Hoffman, Alice. Aquamarine. Scholastic, 2001. 105 pages. Tr. $5.99, ISBN 978-0-439-09864-9; PLB $12.41, ISBN 978-1-41552-455-8
TL;DR: Do I recommend this? Yes.
Part of a series? No.
Claire and Hailey (a timid girl and her fearless best friend) are drawing out summer as long as they can, for at the end of the month, their favorite summer spot will be closing forever, and Claire will be moving away to Florida. They are afraid of what the future holds and sad about the upcoming changes. What does it mean when, in the last week of the Capri’s last season, a mermaid is washed into the swimming pool? Will Aquamarine get to meet the human teen who works at the Capri snack bar? Will Claire and Hailey help her?
Critical Evaluation/Reader’s Comments:
This is a very short book, but it had a sweet story. This is a great pick for the reluctant reader as there’s plenty of white space on the page. One downside (also noted in Publishers Weekly) is that this book is so short that we are left with some questions (What? Mermaids? Who else is out there? What’s Aquamarine up to usually? What are the “rules” of being a mermaid?) that it could leave a reader used to the depth of other fantasy books (i.e., Land of Stories) wishing for more and feeling like they haven’t had much of a read. Readers who are looking for a nice short read, however, will enjoy this book about friendship and the magic of belief.
Curriculum Ties/Library Use:
This novel has a movie adaptation which may sweeten the reading deal; we could read the book as a group (or alone!), and I can recommend the film version to students looking to get to know Claire and Hailey a bit more. (Idea from myself)
Grade Level: 5-8
Awards and Starred Reviews:
Anonymous (screen name). (n. d.). Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman (Review of the book Aquamarine). Teen Ink. Retrieved from http://www.teenink.com/reviews/book_reviews/article/763617/Aquamarine-by-Alice-Hoffman/
Kirkus Reviews. (2001, Feb. 15). Aquamarine (Review of the book Aquamarine). Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/alice-hoffman/aquamarine-2/
Publishers Weekly. (2001, Feb. 19). Aquamarine (Review of the book Aquamarine). Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-439-09863-2