Review: Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman


Title: Aquamarine

Author: Alice Hoffman

Publisher: Scholastic

ISBN: 978-0439098649


May Contain Spoilers

This was another library find, and let me say, it was a treasure.  I don’t even know what attracted me to the book enough to pick it up, because at first glance, the cover is kind of plain (I have the older printing, not the one pictured above).  Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be mysterious and intriguing, the murky green hiding the faint shape of a mermaid.  Yeah!  Mermaids!  I’m so there!

Aquamarine is the poignant story of two girls, best friends, who are dreading the end of summer.  Hilary and Claire have been friends forever, but at the end of the summer, Claire is moving to Florida with her grandparents.  While both girls wish time would stop so they can stay together, the summer moves forward, the heat and humidity as stifling as their fears of the future.  After a terrible storm, they make the most amazing discovery; the raging winds and waters have stranded a mermaid in the crumbling pool at the Capri, the beach club where they have spent every summer for as long as they can remember.

The Capri’s days, like the girls’ time together, are numbered.  Neglected and falling into ruin, Hailey and Claire are the only customers the club has had all summer.  With only Raymond, the sole employee at the Capri, the season slowly spins to an end.  The buildings and pool will be bulldozed at the end of the summer, and like their friendship, the girls don’t want the club to become only a memory.  As one day stretches into the next, they try to stave off the end of everything that they know, and the comfort and security that come with them. 

When Aquamarine enters their lives, they are at first flabbergasted.  How can a mermaid be real?  Then, as she rudely tells them what she thinks of them, they are even more amazed.  The wonderful, beautiful being sharing their decrepit pool doesn’t have a sweet personality to match her looks.  Instead, Aquamarine is spoiled and used to getting her way.  When she falls in love with Raymond, she thinks she’ll get him too, even though lingering so far from the ocean will quickly cause her to turn to dust.  Will Hilary and Claire make her listen to reason in time to save her life?

I loved the tone of the book.  Starting with a pall of doom, the girls cling to their routine, stubbornly refusing to accept that change is coming. But when change does come, it is magical and empowering, and it does two wonderful things; it makes them both stronger, and it brings them even closer together. 

Grade: A-

Review copy obtained from library

4 thoughts on “Review: Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman

  • August 23, 2010 at 6:41 am

    I’ve read Alice Hoffman Practical Magic and was quite astonished by the story. I think this one will be a great read indeed too. Great review!

  • August 23, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I’ve actually never read this book. Up until recently, I have actually avoided mermaid stories … but, some newer reads have changed my mind. This one sounds like it’d definitely be worth the read. Thanks for the review!

  • August 23, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I love Alice Hoffman, and i really enjoyed the movie, maybe its time i read it! 🙂

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