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Three friends in search of a place to belong find that home is truly where the heart is in this new tale of enchantment from best-selling master storyteller Alice Hoffman.

13 year-old Martha Glimmer is convinced this is the worst time of her life. Her mother died, she grew 7 inches, and she has to put up with a woman who plys Martha's lonely father with food and opinions about how 13 year-old girls should behave. Martha longs to leave Oak Grove and travel. Martha's best friend ...

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Three friends in search of a place to belong find that home is truly where the heart is in this new tale of enchantment from best-selling master storyteller Alice Hoffman.

13 year-old Martha Glimmer is convinced this is the worst time of her life. Her mother died, she grew 7 inches, and she has to put up with a woman who plys Martha's lonely father with food and opinions about how 13 year-old girls should behave. Martha longs to leave Oak Grove and travel. Martha's best friend Trevor and his brother Eli also want to leave Oak Grove. Nicknamed Trout and Eel because of the thin webbing between their fingers and toes, they long to see the ocean. Together, Martha, Trout, and Eel are going to find the true meaning of home -- in very unexpected places.

When her mother dies, Martha is so unhappy living in the dried-up town of Oak Grove, that she convinces two unusual brothers who long to return to the ocean to run away with her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Three teenagers run away from a town where a flood years ago has made the people so fearful of water that the local swimming pool stays drained. "An accomplished storyteller, Hoffman deftly interweaves themes of friendship, identity and the tension between family ties and freedom that adolescence inevitably brings," PW said. Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Indigo was less a book than a short story. Because of its length, there wasn't time to fully develop the characters and events. Some things seemed as though they were thrown in at the last minute, such as the rings from Trout and Eel's mother, who turned out to be a mermaid. (Surprise!) Still, the book was entertaining. It tells a story of finding yourself, but it tells it to a twelve-year-old audience. I'd recommend this book, but only to younger teens. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Scholastic, 96p,
— Deana Rutherford, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature
For thirteen-year-old Martha Glimmer, Oak Grove is NOT the place to live. Away from the ocean and receiving little rain each year, the small community is probably the least desirable place, in Martha's view. In fact, for Martha, Oak Grove has little to offer at all. Having lost her mother at twelve, Martha feels that she doesn't fit with the people here, unless it is with her good friends, Trevor and Eli McGill, the adopted sons of Charlie and Kate McGill. There is something strange about the boys—their webbed feet and hands and their fixation with water—have caused the townspeople to shun them and talk behind their backs, but to Martha they are just simply her friends. When the rains and flood come, however, it is Trevor and Eli who become the heroes. In this hauntingly quiet novella, Hoffman creates characters with feeling and depth that go beyond what is seen by the eye. Young adult readers will be drawn to the story and will follow the Martha and the McGills in their quest for love and acceptance.
Hoffman follows up her first novella for YAs, Aquamarine, with another short and water-related fantasy tale. Martha, age 13, lives in Oak Grove, where the memory of a terrible flood makes everyone fear anything watery—everyone but Martha's best friends, brothers Trevor and Eli, who are nicknamed Trout and Eel for the webbing between their fingers and toes. They dream of the sea, but their adoptive parents fear they will lose them if they ever return to Ocean City, where they rescued the boys. Meanwhile, Martha's father is still grieving his wife's death, and a neighbor named Hildy Swoon, whom Martha detests, is trying to move into her father's life. The three children plan to run away to Ocean City, but just as they are leaving town a storm comes up, with drenching rain that creates another fearful flood. Trout and Eel, in their element at last, dive into the flood waters and save people in danger, clearing a wall so that the water can flow out of town. The boys retrieve long-lost memories of their mermaid mother, and their adoptive parents move with them to Ocean City. Hildy Swoon is scared out of town by the flood, and Martha's father comes back to his old self. Martha still dreams of going off to become a dancer someday, but she no longer feels the need to run away from Oak Grove. Illustrated with what looks likes indigo-tinted photos, this fairy tale is a dreamy, poignant story of friendship, love, loss, and recovery that will appeal to fantasy lovers. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2002, Scholastic, 84p. illus.,
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In the manner of a fairy tale, this story begins with a town that seems to be under a curse. Fifteen years ago, a flood devastated Oak Grove, and its inhabitants dammed up the creek so that water would never flow through the town again. Everyone is terrified of water except for motherless Martha Glimmer, 13, and her two best friends, Trevor "Trout" and Eli "Eel" McGill. The adopted brothers love sardines and saltwater, and their webbed fingers and toes reveal early on that they are the offspring of a mermaid. The book encompasses a wide knowledge of fairy-tale archetypes, such as the heroine who sets out on a quest for identity, the widowed father distracted by grief, the scheming would-be "wicked step-mother," the dead mother's talisman (a yellow silk shawl), and the companions with magical gifts. When Oak Grove is once again threatened by flood, the three water-lovers will (of course) be the town's salvation. Unfortunately, the beautiful, poetic phrases juxtapose sharply with tired idioms, and the omniscient, sometimes jarring tone distances readers from the text. While the story is more developed than the author's Aquamarine (Scholastic, 2001), it is strictly an additional purchase.-Farida S. Dowler, formerly at Bellevue Regional Library, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439256360
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/30/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.23 (d)

Meet the Author

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


Born in the 1950s to college-educated parents who divorced when she was young, Alice Hoffman was raised by her single, working mother in a blue-collar Long Island neighborhood. Although she felt like an outsider growing up, she discovered that these feelings of not quite belonging positioned her uniquely to observe people from a distance. Later, she would hone this viewpoint in stories that captured the full intensity of the human experience.

After high school, Hoffman went to work for the Doubleday factory in Garden City. But the eight-hour, supervised workday was not for her, and she quit before lunch on her first day! She enrolled in night school at Adelphi University, graduating in 1971 with a degree in English. She went on to attend Stanford University's Creative Writing Center on a Mirrellees Fellowship. Her mentor at Stanford, the great teacher and novelist Albert Guerard, helped to get her first story published in the literary magazine Fiction. The story attracted the attention of legendary editor Ted Solotaroff, who asked if she had written any longer fiction. She hadn't -- but immediately set to work. In 1977, when Hoffman was 25, her first novel, Property Of, was published to great fanfare.

Since that remarkable debut, Hoffman has carved herself a unique niche in American fiction. A favorite with teens as well as adults, she renders life's deepest mysteries immediately understandable in stories suffused with magic realism and a dreamy, fairy-tale sensibility. (In a 1994 article for The New York Times, interviewer Ruth Reichl described the magic in Hoffman's books as a casual, regular occurrence -- " offhand that even the most skeptical reader can accept it.") Her characters' lives are transformed by uncontrollable forces -- love and loss, sorrow and bliss, danger and death.

Hoffman's 1997 novel Here on Earth was selected as an Oprah Book Club pick, but even without Winfrey's powerful endorsement, her books have become huge bestsellers -- including three that have been adapted for the movies: Practical Magic (1995), The River King (2000), and her YA fable Aquamarine (2001).

Hoffman is a breast cancer survivor; and like many people who consider themselves blessed with luck, she believes strongly in giving back. For this reason, she donated her advance from her 1999 short story collection Local Girls to help create the Hoffman Breast Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA.

Good To Know

  • Hoffman has written a number of children's books, including Fireflies: A Winter's Tale(1999), Horsefly (2000), and Moondog (2004).

  • Aquamarine was written for Hoffman's best friend, Jo Ann, who dreamed of the freedom of mermaids as she battled brain cancer.

  • Here on Earth is a modern version of Hoffman's favorite novel, Wuthering Heights.

  • Hoffman has been honored with the Massachusetts Book Award for her teen novel Incantation.
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      1. Hometown:
        Boston, Massachusetts
      1. Date of Birth:
        March 16, 1952
      2. Place of Birth:
        New York, New York
      1. Education:
        B.A., Adelphi University, 1973; M.A., Stanford University, 1974
      2. Website:

    Interviews & Essays

    An Exclusive Interview with Alice Hoffman

    Barnes & Where did the idea for Indigo come from? Did you intend for this book to "feel" similar to Aquamarine? Both books rely heavily on water imagery and beings (mermaids, mermen...). Do you have a personal connection with water?

    Alice Hoffman: Growing up on Long Island, I spent a great deal of time at the beach as a child, and water imagery is always important to me on many levels -- especially as a reflection of our dream lives and of the unconscious. I do think of Aquamarine and Indigo as sister-and-brother books; they reflect each other. I'm also a Pisces, drawn to the water by my nature.

    B& Your books are described as fantastic and magical...and they all resound with elements of magic. Do you believe in magic? How does magic figure in your own real world?

    AH: I think that magic has always been a part of literature. As a reader, I began with fairy tales, folktales, and my grandmother's Russian stories, so it is a natural way for me to tell a tale. I have always incorporated magical elements into my work -- often from the natural world. A mermaid is an incredible being, but so is a firefly.

    B& The characters in both Aquamarine and Indigo rely heavily on their friendships -- which are strong and significant -- for getting through difficult situations, and healing. Were any of your own childhood friendships the inspiration for this? Did you -- like the characters in both books -- ever have to come to grips with your best friend(s) moving away?

    AH: I'm always surprised when I read books in which the characters have no friends or when friendship doesn't matter in a novel. It's a theme I'm interested in, and it's also important in building a character. My friendship with my oldest friend, Carol -- we met when we were both three years old -- was the model for the girls in Aquamarine. Carol did move away to Maryland when we were in high school. Though it was traumatic, we have maintained our friendship to this day. Both Aquamarine and Indigo are about the importance of friendship and deal with the ways in which love and friendship continue even in the face of loss, whether it be a move to another state or a death.

    B& Is Martha Glimmer anything like you were as a child? She's certainly experienced a lot of loss in her young life. Where did you find her voice?

    AH: I wrote Indigo soon after the loss of my mother. Writing the book was a healing experience and allowed me to relate to Martha's loss. Like Martha, I think my friends very much helped me through, reminding me that we have to live in the present, while bringing the past with us in our hearts.

    B& Do your own kids influence your writing?

    AH: I began to write children's books because I wanted to include my children in my work and share the process with them. My youngest son is now 13 and is a great reader and editor. My oldest friend, Carol, has a daughter, Allison, a senior in high school, whom I always go to for advice on teenage issues.

    B& Do you find it more difficult or easier to write for young people as opposed to writing for adults?

    AH: I actually think there's not much difference in writing for young readers or adults. I might avoid certain subjects that wouldn't be interesting or appropriate for a certain age group, but the heart of a book is still the same.

    B& Were you a storyteller and/or writer as a child? Did you always want to be a writer?

    AH: I was more of a reader than a writer, although I think all writers begin that way. My Russian grandmother was a storyteller, as was my father, so stories were important to the people I loved. I never imagined that I myself could be a writer -- so I feel lucky when it comes to that.

    B& Do you have plans to write more books for young people? Are you working on anything right now?

    AH: I love writing books for young people, and have just finished a postapocalyptic fairy tale called Green Angel that has to do with love and loss and being young. For me, a book like this works if it is as meaningful for a child or teenage reader as it is for an adult reader.

    B& What are some of your favorite children's books?

    AH: My favorite books when I was growing up were the wonderful magical books of Edward Eager, one of the inventors of suburban magic. Magic or Not, Magic by the Lake, and Half Magic were my absolute favorites. I was also a big Lassie and Lad fan. I also adored Mary Poppins. I read a great deal of science fiction and fantasy, and loved the brilliant Ray Bradbury. Later on, I read adult books that I found on my mother's bookshelf, including Catcher in the Rye and anything written by Shirley Jackson, especially We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I've always believed that what you read as a child influences you forever, not just as a reader but as an integral part of the person you grow up to become. The way you experience the world is, in part, formed by what you read as a child. I think that's why the books you love as a child stay with you more than any others. They're a part of your childhood...a part of you.

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    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 3.5
    ( 17 )
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    Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted January 1, 2009

      This book wat ok.

      The main characters in Indigo are Martha Glimmer and her two best friends named Trevor and Eli McGrill. The conflict is that they are trying to get away from Oak Grove because they hate it there and the McGrill boys want to find their mother that they haven¿t seen since they were babies. But they don¿t know she died in a storm in Ocean City a few years ago. Another conflict in Indigo is when Martha, Trevor, and Eli leave Oak Grove they find out that a storm is coming and hurry back to save the town. When they get to Oak Grove half of the town was filled with water and everyone was on top of their roofs. They had to save Oak Grove from being under water all the way. The resolution is that Trevor and Eli were like fish because their mom was a mermaid and they could swim fast and can breath under water. The town¿s people put up a wall to keep out the water if there was ever another flood but they were wrong they just made it worse putting up the wall. So the boys went to the wall and started wrestling with the biggest rock under the wall, then the wall tipped over and all the water was slowly draining out like a bathtub. The moral of the book is that when something bad happens something can end up good, just like before the flood when Martha hated a woman that came over every day to help them after her mom died. Then after the flood the woman never came back, she went on top of the hill and never came back to Oak Grove.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 27, 2007

      Great for Children

      I'm writing a review on the short 84 page book Indigo by Alice Hoffman. I believe that Indidgo is a very good book, I would recommend it for people who like the immagination and for a younger reader. I also believe that Indigo has alot to teach children about family and how people stick together even when bad times come. Indigo is a story about mermaids and humans, combined. I believe it is a very east read but it is a little bit far fetched and I think for the 8-13 year old group of kids it would be an outstanding match. Thank You

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 17, 2007


      This book was horrible. It is predictable and low-level (not to mention uninteresting). One with a brain can easily decipher the whole book by the first three pages. 'He had flippers for feet and drank salt water and everyone called him Trout.' are just a few of the many obvious give-aways of the whole thing. Anyone that knows, oh I dont know... what a fish looks like, would most likely question 'Gee, People don't have flippers or drink salt water or have gills... could they possibly be... fish?' Dont waste your hard-earned money on this garbage.

      1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted January 27, 2011

      Fairly Good

      I know I've put four stars for my star rating, but I would rather give 3 and 1/2 ones. It was, yes, a little predictable, but I liked this book because it reminds me of the ocean and because many can relate to feeling strange, like a deformed puzzle piece. Trout, Eel, and Martha all feel strange and out of place in their tiny inland town. I would recommend this to all ages- there's nothing bad for kids in this book.

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    • Posted April 24, 2010

      Great book...

      In this book, Indigo, Hoffman writes very well. This book has a heartwarming story, its funny,thrilling,absorbing, and so much more. This book is one of Hoffman's best!

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 30, 2008

      Not the best

      It had a good storyline but it was both rushed and predictable. Things needed to be spanned out and more in depth. And they just moved away leaving her behind? Come on.

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 4, 2007

      A reviewer

      This book was very short, and I believe Alice could have written a longer novel and interested more children. It was not very detailed and everything whiped by you, so you never knews what just heppened. Every character was 2 dementional and some even less. NO one had any feeling, and it felt more like an outline then a full book. There were so many missing parts, and question in the end. I would have enjoyed this book much more if it had been longer, but the plot was okay, but not great, recieving only 3 stars.

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted September 30, 2006

      Great book

      it was really great i loved it. i would let any one borrow it to read it i loved green angle and aquamarine also.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 29, 2006

      I love it

      I think this was a very good book. I read it for my my booklcub meeting and loved it. I also read Aquamarine and found that very interesting to. I hope that there will be sequiles

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 20, 2006

      Indigo-Its review

      I love this book it is very interesting and I can really cop with Martha,to feel so alone. This book reminds me of myself,always wanting to go to the beach,exploring,never giving up. I love this book and hope some day I find a friend like Trout. If I could say one bad thing about the book it would be.......Nothing.I love this book and hope I get to read other books by Alice Hoffman

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    • Anonymous

      Posted August 12, 2005

      this was a great book

      this book ws really nice. It really gets you thinking. it's kind of sad. but it's really nice. I reccomend it to everyone.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted August 6, 2005


      It Is Such a Good Book, It Truly Enchanted Me!!! YOU MUST GET THIS IT IS SO GREAT!!!! I Mean,They Are 'Humans' That Got Rescued From The Sea, And Then They Find Themselves To Be Water Sprites!!!!!

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 8, 2003


      I think that the book indigo was good but the book wasn't that long at all. It was very interseting! I would recomend it to someone that like's action books. It kinda get¿s broning at the end but in the beginning it is very interesting it talk¿s alot about he boys lives. It¿s kinda a sad book also too because of how the boys and there friend runaway and the boys friend martha mom died when she was only like 4 years old. But like i said the biik was like action kinda type toward the end. Because the two boys are trying to save pople in the rain storm. The book is about 2 main book is about the 2 boys and they runaway because there parents mess up there room and they get very mad so they runaway with there friend martha. Martha wanted to runaway in the first place because she was so upset about how mom dieing she¿s had to live with it her whole life.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 26, 2002

      Modern fairytale

      Not very much to this book. The story has few surprises and you can see everything coming at you like a semitruck. Trevor and Eli (trout and eel as nicknames) yearn to see the sea. Martha Glimmer, a friend, helps them. The journey they go on after the decision is a yawn.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 29, 2008

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted January 18, 2010

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted March 22, 2009

      No text was provided for this review.

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