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Aquamarine Hardcover – April 1, 2001

3.8 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Hardcover, April 1, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

Hoffman's (Fireflies; The River King) novel for children focuses on two best friends who share a mysterious secret. The summer that Hailey and Claire are both 12 is bittersweet; come September, Claire will move to Florida with her grandparents. But in the meantime, the girls spend their days at their favorite hangout, the Capri Beach Club, which is slated for demolition and all but deserted, save for Raymond, the college-bound bookworm who runs the snack shop. After a violent storm, the girls discover a mermaid at the bottom of the pool. As the days pass, Aquamarine's health wanes on account of the chlorinated water, and the girls orchestrate a Cinderella-esque romantic evening between Aquamarine and Raymond on the condition that the mermaid return to the sea after that night, to heal. Hoffman creates an apt metaphor for that twilight time between childhood and adolescence when magic still seems possible and friendships run deep and true. Although her characters are sketched well, they are not fully realized; and while the language is lyrical (Aquamarine is "beautiful as a pearl" with a voice "as cool and fresh as bubbles rising from the ocean"), the narrative itself spins out in a coolly elegant, detached voice that evokes an adult's ("Maybe... they'd grow up and be just like all those other people who didn't know what it meant to have your best friend living right next door") and muffles much of the story's energy and potential. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Lexile Measure: 940L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439098637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439098632
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,783,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on November 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am a fifth grade student at Waldron Mercy Academy (A.N.C.-L.). This book was a real page-turner. It had a mix of suspense, happiness, and sea creatures. On a hot day at the Capri Beach Club, Hailey and Claire are spending time together. The girls are sad because Claire is moving to Florida at the end of the month. Soon, the Capri will be knocked down. The day after a storm Hailey and Claire visit the pool. They are not allowed in, (Claire is scared of swimming) but they go anyway! In the pool, they find a rude sixteen year old mermaid. She is lost and in love. Claire sews her a beautiful dress (Claire likes sewing), and Hailey sets up a date for her. After the date she starts drying out and dying. Will Hailey and Claire get her to the ocean before she dies? Read the rest of the book to find out. This book was so good that my mommy called me for dinner at 5:00p.m. and I didn't go down until 5:30p.m. This book really deserves a five star rating.
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Format: Hardcover
A book about two best friends about to be separated by miles and time is a definite catch for me to read. And it's an unforgettable read. When the two girls discovered a mermaid at the bottom of a pool, the girls (Claire and Hailey) did everything they could to help Aquamarine meet her true love, a boy named Ray.
It is a whimiscal & delightful read. It's a wonderful little book to add to everyone's library. Hoffman turns an old legend into modern day prose ~~ but the reader will fall in love with the characters and the siren song of the mermaid.
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Format: Hardcover
A sweet little coming-of-age novel (check that, NOVELETTE), is a nice read and good diversion, by the author of Oprah Book Club "Here on Earth" (though I doubt anyone reading this book will care diddly). Though a bit too short and a bit too shallow, it's sweet.
Twelve-year-old neighbors Hailey and Claire have been best buddies all their lives, but this summer is the last they will be able to hang out together. Claire will be moving to Florida, and this hangs a pall over their fun. A nearby club will also shut down at the end of summer, a place that they know and enjoy.
But what happens when a mermaid is washed ashore? Aquamarine is not your typical Little Mermaid type, being both cranky and lovelorn. Despite the fact that land-based life will destroy her, Aquamarine falls in love with a local boy (I didn't see his charm, personally). Hailey and Claire manage to smuggle her about in a wheelchair -- but how can they help her survive, if she doesn't want to go back?
It's a nice little book, with excellent descriptions of the local areas. Unfortunately, Aquamarine was the only truly interesting character, as Hailey and Claire are typical book-kids who could be lifted from any other book. Their bright spot is the separation anxiety, which is often reserved mainly for parents. But things simply happen, with little insight into the characters' thoughts.
I also found the shortness of this novel distracting -- there are a fair number of pages, but there are very few lines per page, and the omniscient voice of the narrator destroys some opportunities to initiate more character development (telling us stuff about Aquamarine's background rather than having HER tell Claire and Hailey and US).
I advise younger kids to read this book, but middle grade and older readers will find themselves severely frustrated.
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Format: Hardcover
I think this book was really a good book, but it's for people who aren't as strong readers, or younger readers. I received it as a gift for my birthday. On a scale from 1-10 I'd give it an 8. I had my little brother (age 8) read it for his book report (he'll read anything he can get his hands on) and he rated it a 9. This is what he wrote for his plot:
It all started when Hailey found out that Claire was moving. They only had a few more weeks to spend at the Capri Beach Club because that was being torn down also. One day there was a horrid storm and the pool got all yucky and mucky. Hailey jumped into the pool and saw a mermaid. They came up with a plan to talk to the mermaid. Claire found out that the mermaid had swam away to be independent and "stuff." The mermaid was rude, but eventually they became friends. They found out the mermaid's name was Aquamarine. Aquamarine fell in love with Raymond and wanted to go out with him. She wouldn't leave until she did. Hailey read in a book that if mermaids spend more than three days out of salt water they would shrivel up and turn into a pile of green dust. So Hailey and Claire have to try and convince Aquamarine to go back to the ocean. They end up putting Aquamarine in a wheelchair and having her and Raymond go out on a date. When the date is over she is pale and she is starting to turn into dust. They rush her to the ocean where Raymond sees her and finds out the truth-that she is a mermaid. He still loves her though. Claire moves to Florida and one day sees Raymond and Aquamarine swimming in the ocean together. While that is going on, Claire is watching the Capri Beach Club being torn down and replaced by a hotel. They learn to make new friends and face their fears and grow.
It leaves out a few things but it is pretty accurate. It's a good late night read. Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
This book is great. Even my 4 year old sister liked it. I'm in 2nd grade and it is so easy to read! It keeps you interested throughout the whole book. You want to read it in one day!
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