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Keeper by Kathi Appelt Illustrated by August Hall

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

Pages: 416

Ages: 8-12

Publishers Summary: To ten-year-old Keeper, this moon is her chance to fix all that has gone wrong…and so much has gone wrong. But she knows who can make things right again: Meggie Marie, her mermaid mother who swam away when Keeper was just three. A blue moon calls the mermaids to gather at the sandbar, and that’s exactly where she is headed — in a small boat, in the middle of the night, with only her dog, BD (Best Dog), and a seagull named Captain.

When the riptide pulls at the boat, tugging her away from the shore and deep into the rough waters of the Gulf of Mexico, panic sets in, and the fairy tales that lured her out there go tumbling into the waves. Maybe the blue moon isn’t magic and maybe the sandbar won’t sparkle with mermaids and maybe — Oh, no…”Maybe” is just too difficult to bear. Kathi Appelt follows up to her New York Times bestseller, The Underneath, with a tale that will pull right at your very core — stronger than moon currents — capturing the crash and echo of the waves and the dark magic of the ocean.


“When you’re young you’ll do just about anything, no matter how dangerous and potentially harmful it could be, especially when it’s in exchange for the love of someone you care for deeply. This is Keeper, she’s a ten year old girl who has managed to single-handedly hurt the only three people she loves in the matter of a couple of hours and now, she’ll do anything to gain their love back. Including risk her life to ask the Queen of the mermaids for a special wish.

“Kathi Appelt is an award winning author with numerous writing credits to her name and yet this book didn’t quite grab me. I loved the idea behind it and though I wasn’t initially drawn to a mermaid story I thought the premise had potential. Unfortunately, in the end it fell a little flat. For a middle grade fiction book I felt the story was tad bit too long, not that a ten year old couldn’t read a 400 page book, but it didn’t progress quickly enough for even me at my age. Quite a few times I felt like the story was being retold, like we were going in circles without ever coming to the point. In some places it also felt a bit disjointed because there were new scenarios thrown in at as late as the mid-way point.

“Some of the more positive things I enjoyed actually had a lot to do with the actual character of Keeper. Appelt did a fantastic job of writing from the vantage point of a ten year old. Keeper was wonderful, likable and I could completely relate to her at her age. The relationships between Keeper and the other main characters was also wonderful and I actually found myself wishing that more of that story was shared.

“Overall, I thought it was a good read. Not one I’m likely pick up again, but I’m glad it exposed me to a new author. I will definitely be looking into some of Appelt’s other books. For mermaid fans it’s definitely worth picking up and seeing a new take on old tales.”

Take a look at the Book Trailer for Keeper by Kathi Appelt (Email & RSS Subscribers may need to click through to the post to view):

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 10 and up. Great for fans of mermaid tales!

For the comments: Mermaids are quickly becoming the “new thing”, are you a fan? What do you think, is it the next great thing or a passing fad?

This book was provided for review by Other Shelf Tours. Thank you!
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12 Responses to Book Review: Keeper by Kathi Appelt

  1. Katy says:

    I haven’t read any of the new mermaid novels, but I do like mermaids as characters. I’ll have to look for this one.

  2. Looks like an interesting read…thanks for sharing!

  3. I just love mermaid tales 🙂

  4. Bluestocking says:

    Yeah, this book didn’t work for me either.

  5. Melissa says:

    Sounds interesting. Luckily I have a few years before my daughter would be interested in this. I’ll keep your thoughts in mind though.

    You have an award at my blog!
    http://myreadingtable.blogspot.com

    Have a great weekend!

    • You are so sweet! I’ll stop by to check it out!

      Yes, I’m not a huge fan of mermaids, and I’m a little happy about the fact that I can hold off on this one with my own kids. It may be good for others, just didn’t strike me.

  6. Oh yah! I remember this now 🙂 Thanks for linking me back to it darling 🙂
    You’re SO awesome and diligent.

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