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4.4 103
by Helen Dunmore

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I wish I was away in Ingo
Far across the briny sea,
Sailing over deepest waters
Where love nor care never trouble me. . . .

By the Cornwall coast where Sapphire lives with her family, it's easy to hear the call of the sea. Too easy.

When the sea called to Sapphy's father, he vanished from her life. When


I wish I was away in Ingo
Far across the briny sea,
Sailing over deepest waters
Where love nor care never trouble me. . . .

By the Cornwall coast where Sapphire lives with her family, it's easy to hear the call of the sea. Too easy.

When the sea called to Sapphy's father, he vanished from her life. When the sea called to her brother, he started disappearing for hours on end. And now the sea is calling to Sapphy, and she feels its pull more strongly than she's ever felt anything in her life.

In a novel full of longing, mystery, and magic, Helen Dunmore takes us to a new world that has the power both to captivate and to destroy. At the waterline, the two worlds of Air and Ingo meet. Sapphy and her brother, Conor, find themselves at the boundary between these worlds, in a place of danger and amazing discoveries.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dunmore's (The Siege, for adults) richly imagined fantasy, her first for young adults, posits tension between two parallel worlds: one undersea, the other along the rocky Cornwall coast. Sapphire, 11, and her older brother, Conor, have grown up in a close-knit family, loving the tidal cove below their cottage. Their father, Mathew, a fisherman and photographer, adores the sea; on the other hand, their mother has, in her words, "good reason to fear" it. When Dad disappears, and part of his boat is found, the family holds a memorial service and moves painfully through grief. Even a year after his disappearance, Sapphy and Conor refuse to believe their father is dead, while their mother begins to move on, befriending a visiting diver. Mer children Faro and Elvira begin to court the siblings, introducing them to such marvels as breathing underwater and swimming with dolphins. Ingo, the undersea world about which their father sang, beckons overpoweringly, and Sapphy, who is drawn back there repeatedly, begins to understand the Mer language. A wise beekeeper, whom some suspect is a witch, seems to know Mathew's fate. She subtly intercedes as Sapphy vacillates, "cleft" between her Mer and Air identities, and also suggests that Ingo is "breaking its bounds," intruding into the Air world. Dunmore makes both settings riveting, and captures Sapphy's lonely struggle through the heroine's first-person narrative. Dualities skepticism and belief, collective memory and individual perception, the pull of Mer life versus Sapphy's family love persist to the tale's end and beyond. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Sapphire/Sapphy and her brother Conor have known the sea all their lives because their dad has continued the family line of British fishermen. On the other hand, their mother fears the sea, with reason. One day their father disappears while going out to sea one evening. Sapphy and Conor try to find him and they meet two young people from Ingo, underwater natives. Although Conor can survive under the water's surface for a short time, it is Sapphy who finds that she is more comfortable living in the sea than on land. After their mother starts dating a diver named Roger, the children fear that their father will be forgotten. When Sapphy hears her father's watery voice, she becomes even more conflicted. Roger wants to explore a sacred part of the water, and the sea people are ready to attack any intruders. This realistic fantasy portrays a believable underwater world and its ties with land people. The main characters are well drawn; teenage and adult angst resonates. The end of the story leaves several questions because Ingo is the first volume of Dunmore's fantasy trilogy. I can't wait! KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2006, HarperCollins, 329p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Dr. Lesley Farmer
Children's Literature
Sapphire Trewhella and her older brother, Connor, have grown up exploring "their" beach and cove near their cottage on the Cornwall coast. They play on the white sand, climb on the rocks, and explore the tide pools and caves at the back of the beach. But they know that they must always watch the tide. What they are about to discover is that their beloved cove is neutral ground between two worlds—that of the Air people and that of Ingo, where the Sea people, the Mer, live. When their father takes his boat out one evening and never returns, Sapphy's world comes crashing down. She is suddenly drawn into the world of Ingo where she meets Faro, a Mer boy, whose sister, Elvira, has already introduced Conner to the beautiful but dangerous deep sea. Like the pull of the riptide beyond her cove, Ingo lures Sapphire to abandon her world. Suddenly even the taste of fresh water sickens her and she craves salt. Will the pull of the Air world, the love of her family, and a beautiful dog named Sadie be enough to keep her on land? Will she ever find out what happened to her dad, who she believes is still alive? This is a magical and compelling story that weaves mysterious legends of the sea together with the angst of growing up in the real world. Beautifully written and highly recommended. 2005, HarperCollins, and Ages 10 to 15.
—Judy Crowder
Sapphire's father tells her that long ago Mathew Trewhella fell in love with a mermaid, deserted his family, and went to live in the sea as one of the Mer. Now Sapphire and Conor's father-Trewhella's namesake-has also disappeared and is believed drowned. As Sapphire and Conor adjust to their father's absence and to their mother's growing friendship with a diver, Roger, they meet Faro and Elvira of the Mer who take them to Ingo deep under the ocean. Sapphire is especially drawn to stay there and has reason to hope that her father still lives. Nevertheless she understands the danger to Roger when he plans to dive in an area sacred to the Mer. Along with Faro and Elvira, she is forced to make a moral choice. Dunmore builds on a long tradition of stories about humans and mermaids, but just as the credulity of Roger is strained when from his boat he sees a mermaid who is the image of Sapphire, a lack of a sense of the mysterious makes this fantasy less than compelling. More depth and complexity would make the story more vital. Although Sapphire's and Conor's characters are quite well developed, Granny Carne's character verges on the stereotypical representation of a traditional wise woman. Still this novel, the first in a projected trilogy, might appeal to young or preteens looking for a family story and a fantasy that can, perhaps, satisfy an imaginative desire to meet and swim with the Mer. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2005, HarperCollins, 336p., and PLB Ages 11 to 14.
—Hilary S. Crew
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-A family living on the coast of Cornwall gets caught up in the undersea kingdom of the Mer people. After their father mysteriously disappears, Sapphy and her brother, Conor, visit Ingo and find themselves yearning to return to the ocean world. Conor resists, but Sapphy has a stronger affinity with the watery kingdom. While she struggles with its temptation, she also clashes with her mother, who seems too ready to forget the children's father. These elements come together in an exciting climax in which the siblings risk traveling to Ingo to save the life of the human diver their mother is dating. Sapphy's present-tense narration brings readers right into her world. Through her eyes, they see the beauty of Ingo, the comfort of her earthbound home, and the confusing muddle of thoughts and emotions that her experiences inspire. The undersea world seems equal parts menacing and alluring, which builds suspense and keeps everything pleasingly unpredictable. Relationships are especially well drawn. Sapphy is dedicated to Conor, despite some jealousy; she loves her mother, though she's keenly aware of how different they are; and she is not sure how to feel about Faro, the charming, sometimes angry young Mer man who serves as her undersea guide. Strong character development combines with an engaging plot and magical elements to make this a fine choice for fantasy readers, who will look forward to the next installments in this planned trilogy.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Merfolk and the stories about them pervade Cornwall, the seaside community where Sapphire and her older brother, Conor, live. One of the most memorable moments, in fact, between Sapphire and her father, happens when he tells her the story about Mathew Trewhella, who left his human girlfriend for the Mermaid of Zennor. So, it's not really a surprise that Sapphire's dad, also named Mathew Trewhella, disappears after going out on his boat late one evening. The kids believe that their dad isn't dead, but lives now with the Merfolk, and they want to prove it. Coincidentally, they begin to be called by the sea and start swimming with the Mer. The two experience a double life as "Air" people and partly transformed "Mer" creatures. This confuses them and they begin to question who they are and what their true ancestry is-and of course they want to find their dad. When their mother gets a diver boyfriend, Roger, the kids have to decide whether or not they want to save him from certain death, or to let him follow his human fate. What's fresh about this mermaid story is that it doesn't try to be what it's not; so many of the elements will be familiar to young readers, but they will get to examine Mer life from their own perspective. A gentle, pleasurable read. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Ingo , #1
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File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Helen Dunmore

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Helen Dunmore
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060818522

Chapter one

You'll find the mermaid of Zennor inside Zennor Church, if you know where to look. She's carved from old, hard, dark wood. The church is dark too, so you have to bend down to see her clearly. You can trace the shape of her tail with your finger.

Someone slashed across her with a knife a long time ago. A sharp, angry knife. I touched the slash mark very gently, so I wouldn't hurt the mermaid any more.

"Why did they do that to her, Dad? Why did they hurt her?"

"I don't know, Sapphy. People do cruel things sometimes, when they're angry."

And then Dad told me the mermaid's story. I was only little, but I remember every word.

"The Zennor mermaid fell in love with a human," said Dad, "but she was a Mer creature and so she couldn't come to live with him up in the dry air. It would have killed her. But she couldn't forget him, and she couldn't live without him. She couldn't even sleep for thinking about him. All she wanted was to be with him."

"Would she have died in the air?" I asked.

"Yes. Mer people can't live away from the water. Anyway, the man couldn't forget her either. The sight of the mermaid burned in his mind, day and night. And the mermaid felt just the same. When the tide was high, she would swim up into the cove, then up the stream, as close as she could to the church, to hear him singing in the choir."

"I thoughtit was mermaids that sang, Dad."

"In this story it was the man who sang. In the end the mermaid swam up the stream one last time, and he couldn't bear to see her go. He swam away with her, and he was never seen again. He became one of the Mer people."

"What was his name, Dad?"

"Mathew Trewhella," said Dad, looking down at me.

"But Dad, that's your name! How come he's got the same name as you?"

"It's just by chance, Sapphy. It all happened hundreds of years ago. You know how the same names keep on going in Cornwall."

"What was the mermaid called, Dad?"

"She was called Morveren. People said she was the Mer king's daughter, but I don't believe that's true."

"Why not?"

"Because the Mer don't have kings."

Dad sounded so sure about this that I didn't ask him how he knew. When you're little, you think your mum and dad know everything. I wasn't surprised that Dad knew so much about the Mer.

I stroked the wooden mermaid again, and wished I could see her in real life, swimming up the stream with her beautiful shining tail. And then another thought hit me.

"But Dad, what about all the people the man left behind? What about his family?"

"He never saw them again," said Dad.

"Not even his mum or his dad?"

"No. None of them. He belonged to the Mer."

I tried to imagine what it would be like never to see Dad again, or Mum. The thought was enough to make my heart beat fast with terror. I couldn't live without them, I knew I couldn't.

I looked up at Dad. His face looked faraway and a bit unhappy. I didn't like it. I wanted to bring him back to me, now.

"Can't catch me!" I shouted, and I ran off, clattering up the stone aisle of the church to the door. The door was heavy and the fastening was stiff, but I wrestled it open.

"You can't catch me!" I yelled back over my shoulder, and I ran out through the porch, down the stone steps, and into the sunshine of the lane. I heard the church door bang, and there was Dad, leaping down the steps after me. The faraway look had gone from his face.

"Look out, Sapphy, I'm coming to get you!"

That was a long time ago. Dad never talked about the Mer again, and nor did I. But the story lodged deep inside my mind like an underwater rock that can tear a ship open in bad weather. I wished I'd never seen the Zennor mermaid. She was beautiful, but she scared me.

It's Midsummer Eve now, and when it gets dark, they'll light the Midsummer Fire on Carrack Down. We go up there every Midsummer Eve. I love it when they throw the wreath of flowers into the flames, and the wreath flares up so that for a few seconds you watch flowers made out of fire. The bonfire blazes, and everyone drinks and dances and laughs and talks. Midsummer Night is so short that dawn arrives before the party's over.

Dad's up there now, helping build the fire. They pile furze and brushwood until the bonfire stands taller than me or Conor. Conor's my brother; he's two years older than me.

"Come on, Saph! I'm going on up to see how big the bonfire is now."

I run after Conor. This is how it usually is. Conor ahead, and me hurrying behind, trying to keep up with him.

"Wait for me, Con!"

We wait for the sun to set and for the crowd to gather, and then it's time to light the Midsummer Fire. The first star shines out. Geoff Treyarnon thrusts his flaming torch into the dry heart of the bonfire. The fire blazes up, and everyone links hands and begins to dance around it, faster and faster. The flames leap higher than the people, and we have to jump back.

Conor and I join the ring around the fire. Mum and Dad dance too, holding hands. It makes me so happy to see them like this, dancing and smiling at each other. If only it was always like this. No quarrels, no loud voices . . .

The flames jump higher and higher, and everyone yells and laughs. Conor drinks a bottle of ginger ale . . .


Excerpted from Ingo by Helen Dunmore Copyright © 2006 by Helen Dunmore. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

HELEN DUNMORE is a novelist, short story writer and poet. She has written twenty-two children’s books, including Brother Brother, Sister Sister; The Lilac Tree; The Seal Cove; and the bestselling Ingo series. She has written nine adult books including A Spell of Winter, which won the 1996 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her poetry collections have won the Poetry Society’s Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize and the Signal Poetry Award. Helen Dunmore was born in Yorkshire, England, and now lives in Bristol with her husband and children.

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Ingo 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 103 reviews.
Sharon Sicard More than 1 year ago
I love the characters, especially Faro. Hes my favorite. I wish whats in this book was real. That would be the best thing in the world. I love how its not ur typical mermaid book. It shows that not ever mermaid is the same.
Danielle Rubiano More than 1 year ago
My cousin gave me Ingo. Since I got it, I have fell in LOVE with it. If you dont read, or buy this book... your missing out big time. If I could rate this book (which I can) I would rate this infinity! Its mysterious, adventurious and many more good things. I still have the book, Ingo, to this day. And I still enjoy it. I have read all the books of the Ingo series. Remember, if you dont buy this book, your missing out. Buy it, and youll agree with me soon enough. Read the first 100 or 50 pages before you decide. GIVE INGO A CHANCE! YOULL NEVER STOP READING THIS AS SOON AS YOU PICK IT UP!!!!!
zoebean More than 1 year ago
This is a very detailed adventure, I can imagine myself with Sapphy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ingo is my fav book. And person that is talkin about the kraken. That is not ingo that is the series emily windsnap I<3 this book Ps im ten
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The detail in this book is amaizing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it
Ngoc Hoang More than 1 year ago
You will not be able to put this book it is so amazing! I read it in one day and i re-read it like eight times!
cupcakes4eva More than 1 year ago
i fell in love with Ingo the moment i picked it up. the storyline is absolutely beautiful, and almost indescribable. Helen Dunmore is a terrific writer and really pulls you in, making you feel like you are right next to Sappy in the world of Ingo. I wish that more people knew about this book because it really is amazing. i highly recommend it to anyone that always wished to live beneath the surface of an underwater world...
Megan Bacani More than 1 year ago
It is a really instresting story
Rylee Feldten More than 1 year ago
i loved this book at first i was like man this i going to be a boring book but one i started it i loved and P.S the end is a tear jerker
Athena4Books More than 1 year ago
As soon as i picked up this book i knew that it would cause me to miss hours of sleep, and it did not disapoint. A stuning tale of friendship from the sea and enchantment, it truly made me believe in Ingo.
Ashleigh Litcofsky More than 1 year ago
the enchanting tale of a girl who tries to retrieve her lost father and finds out that there is more to the world than meets the eye.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you dive into never ending twists and turns of Ingo, it won't ever let you stop for a break. The more you read the more your trapped in the story's waves swimming through the rough currents with the characters, and your changing thoughts. But its worth it. Rereading every line over and over again to make sure you think your reading what its saying, and not just making it up in your own mind makes this story good; a book that says the things that you would never imagine yourself reading. Thats Ingo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome. Highly recomended to ppl who loves merpeople. Aka mermaids
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im love with these books
LemurOwl More than 1 year ago
I really love this series, the emotion and adventure tied to the sea in this book makes me see the underwater world in a new light ^_^
wildponygirl More than 1 year ago
Overall I liked the book. The characters, Sapphire and Conor, where ok and I definately got into the story. I also liked how Helen Dunmore made the mermaids or 'Ingo habitants' seem not so human-like like other stories I've read.
Inguanti More than 1 year ago
The story is thrilling because there is a lot of adventure and you wonder if the story is really true. It is a great book for summer
Kaylah More than 1 year ago
Sapphire is an 11 year old girl who's father goes missing! She, her brother Conor and their 'widowed' mom are living just a few acres from the world of Ingo (the ocean). Sapphire and Conor think that the Mer have something to do with their father's dissapearence! So they go through Ingo's boundries to try to solve the mystery!
Ocean-Gal More than 1 year ago
The first thing that caught my attention was the cover. All the pretty colors, and the mermaid. I knew right then that I was going to love it. (The whole 'Don't judge a book by it's cover', I don't listen to it) Anyways, I checked it out of the library Friday, and began and finished the book Saturday morning! It was way to good to put down. The characters and the story line sucked me in. After I returned it to the library, I was so sad that I didn't own it. So I went out and bought it. 'I wish I was away in Ingo, far across the briny sea, sailing over deepest waters, where love nor care nover troubled me.' The entire story wouldn't leave my mind for months! INGO is a must read!
Beebee4eva More than 1 year ago
This is the greatest book ever!!!! Its very addicting, and absorbing!! I have a hard time keeping my nose in books, but with this i was turning pages all day and night!! If u want a great, adventurous, and fun book read this!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is absolutley incredible with all its detail and feeling. i loved it and could not stand it when the first book ended. it was a sad book at parts and somehow mysterious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, I must say, this is a very descriptive and beautifully written book! I could just feel the emotions that the characters were feeling, and I could feel what Ingo is like... it is also a very unique book as well. The plot is very different and creative. If you like mermaids, like I do, then this would probably be a good book for you, but I must warn you, the ending is a cliffhanger, which I HATE!!! That's why I rated this book a 3. Otherwise, it probably would have been a 5. Anyway, the ending basically ruins the story, but the most part, the rest of the book is good. ^_^
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and have read all of them of this series that are out. Helen Dunmore can create unimaginable scenes that can just take your breath away! VERY DISCRIPTIVE and very very exciting! BY FAR, the best mermaid or sea thrilled books I've ever read, which is a lot. I even have asked my cousins to send me a copy from Europe for the 3rd book, The Deep