The Girl with the Mermaid Hair
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The Girl with the Mermaid Hair

4.1 6
by Delia Ephron

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Click. Sukie Jamieson takes a selfie after her tennis lesson. Click. She takes one before she has to give a presentation in class. Click. She takes one to be sure there's nothing in her teeth after eating pizza at Clementi's. And if she can't take a selfie, she checks her reflection in windows, spoons, car chrome—anything available,


Click. Sukie Jamieson takes a selfie after her tennis lesson. Click. She takes one before she has to give a presentation in class. Click. She takes one to be sure there's nothing in her teeth after eating pizza at Clementi's. And if she can't take a selfie, she checks her reflection in windows, spoons, car chrome—anything available, really. So when her mother gives her an exquisite full-length mirror that once belonged to her grandmother, Sukie is thrilled. So thrilled that she doesn't listen to her mother's warning: “This mirror will be your best friend and worst enemy.” Because mirrors, as Sukie discovers, show not only the faraway truth but the truth close up. And finding out that close-up truth changes people. Often forever.

Acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Delia Ephron crafts a powerful novel of truth, beauty, and the secrets about family and friends that lie beneath perfection.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Deborah L. Dubois
Fifteen-year-old Sukie is obsessed with beauty and perfection. She checks herself out in any reflective surface she comes across, and when she cannot do that, she takes a selfie—a photo of herself with her cell phone. She is thrilled when her mother gives her a full-length mirror that belonged to her grandmother. Soon her life in the mirror is more real to her than reality. Sukie is a lonely girl whose self-absorbed mother just got a facelift and whose father is cheating on her mother. Sukie holds impossibly high expectations of herself. As her life falls apart, the mirror "splinters into a patchwork of cracks." When Sukie reconnects with old friends Frannie and Jenna, she finds that real life is better than the life in the mirror. Sukie is not very likeable at first, but as more of her character is revealed, the reader begins to care. Many teens will relate to Sukie's preoccupation with her looks and what others think of her. Those willing to continue past the first few chapters will be rewarded with a story about truth, self-image, relationships, and the power of friendship. Fans of Frannie in Pieces (Laura Geringer Books/HarperCollins, 2007/VOYA October 2007) will appreciate the return of Frannie, Jenna, and their other friends as secondary characters Reviewer: Deborah L. Dubois
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Narcissistic, naive, beautiful, and rich, 15-year-old suburbanite Sukie learns that being real is preferable to being perfect when a series of messy truths (primarily discovering her father's affair) challenge her illusions. The central point of the novel—the teen's vanity—is exhaustingly revisited between minor forays into plot-furthering events; probably three quarters of the book's pages are devoted to the protagonist evaluating her pose, stride, clothes, hair, make-up, voice-modulation, etc. Readers may disagree as to whether this makes Sukie significantly realistic and empathetic or simply an over-the-top vehicle for Ephron's message. The only two supporting characters given more than cursory outlines are Sukie's parents, who are also shallow, blithe, and self-obsessed. There is also some half-baked hocus pocus with an image-morphing mirror and an omniscient dog. This title will hit home with some girls and preach others to sleep. Strictly an additional purchase.—Rhona Campbell, Washington, DC Public Library
Publishers Weekly
Sukie Jamieson, the vain yet glaringly insecure teenage protagonist of Ephron's (Frannie in Pieces) second YA novel, has a lot on her mind. Is her hair—“worthy of worship”—in its proper place? Does the slope of her nose accentuate or detract from her almost-perfect profile? Will star quarterback Bobo, who tells her, “I really like your body-fat ratio,” ever ask her out? Matters get only slightly less trivial when her faux-glam mother returns from an extended stay at the spa with a facelift (but even less self-esteem), and her father gets beat up by an unknown man. Ephron keeps the reason for the assault under wraps for quite a while, and the gravity of Sukie's parents' collapsing marriage is overshadowed by Sukie's complaints about her image and want of friends, and her mother's plastic surgery woes. The parallels to the descent of a certain Oscar Wilde character are obvious, and teens who use this book like Sukie uses her grandmother's antique full-length mirror, which cracks and erodes over the course of the novel, may be similarly conflicted about what they see. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
Ephron pokes fun at the notion that the rich and handsome lead perfect, happy lives. Beautiful 15-year-old Sukie (Susannah Danielle Jamieson) is in love with her image. She constantly admires herself in any reflective surface, and when nothing is available, she snaps a "selfie" with her cell phone. The possibility that she might be unoriginal and uncreative nags at her. When Sukie is given her grandmother's full-length mirror, she spends more time in front of it fantasizing about life than experiencing it. Sukie's family is so dysfunctional they seek advice from their dog. The author adeptly creates atmosphere without scrimping on plot and humorously explores the effects of narcissism and parental infidelity on families and a teen's self-esteem. Fans of Frannie in Pieces (2007) will enjoy the inclusion of characters Frannie and Jenna, who save Sukie from despair. Utilizing Frannie's artistic flair, the trio takes the now cracked mirror and uses it to create art. Having begun deliberately, the story moves quickly to its satisfying conclusion. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
HL800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Delia Ephron is a critically acclaimed novelist and screenwriter. Her most recent book, Frannie in Pieces, received four starred reviews, was a Book Sense Pick, and was named to the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list. She is also the author of Big City Eyes, Hanging Up, and How to Eat Like a Child. Her screenwriting credits include The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, You've Got Mail, Bewitched, Hanging Up, and Michael. She lives in New York City with her husband and their dog, Honey Pansy Cornflower Bernice Mambo Kass.

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Girl with the Mermaid Hair 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Sukie Jamieson is obsessed with her looks - and with herself. At every opportunity she gets, she looks at herself in a spoon, or takes a "selfie" with her cell phone, all to make sure she looks her best. When her mother gives her a gorgeous antique mirror that used to belong to her grandmother, Sukie is ecstatic. She is so ecstatic that she forgets to adhere to her mother's warning: "The mirror will be your best friend, but also your worst enemy." As Sukie's year progresses, she learns that the mirror shows not only who you are up close, but also who you are on the inside. With these revelations, she sets off into the best and worst moments of her life, dealing with everything from family problems, to friendship dilemmas, but most of all, with who she really is as a person. To be honest, I was not a fan of this book for the first half of the story. I felt that Sukie was really whiny and fake, caring too much about herself and not enough about those around her. Everything was really disconnected and confusing, but as soon as I hit the halfway mark the story got so much better. Sukie started to become aware of her surroundings and started turning into a real person. She even got my sympathy as she dealt with situations that anyone would find tough. While the second half of THE GIRL WITH THE MERMAID HAIR was definitely the better half, the ending really sealed the deal for me that this was actually a good book. There was tons of emotion and it was great to see things fall into place. The crazy characters became a little less crazy, and you finally got to see the amount Sukie had grown throughout the story. One thing I definitely have to give kudos to the author for is the characterization of Sukie's mom. Her mother was such a mean person that by the end of the book I really had an extreme dislike for her. For me, the fact that the author was able to make me feel this infuriated with a character is really neat, as it means she made her real. In the end, this was a good story of friendship, loneliness, and finding the true beauty in yourself that is sometimes very hard to find.
writer6000 More than 1 year ago
This book did not live up to my expectations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Casey88 More than 1 year ago
I'm not really sure where to begin with this review. The Girl with the Mermaid Hair was an...interesting read - much different than they type of books I normally would read. To me, it was okay. I didn't hate it, but I didn't fully enjoy it either. I found myself getting quite annoyed with Sookie's character and even her mother's too. Sookie is the kind of person who is extremely obsessed with the way she looks. Constantly taking pictures of herself, or even looking at herself with anything that will show her reflection. If one hair on her head was out of place, she would freak. I also think that Sookie's mother is the majority of the reason Sookie is the way she is - everything had to be perfect, so of course Sookie picked up the same attitude. I would think it's unhealthy to live life having everything extremely perfect. Overall, this was a decent novel, but not one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love mermaids but im not sure if i should get this book. Alot of u or TeensReadTo said that the begining is boring. I sont know about you guys but if the book is boring in the first i get mad with it and stop reading. So i do not know if i should get the book! So any advice?!?!?!?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How many pages are in the book so i can tell my mom so i can get the book