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Mermaid Park Hardcover – July 7, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10–Amy is not looking forward to a three-day vacation with her family at the Jersey shore, visiting her mother's godmother, Lynne, who owns a motel. The last thing the 16-year-old wants is be stuck with her mother, with whom she has been fighting; her difficult stepfather, who picks on her; her pretty younger sister; and her sister's friend. But when they arrive, she instantly connects with Dylan, a local boy who does odd jobs for Lynne, and discovers Mermaid Park, an underwater spectacular that features teenage girls in mermaid costumes. Amy then stays for the rest of the summer without her family and vows to become one of those swimmers. Mayall realistically portrays a conflicted teen who thinks that the world is out to get her. Readers will identify with her struggle to find herself, relate to others, and get over her fears in the 36-foot-deep tank. The other characters, including a beautiful friend, a grumpy boss, and a jilted boy, are believable as well. The interactions between Amy and her mother are painfully realistic, which makes the surprise ending concerning the girl's parentage even more meaningful. This is a good read that deals with real growing-up issues.–Carly B. Wiskoff, Great Neck Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-11. Fed up with her bullying stepfather and her own anger, 16-year-old Amy has miraculously received permission to spend the summer with a family friend, Lynne, who owns a seaside motel on the Jersey shore. Searching for work, she finds herself powerfully drawn to Mermaid Park, a fading tourist attraction with an underwater show. She talks her way into a cleaning job, and she imagines joining the girls costumed as mermaids, who perform underwater for the park audience. As the summer passes, she realizes her dream, meets a guy, and unravels astonishing secrets about her family. A few of the peripheral characters feel a bit like caricatures, particularly Amy's harassing stepfather. But Mayall deepens what could have been a routine novel with an evocative setting, magic, and authentically drawn Amy, who narrates in easy, compelling prose. Teens will easily connect with the story about young people learning who they are and how to grow past the faults they find in themselves and others. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (July 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595140298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595140296
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,599,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The book just took me right back in time.
J. Molnar
Despite this, this book is a good read and I would recommend it!
Less
And she suddenly doesn't like him anymore.
Amanda Deaton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Molnar on August 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my teenage neice and decided to read it myself before giving it to her. I found it well written and fun reading. Any teenager will find themselves somewhere in this book. It expresses very well the range of teenage emotions and feelings. Although I am far from being a teenager I had to read it since I spent five summers working at the seashore as a teenager. The book just took me right back in time. It's not only a good summer read but I could just see someone cuddled up in a comfortable chair on a cold day reliving their summer experiences. It's really a very delightful book. I'll be giving it to the teens in my life for Birthdays and Christmas. I hope Beth Mayall decides to write some more. She has talent.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Fan on December 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
At first I was concerned about the geographical inconsistencies stated by another reviewer. Wildwood's bridge is actually a four-lane affair instead of two? The veracity of every book on my shelf was called into question. Can anything be real? Does this mean there's no Narnia? No Swiss Family Robinson? No -- gulp -- Winnie the Pooh?

Then I realized it's just a novel - this kind of gaffe would be notable in a AAA guide, but in a fiction story? Please.

"Mermaid Park" is a fast and pleasant read, full of fun characters and delightful twists. The lead character, Amy, is an excellent model for girls her age, struggling with romance, family issues, and her sense of self - and learning along the way that she's not perfect. Her time with the mermaids goes from fantasy to reality and back again, providing a fun journey for the reader while it propels the story forward. Girls in their tween to teen years will enjoy Amy's story and learn some valuable lessons. Readers of all ages will have a fun time visiting Mermaid Park.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MIsaac80 on August 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book. It was an easy read, but the characters were well developed. Beth really captured the pain and delight of adolescence. Amy, the main character, tries to deal with growing up in a house a dysfunctional family. Most of her troubles center around her verbally abusive stepfather. A trip to the beach allows her to gain some personal space and discover herself without the roadblocks she faces at home. On this road to self discovery, she finds more than she bargained for.

I hope there is a sequel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By andruinthatline on July 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Mermaid Park has it all. It's got summer romance, mystery, great characters. Everything rings true, especially the excitement of having your first real job and your first real boyfriend.

Buy it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Warning!! This is going to be one of the best books you are going to read. The book is Mermaid Park. The author of this book is Beth Mayall. This book has a bit of adventure and a bit of romance in it. Most of all I think it has a mystery behind this entire book.

The main character in this story is Amy Rush. The thing is that Amy is tired of always being the outsider in her family. She is tired of the distance between her sister, Mel. Nothing in sixteen-year old Amy holds the promise of anything but disappointment until a nightmare weekend at the New Jersey shore with her mother, sister and Tom, her stepfather, and tom leads to a discovery that will change her life. She never really liked her stepfather Tom.

When she was in New Jersey shore she first lays eyes on Mermaid Park. She felt like she stepped into a living, breathing fantasy. Girls dressed in fabulous costumes put on underwater shows. Amy becomes convinced that she could be one of the "mermaids." Over the summer she discovers that reality and fantasy is murkier than it seems.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Z. Crosby on August 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Mermaid Park was such a fun read. I can't wait to read more by Beth Mayall. The author made me root for the main character and made me feel like I wasnt the only one with teen insecurities re: boys and family. And what plot twists?! You definitely want to read Mermaid Park.
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By Amanda Deaton on September 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Spoilers are in my review, you have been warned!!!

After reading all the reviews, I had big hopes for this book. I couldn't find it in any of the stores so I had to order it online. For the record I'm 29 years old and I find that I enjoy teenage books alot more than adult books.

I have a few unanswered questions:

1) Who was the mermaid she saw so late at night?
2) Why was Lynn so against her going to the North side and hiding Mermaid Park from her? You'd think that she'd certainly tell her about the towns greatest attraction. So that lead me to believe that Lynn NEW about Skip.

The book started off great, build up of characters, our girl is the classic spoiled teenager that is used to getting her way. She also has to deal with a stepdad that has no respect for her, thus she has no respect for him. I believe that if a parent or an adult wants respect from their child, they are to respect them in return. I don't think it's fair that your parent can sit there and cuss and yell at you all day long and all you can do is take it. They TEACH us to act this way... sorry getting off topic, I grew up with a strict stepmother and an abusive dad. Moving on. The build up of Dylan and her relationship was great, it reached the climax and just... dropped. I don't mean fell down slowly, it DROPPED. One min she was so into this guy, build up, build up, I do mean ALOT of build up, and BOOM, she gets him to kiss her and the very next day she goes "oh wow.. his ears are to big". And she suddenly doesn't like him anymore. Her obsession with becoming an actor in the Mermaid act was exhausting.

I found the scene where she fell threw the window, or pushed through it with her hand, a little had to believe.

I find.. the secret...
Read more ›
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