn't like the protagonist Sukie Jamieson, 15 at all. She comes across as extremely self-obsessed, particularly where her looks are concerned. Her brother Mikey, 8 is the most appealing and likable character. He brings humor and logic where it is sorely needed.

Sukie, a mirror fanatic receives an heirloom mirror that once belonged to her grandmother. This is one thing she certainly doesn't need as she is never too far from a mirror or reflective glass such as a window. Sukie is irritating with her overuse of the word "selfie," meaning self portraits that she takes with her cell phone camera. Between the camera and the mirror, one would think Sukie would have an overdose of self.

Mirrors have long held an interesting place in history as being distortions of reality and images. From "The Lady of Shalott" to "Snow White," mirrors have had a rather mystical literary appeal. In "Snow White," where the haggish crone's mirror lied to her because she was in denial about her atrocious looks, Sukie is equally in denial about her atrocious personality and self preoccupation. In fact, she takes her mirrors so seriously that she envisions a parallel universe where she reigns and a quarterback named Bobo is her ideal beau.

One can view Sukie as having many reflections, including distored self images like a funhouse mirror. She comes across as EXTREMELY self absorbed and her verbiage ("selfies") reinforces that notion. One can also view her as lonely as she is stuck with herself, insecurities and all as well as her ubiquitious mirrors and camera.

Sukie questions all forms of beauty around her such as nature. In so doing, she wonders what constitutes beauty and is she capable of living up to peer, parental and academic standards?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Casey "A Passion for Books" on January 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm not really sure where to begin with this review. The Girl with the Mermaid Hair was an...interesting read - much different than they type of books I normally would read. To me, it was okay. I didn't hate it, but I didn't fully enjoy it either.

I found myself getting quite annoyed with Sookie's character and even her mother's too. Sookie is the kind of person who is extremely obsessed with the way she looks. Constantly taking pictures of herself, or even looking at herself with anything that will show her reflection. If one hair on her head was out of place, she would freak. I also think that Sookie's mother is the majority of the reason Sookie is the way she is - everything had to be perfect, so of course Sookie picked up the same attitude. I would think it's unhealthy to live life having everything extremely perfect.

Overall, this was a decent novel, but not one of my favorites.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on March 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sukie Jamieson is obsessed with her looks - and with herself. At every opportunity she gets, she looks at herself in a spoon, or takes a "selfie" with her cell phone, all to make sure she looks her best. When her mother gives her a gorgeous antique mirror that used to belong to her grandmother, Sukie is ecstatic. She is so ecstatic that she forgets to adhere to her mother's warning: "The mirror will be your best friend, but also your worst enemy."

As Sukie's year progresses, she learns that the mirror shows not only who you are up close, but also who you are on the inside. With these revelations, she sets off into the best and worst moments of her life, dealing with everything from family problems, to friendship dilemmas, but most of all, with who she really is as a person.

To be honest, I was not a fan of this book for the first half of the story. I felt that Sukie was really whiny and fake, caring too much about herself and not enough about those around her. Everything was really disconnected and confusing, but as soon as I hit the halfway mark the story got so much better. Sukie started to become aware of her surroundings and started turning into a real person. She even got my sympathy as she dealt with situations that anyone would find tough.

While the second half of THE GIRL WITH THE MERMAID HAIR was definitely the better half, the ending really sealed the deal for me that this was actually a good book. There was tons of emotion and it was great to see things fall into place. The crazy characters became a little less crazy, and you finally got to see the amount Sukie had grown throughout the story.

One thing I definitely have to give kudos to the author for is the characterization of Sukie's mom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erika (Jawas Read, Too) on May 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sukie Jamieson is obsessively self-conscious when it comes to her looks. An antique mirror that belonged to her grandmother is probably the last thing she needs, but the most wonderful gift she can imagine having--next to Bobo the quarterback at a nearby high school, that is. When she isn't taking "selfies" (snapshots via cell-phone camera) of herself, she begins spending time in front of her mirror which, anyone who's read or studied "The Lady of Shalott" can tell you, metaphorically and literally distorts reality. Sukie takes this to the next level and begins imagining a world beyond her own where Issa, the local pizza parlour waitress, is her best friend and Bobo, quite naturally, is the best boyfriend a girl could ever want.

The Girl With the Mermaid Hair started out kind of bizarre; Sukie has a quirky--and strong--voice and even quirkier habits. If she hadn't explained what "selfies" were, I would have been very confused for the rest of the book. Suffice to say, I wasn't sure what I'd just gotten myself into. She's more lonely than she lets on when we realize her interactions with others are very limited, when they are there at all. The family dog, Señor, gets to hear Sukie's voice more often than her classmates do. But this isn't a novel about Sukie interacting with others. It's a novel about Sukie and the world she creates by looking in the mirror. By the end, I was more impressed than I ever imagined I'd be.

At times Sukie's extreme self-consciousness came across as incredibly neurotic. As someone who used to be a teenage girl, I can attest to the truthiness of Sukie's dilemma and relate to her desire to measure up to not only her father's standards, or some arbitrary academic scale, but ultimately, to her own impossible criteria.
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