Alice Hoffman is the highly acclaimed author of over twenty novels for readers of all ages, including Illumination Night, Seventh Heaven, Practical Magic, Here on Earth, The Foretelling, Incantation, and, most recently, The Story Sisters and The Red Garden. Her previous novels for Scholastic Press are Aquamarine, which was made into a major motion picture, Indigo, and Green Angel, which Publishers Weekly, in a boxed, starred review, called "achingly lovely." She lives with her family outside of Boston. Visit her at www.alicehoffman.com.
Teens enjoy many of Hoffman's adult novels, which often focus on young women. Her first book for middle-graders is about 12-year-old girls, Hailey and Claire, who have been neighbors and best friends forever. They don't want anything to change, but as the searing summer draws to a close, Claire has to move to Florida, and the bulldozers are closing in on the girls' beloved hangout near the ocean. Then they find a beautiful mermaid, Aquamarine, huddled in the beach pool. They send her home to her ocean sisters, but first they help her find love and adventure with the handsome guy who works in the snack bar. Of course, in helping the stranger, the girls transform themselves and face the changes in their lives. What's great here is Aquamarine. She's is no romantic forsaken damsel: she's a rude, rebellious teenager, as needy as those who help her. In this small, spacious book, Hoffman's spare words reveal the magic and the gritty realism in daily life, "somewhere between laughter and a wave breaking." Hazel Rochman, Booklist Despite the girls' fear of change, everything shifts with a summer storm. At the beach club the next morning, Hailey and Claire find that the storm has left its mark, filling the cloudy waters of the swimming pool with jellyfish and seaweed. Hailey boldly dives in and discovers that the waves have also brought a delicate blue and white mermaid who is extremely grouchy at her predicament. The girls scheme to return the fish-woman to the sea, but she obstinately refuses to leave the vicinity of Raymond, the handsome boy who runs the gift shop. Alarmed at the mermaid's growing weakness, Hailey and Claire extract her promise to go back to the sea in exchange for one evening with Raymond. They set up a blind date, dress her in a long blue dress to hide her tail, and take her to the rendezvous in a wheelchair. But the next morning the dying mermaid is in love, and the patio is full of partygoers. Can the girls sneak her past all those eyes to savea