Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 06/01/2004 Gr 4-6-Seventh-grader Emily Windsnap has never learned to swim, in spite of the fact that she and her mother live on a houseboat. When she finally takes a swimming class at school, her legs turn into a fishtail. She tries to hide her strange affliction, but something draws her to the sparkling surf. Soon, she is secretly gliding through the water as a mermaid. Below the waves, she meets Shona, also 12, who takes her to mermaid school and leads her on several adventures. When Emily learns the intriguing history of the Shiprock community and of illegal marriages between humans and merpeople, she begins to look for her merman father. Danger, humor, confrontation, and even a trial before Neptune all play a part in her search. Eventually, she finds her dad and comes to understand the truth about her oddly controlling neighbor, Mr. Beeston; her mother's dislike of water; and her parents' love affair. All ends well when the family is reunited and swims away to live a new life on a secret merfolk island. This fantasy has some delightful moments, but not enough to keep it afloat. Characters are not fully developed, the plot wavers between complicated and oversimplified, and the transition from merworld to human is not smooth.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2004 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2004 Emily Windsnap lives on a boat but has never learned to swim, and until seventh-grade swim class she has never been totally immersed in a body of water. Once in the water—an event she anticipates with great excitement—her life undergoes a profound (and literal) sea-change: Emily discovers that when she’s immersed in water her legs fuse and become a tail; that while on land she’s a human girl, in the water she becomes a mermaid. Her adventures in the sea and her search for an explanation of her strange gift lead her to her mother’s forgotten secret, her long-lost father, and her mer-heritage, all of which are in danger from Neptune, the controlling king of the sea. The text suffers from too-casual language sprinkled with bits of soon-to-be-dated slang, and the development of the undersea world is shallow. The derivative plot owes much to made-for-television movies and that splashy bit of ’80s cinema, but there is no denying the siren-like allure of mermaid stories for the preadolescent set. Emily is a likable if not particularly original character, and while the unfolding of events is utterly predictable, the action does move fairly quickly to a happily-ever-after conclusion. Gibb’s spot art has a fluid delicacy that adds much to the watery ambience. - Copyright 2004 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

Booklist - 05/01/2004 This first novel opens with a classic teaser: Can you keep a secret? It turns out that the secret is a particularly juicy one. Though outwardly a normal seventh-grader, Emily Windsnap transforms into a mermaid when she goes swimming. The phenomenon worries her but thrills her, too, especially when she discovers an underwater mer-city not far from where she lives, and begins to learn the answers to nagging questions about her origins: Why did her father abandon her when she was a baby? Why can't her mother remember details about her husband? After a new mermaid friend mentions illegal marriages between mer-people and humans, readers will guess where things are headed--long before Emily herself does. Emily's eventual reunion with her merman father seems overly reliant on luck and coincidence, but her determination keeps things cruising along, and the premise of someone slipping easily into a shimmery underwater world has considerable allure. Light, imagination-tickling fare ideal for middle-grade girls, with charming ink-wash illustrations scattered throughout. - Copyright 2004 Booklist.

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