Mermaid Parkby Beth Mayall
Sixteen-year-old Amy rush doesn’t expect much from her summer at the Jersey shore, until she stumbles on Mermaid park, an old tourist spot where girls dress in fabulous costumes and put on underwater shows. working at the park changes Amy’s life in more ways than she could have imagined. she finds romance, a newfound self-confidence, and discovers… See more details below
Sixteen-year-old Amy rush doesn’t expect much from her summer at the Jersey shore, until she stumbles on Mermaid park, an old tourist spot where girls dress in fabulous costumes and put on underwater shows. working at the park changes Amy’s life in more ways than she could have imagined. she finds romance, a newfound self-confidence, and discovers breathtaking revelations about long-buried family secrets.
- Penguin Young Readers Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.75(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 17 Years
Read an Excerpt
I was underwater when suddenly the guy I'd seen at the pool earlier appeared. Standing in the corner, tan and relaxed, he put on swimmer's goggles and slid under the water's surface. As my sister Mel and I stood at the pool's edge, I felt a shiver run through me. I wanted him to notice the graceful muscles of my back, my calves. Thrill sped up my pulse. Maybe he was thinking I was amazing, wishing someone like me would notice someone like him.
There was a small splash as Mel tossed the penny into the pool, then a bigger splash of Mel diving in.
Too fast, showing off, I raised my arms and blindly thrust toward the water, knowing right away it was all wrong. I opened my eyes just as my chin scraped the concrete bottom-but my hand, it grabbed the dark spot I saw from the corner of my eye. I had gotten the penny.
I broke the surface, touching the small patch of rough skin and feeling the sting that surely meant at least a little blood.
"Are you okay?" he asked, breaking the surface right in front of me. He took my hand away from my chin to see, and, shocked by the sting and by his touch, I let the penny slip between my fingers. So close, his brow furrowed, blue eyes studying my injury. "Just a scrape," he said. "Keep swimming-the chlorine is good for it."
I lowered myself to nose deep into the water, studying the way the late-afternoon sunlight made highlights on the droplets on his upper back. Suddenly I felt a swish in the water next to me. Mel surfaced right then with the penny.
"Mine again," she said, her eyes quickly flashing to the guy. I met his eyes and he looked at me, like he half expected me to correct her-No, I found it first-but I just let her have the moment.
"So, I don't know what I'm going to do," Melissa said to her friend Trina, like[KT1] they'd been mid-conversation. "I have to get those letters to some office-city something, city council? And they want them by, like, next week."
Trina shrugged at Mel. "I don't understand"-flipping over lazily-"why you bother."
Mel shook her head. Then she looked at the guy and said, "I'm doing this petition thing to build a summer camp for underprivileged kids."
"Oh," he said. He looked at me to see if I was impressed. I blew bubbles out of my nose into the water.
"Who's the petition for?" he asked.
Mel paused a beat to dip her hair back in the water, making it sleek against her head. Looking back at him, she said, "Habitat for Humanity."
His brow furrowed. "They build houses for the poor."
"And now they'll build a summer camp too."
"But shouldn't you be collecting donations or something instead of signatures?" he asked. "Aren't petitions for stuff like gun control, stuff people have clashing opinions about? Who's against a camp for poor kids?" My laugh caught me by surprise, coming out as a burst of air bubbles underwater. Mel headed for the side of the pool, in no hurry.
His brow furrowed adorably. "Wait," he said, looking at her. "You're making this up. There is no petition, is there?"
"There is," Mel said, hiking herself up on the edge of the pool.
"Show it to me."
Mel lowered her brows. "What do you have against poor people anyway?" she said, an edge to her voice now. Then to me and Trina, "C'mon, it's time to go." Trina slowly sat up, started gathering towels.
I didn't budge and it took Mel several seconds to realize this.
"Fine. Miss dinner if you want."
I ducked underwater and swam to the far end of the pool in one single breath, hoping he would follow. And he did. When he surfaced, he was so close I could smell his cinnamon chewing gum. His wet eyelashes were jet black around intense eyes, the color of water.
He put on his goggles and dove downward. Seconds later, he surfaced with the penny. He pointed at me, then at the side of the pool, smiling wickedly. We hoisted ourselves up onto the edge, cool pool water streaming off us in rivulets. He handed me the coin. "Your toss."
How sweet. Then I pointed at his goggles. "Cheating."
He slid them down around his neck. "I forgot. If you're blind, I'm blind."
He dove in shallow like me, and we both shot quickly to the other end. Chalky white pool bottom stretched out in front of me. No sign of the penny. I glanced over and saw the fuzzy outline of him still searching too. Then I saw him pause and I followed his gaze. It was on the second step from the bottom.
He swam toward it fast, and I chased. Then, just before he got to the step, he reversed his arm stroke to bring himself to a halt, and my momentum carried me into him. He paused a beat to give me a chance to get the penny. I took his hand and moved it toward the penny to pick it up. When we surfaced, we were both breathing hard, trying to stop smiling.
Little whiskers on his cheeks and chin made me want to touch his face. He caught me looking. "Let's just swim," he said.
We started in lazy circles, far from each other, but soon found ourselves in the deep end. I pushed off the wall, showing off, doing a flip underwater that left my hair floating above me. He pushed off and came near, touching my hair. I thought of his chin stubble and pictured my lips pressing against it.
I headed back up, and he surfaced right after me. "Are you here tomorrow?"
I felt little happy things doing a dance in my stomach, and I tried to sound casual. "Yes. Are you?"
He smiled. "I'm always here."
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