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Mermaid Park

Beth Mayall? It should be BEST Mayall!!

Mermaid Park tells the story of Amy, a 16-year-old girl from Philadelphia who visits the Jersey shore with her family on a summer trip and decides to stay for the season and work at Mermaid Park, a local fantasy attraction where young women in mermaid gear put on an underwater show. Like Baby in Dirty Dancing, Amy grows up on vacation, and learns a few things about herself and about life. Clearly targeted at readers in Amy's demographic, Mermaid Park is nonetheless a delightful read for all ages.

The book is an engaging and fast-paced read, filled with vivid details about Amy's life, her thoughts, her family, and the town of Wildwood, where she spends her summer. While no young girl's summer at the beach would be complete without romance, Amy's story doesn't center around her encounters with boys – which makes for a more fulfilling read (and a positive message for girls who might be reading the book). Amy's true love is Mermaid Park, and author Beth Mayall does a spectacular job of infecting the reader with the same fascination Amy has for her newfound sanctuary. The park is a major character in the book, and its wonder and mystique kept me churning through the pages of the first half, always wanting to get back to Mermaid Park and discover what else it had in store for Amy.

I don't read a lot of books in the young adult genre these days, but from what I remember, Mayall really separates herself from the pack by filling Mermaid Park with real people. It's not a dreamy, bubble gum story about laying out in the sun and chatting with girlfriends – Amy struggles with real problems, and every character in the book, from starring roles to featured players to extras, comes from someplace real. Part of what Amy learns over the summer is that life is not a fantasy – that she and others have flaws, and life is about embracing those flaws rather than eradicating them.

Most of all, Amy is a genuinely engaging character, and the pages turned easily because I couldn't wait to see what would happen to her next, and how she'd react. So much about Mermaid Park is not what it seems, and the story's twists and new directions kept opening up more curiosity – propelling me deeper into the story. As hard as it was for me to put Mermaid Park down, I'm sure anyone in its target age group will positively love it.

26 Comments (Add your comments)

"Heather"Mon, 2/5/07 5:45pm

I recently read this book for a school assignment. It was a capavating read. However I thought there would be some real mermaids the way decribed in the blurb. LOL. I'd give it 4 stars.

"heidi"Sun, 8/12/07 12:52pm

this is my favourite bookit just finished eading iit last night and im dying to find another book by the same author

"Shelby"Fri, 11/9/07 10:56am

This book was a really good find! I really liked reading about the summer romance because it's something that i would like to happen to me! i just got done reading it! I loved it but I wish she didn't blow dylan off! They had a good love going

"Mareayna"Sun, 11/11/07 11:57pm

I finished reading this story and it has a great plot I've decided to do my book project on it because its so wonderful!

"haley"Thu, 1/3/08 11:48am

I read this book just for fun but what i didn't know is how involved you get and how at some times it feels like the book is talking about you. The book is such a page turnner. I would give this book ten stars.

"michelle"Fri, 1/25/08 1:42pm

I recently read this book when i stumbled upon it at our local library. I finished the book in 1 night. It only took me a few hours and i couldnt put it down. This book describes anyone who wanta a summer romance and i highly recomend it. 5 stars.

"Amanda"Sat, 4/5/08 10:45pm

I like reading a lot and for a long time everyone asked me what my favorite book was. I didn't know the answer to that until I stumbled upon Mermaid Park in Borders'. It's an amazing book and I reccomend it to any girl who has high expectations. I can relate a lot to this book.

"Anna"Thu, 7/24/08 11:21pm

hey guys im gonna read mermaid park is it really good and what genre is it

"Venus"Mon, 8/18/08 12:41pm


Anonymous CowardThu, 4/30/09 8:51pm

a moviee would be soo good....but i relate to amy alot in this book its crazy i didnt know how much i could,i dont read alot of books but this has been my favorite out of all of the ones i have i dont want this book to end!!!!:(

"krystle"Mon, 6/22/09 6:35pm

iloved this book!!!! it was great. i also hope to find another book by beth mayall also im hoping there is at least a type of movie somewhat related to this book.... i think amyis awesome ... i recomend alot of people to red this book

"Tori"Sun, 7/12/09 11:01am

i totally loved this book! unfortunately, i could only keep it for a little while cause i got it from the library. but i'm looking forward to buying i and rereading it over and over again. p.s.–i agree with krystle, i would recommend this book to people to read.

"Jen"Wed, 9/9/09 9:24pm

Love that book!! Amy's persona kinda reminded me of, myself lol Awesome book!!

"ashes"Fri, 9/11/09 8:09pm

i jsut finsished the book today. and i really liked it. when i first started reading it i did not want to put it down. its a really good book. but it be catch me by suprize when i read it though. lol

"Kathryn..."Thu, 2/4/10 11:16am

i read this book and i absolutely loved it!!!! lol well i read it on a trip to florida and it totally fit in to the mood of my trip!!! i hate how my family acts around me sometimes and i would love to stay in wild Woods with my aunt too with some cute guy... and a job as a beautiful mermaid to entertain little kids

"Rachel"Mon, 11/1/10 4:45pm

I really loved this book, i love the way amy was able to get away from her family, that would be my dream, and the magic of the actual park(weeki wachee)! I really want another book like it... Beth Mayall please write a sequeal!

Anonymous CowardThu, 1/13/11 5:01pm

I like it already, and I'm only on the 40th page

"Leeann"Fri, 2/25/11 8:07pm

I really like it all

"Qunanda"Fri, 4/29/11 3:26pm

When I read this book in seventh grade I fell in love with it!

"Tessa"Fri, 6/10/11 1:01am

i loved this book so much!!!!! i am a swimmer and i could really connect!! they should make a movie, PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous CowardFri, 6/10/11 1:01am

sequel would be amazing

Anonymous CowardSat, 9/17/11 7:15pm


Anonymous CowardSat, 9/17/11 7:15pm

Is their a movie 4 this book?

"Keilah"Thu, 11/3/11 2:32pm

I loved this book!

"Amy"Wed, 2/29/12 12:12am

Hey, I am a mermaid.... I'm not kidding! I'm going to get this book! I want a Mermaid movie... NOW!!!!

"Sandra"Mon, 12/17/12 2:06pm

I absolutely adored this book. I really resonated with Amy's need to break free from her neglectful, almost abusive family who blames her for the anger they purposefully invoke in her. I had the exact same experience. I'm so happy I own this book. :]

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