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Mermaid in Chelsea Creek Hardcover – May 14, 2013

6 customer reviews

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$12.96 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8-10-Sophie Swankowski is a poor girl living in the slums of Chelsea, Massachusetts, with her single, overworked mother. The summer before ninth grade, she and her best friend, Ella, spend their days playing the "passing-out game," hyperventilating until they faint and achieve a seconds-long, dreamlike state. But one day, Sophie's blackout lasts almost an hour. She has a vision of a grimy, foreign mermaid who tells her that she is special-in fact, she is the child the old stories spoke of, the one who will save humanity from sadness. With the help of pigeons and a few good witches, Chelsea must learn how to tap into and control her power. She must also figure out how to shield herself from the evil witch, who just happens to be her grandmother. This tale of magic and self-discovery is set in a gritty, urban underbelly. The language contains a fair amount of cussing, and the scenes depict a hardscrabble, demoralized existence, yet the protagonist comes across as a naive character who, despite growing up in such tough surroundings, readily accepts the phenomena that begin to occur in her life. Unfortunately, readers may not be as accepting, and the meandering plot will not encourage them to continue with the narrative. This one will have difficulty finding an audience.-Heather E. Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, ALα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

It starts when 13-year-old Sophie Swankowski encounters a mermaid in filthy, polluted Chelsea Creek. Before you know it, Sophie discovers that she can communicate with pigeons and that her chain-smoking, city dump–owning grandmother is an evil witch. What next? Only that Sophie herself is a witch manqué who may save the world—if she can first save herself from her grandmother, whose heart is one of absolute darkness. Don’t expect answers at the book’s end, though, since this is volume one in a projected trilogy. The story is burdened by overwritten passages; the author takes an entire page, for example, to describe the taste and scent of a potion, and to convey the feeling that reading tea leaves gives one the sense that he or she is swimming through a sea of glue. (Hopefully volume 2 will be less viscous.) Still, Sophie is an appealing character, the pigeons are endearing (no flying rats, they!), and Grandma is a villainess to reckon with. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 - 11
  • Series: Chelsea
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's McMullens (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938073363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938073366
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #916,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By SunshineAndRain on July 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved the writing in this book. I loved the imagery. The gritty, real, teen perspective in here is marvelous. Love the relationship between the main character and her overworked, exhausted mom. Loved how magic was intertwined with reality. Loved the talking birds. Alas, the plot unwinds in the second half of the book. The magic moves from lyrical to plain weird (like a neighborhood convenience store transforms? Huh?). The story is about the main character being the "chosen one" but we don't really find out what task she is being chosen for. I know there is a sequel coming, but I wish we learn about her ultimate quest in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura on February 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had no idea this book was going to have a sequel when I started reading it. The author was mentioned on AfterEllen.com as someone to check out, and the premise sounded interesting. I'm so glad I did. The imagery and detail in this book are so captivating, it was so easy to visualize the characters and feel the emotions from them. The story was so interesting, I read it too fast. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, and can't wait to read the next one!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started this today and finished it today, all in one big bite. With an established love for mermaids, I was also delighted to find that the book delves into multiple different pieces of worldwide mythology. It dips its toe into one, and then dives head-first into Polish mythology. As a 3rd-generation Polish-derived person, I was delighted to see my own mythology and dilemma played out. The book doesn't talk down to its intended audience but also reads "up" very well - it's a YA novel enjoyable by adults.

I would have loved to give this 5 stars, and the only thing that keeps me from doing so is that the book has several glaring grammatical/language/spelling errors which show a need for a stronger editorial/beta-read process. Those moments knocked me out of the book and I had to clamber to get back in. However, I look forward to and have already purchased the next installment.
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