No matter what best friends Hailey and Claire do, they can't stop their 12th summer from ending. The Capri Beach Club, where they have always spent their summers, is closing down. No one even goes to the rundown club except them, and Raymond, a senior in college who runs the snack bar. The days grow hotter and hotter, but they don't ever seem to slow down. And that's a scary thought for the girls. They know that when the summer ends, Claire is moving away to Florida, leaving Hailey to fend for herself. Change, the girls decide, is bad. As if growing up wasn't bad enough, facing the future without your best friend is unbearable!
Even a storm doesn't bring relief from the heat. All it does is dump seaweed and jellyfish into the dilapidated Capri Club pool. Then the girls notice something under the muck, something totally magical --- and alive! Meet Aquamarine, a spoiled mermaid with a nasty temper. Suddenly the race against time is even more important: it's up to the girls to return Aquamarine to her home in the sea before it's too late. But Aquamarine is in love, and she won't budge from the pool until her broken heart is mended.
As the girls come to know this unusual creature they like what they see. Aquamarine is beautiful, surrounded by moon jellyfish in the pool. And she shimmers when she's happy. She gives the girls a gift that can help keep all the magic of that summer alive.
This small novel is packed with exquisite magic. Not only in the form of a mermaid, but the magic that only best friends share. The tenderness between Hailey and Claire is very realistic. They are afraid of growing up to be, "just like all those other people who didn't know what it meant to have your best friend living right next door, grown-ups who had no idea of what it was like to have someone understand you so well they could tell what you were thinking before you even spoke aloud." Anyone with a best friend can recognize that fear.
Alice Hoffman's writing is perfectly-paced, and she has created two well-rounded and memorable characters in Hailey and Claire. Her story about finding something wonderful when you least expect it is one that just about everybody can appreciate.
Reviewed by Kate Torpie on April 1, 2001
- Publication Date: April 1, 2001
- Hardcover: 112 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- ISBN-10: 0439098637
- ISBN-13: 9780439098632