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Mermaid Park    by Beth Mayall order for
Mermaid Park
by Beth Mayall
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Amy isn't looking forward to a three day beach vacation with her family. They'll stay at a motel owned by Lynne, her mother's godmother. She and her step-dad Tom bicker constantly. He is a bully, but Amy never misses a chance to stand up to him. Amy's sister's way of coping is to charm him, while her mother is good at ignoring conflict.

The vacation is as miserable as Amy expects it to be, but she loves the beach. She also meets someone at the pool who loves swimming as much as she does. So, Amy jumps at an opportunity to stay with Lynne for the summer and work. Lynne is good natured and easy going. Her only rule is that Amy stay away from the northern part of town. It should've been an easy rule to follow, but Amy sees an advertisement for Mermaid Park and she can't resist finding out more about it. The Mermaid Park underwater shows take place in a thirty foot deep tank and these underwater ballets are the most beautiful thing Amy has ever seen. She wants to be a mermaid. A champion varsity swimmer at school, she is sure she can learn the routines. Amy can't see any reason for Lynne's rule, so she applies for a job at the park.

Amy is a difficult teenager who uses sarcasm and aggressiveness to hide her self doubt. Before summer is over and her deception is discovered, Amy learns things about herself that she never could have imagined. Mermaid Park is a good read. The mystery is not that difficult to solve, but Amy's quest for maturity is well done, with a little summer romance thrown in.

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