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Sea Change

Sea Change

4.0 141
by Aimee Friedman

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Bestselling author Aimee Friedman is back, with her signature combination of warmth and humor. And with this book, she adds a touch of fantasy. . .

Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island,


Bestselling author Aimee Friedman is back, with her signature combination of warmth and humor. And with this book, she adds a touch of fantasy. . .

Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.

There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

An evocative setting, an air of mystery and some intriguing love interests for Miranda, a 16-year-old budding scientist, will make Friedman's (The Year My Sister Got Lucky) novel irresistible to romance fans. It all begins when Miranda's mother inherits a house on the remote Georgia island of Selkie, a place teeming with legends of merfolk and sea beasts. While helping her mother prepare the estate for sale, Miranda is thrown off guard by her discovery of family secrets and the attention she receives from two boys: Southern gentleman T.J., whose father was once engaged to Miranda's mother, and native islander Leo, who seems to carry traits of the mermen Miranda has discovered in an ancient book of island myths. Miranda notices changes both in herself, as she tries to sort out her feelings for her suitors, and in her mother, "the harried surgeon," whose affection for her old beau appears to be rekindled. The effect of the island on the two women is movingly and convincingly drawn, effectively illustrating Einstein's notion that "the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious." Ages 12-up. (June)

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VOYA - Ashley Brown
This quick read is good for a laugh. Although the plot is predictable at times and the ending could have used a bit more development, Sea Change was excellent for the most part. Fans of the supernatural will devour this story that puts a new spin on what has come to be known as the cult of Twilight. Miranda's character is easily relatable for teenage girls and provides a classic-type love story at the same time. Reviewer: Ashley Brown, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Mary Boutet
Sea Change has a Romeo and Juliet vibe in a story that's been told many times before. The romantic and mysterious atmosphere is appealing, but the dialogue tends to be stilted and unrealistic, making it difficult to relate to the characters. It was almost like the author couldn't decide what kind of personality she wanted Miranda to have. I couldn't figure out who she was supposed to be so I could not decide if I liked her or not. The plot was predictable up until the end where I was sure Miranda and Leo would ride off into the sunset together, but instead Miranda leaves the island without completely solving the mystery of Leo's origins or even saying goodbye to him. I was thrown for a loop and kind of happy about it. Reviewer: Mary Boutet, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Alissa Lauzon
When the ticket taker on the boat Princess of the Deep takes Miranda's ticket and sees that she is heading to Selkie Island, he asks her if she is sure that is where she wants to go. Miranda's original summer plan involved a dream internship at the Museum of Natural History in New York City, but after the grandmother she never knew dies, she finds herself headed out to the house her mother inherited on Selkie Island to help her mom organize her grandmother's possessions. As she departs the boat, the ticket taker warns Miranda to "Be careful of whom you meet, in and out of the water." As she learns more about the legends and lore of Selkie Island, Miranda discovers that there just might be something to the ticket taker's warning and the legends of mermen. Friedman joins the growing cadre of authors tackling supernatural romances but avoids those creatures that are dominating the genre. Although readers will not be surprised by the revelation at the end, they will enjoy Miranda's journey of self-discovery. Miranda is likeable and interesting, and she possesses a self-awareness and confidence that is coupled with an insecurity that makes her real and easy for readers to connect with themselves. Although not exceptional, this novel will be a good choice to pass to readers who devour supernatural romances but are ready to move on from vampires and fairies. Reviewer: Alissa Lauzon
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
Sixteen year old Miranda thinks she is merely spending a few weeks helping her mother clear out the family home on Selkie Island. Legend has it that the island was full of mer-folk and that many still exist and may be seen if one is fortunate enough to win their favor. What she does not realize is that her summer, if not her life, is about to be turned around from her logical, calculated, and scientific world into a new, unfamiliar, yet exciting and even attractive one. The girls her age and their mothers are of a whole different league than those found in the studious academic lifestyle Miranda and her mother are a part of in New York City. Why, these girls have debutante balls and cotillions, and gentlemen wear jackets on picnics! But, in one part of Selkie Island, in Fisherman's Village, the locals lead their quiet lives as hard-working fisherman, trying to stay away from the summer visitors, well, most of them, except for a young man who takes a fancy to Miranda. Working at the marine center in town does not hurt his chances with her, either. Meanwhile, back to the giddy girls, their summer is based on which of the male summer "heirs" they will be paired up with for a summer fling. Miranda is unsure of their world. After all, her mission was to assist her mother with the inherited house. Miranda, however, is "paired" with T.J., who happens to be the son of a man once engaged to her mother. The dynamics often escalate, those between mother and daughter, friend and friend, ex-flame and divorcee. The few weeks on Selkie are a growing experience for both Miranda and her mother, as family secrets are revealed and as new trusts are formed, making for an unforgettable summer for everyone.Friedman creates realistic characters, many easily related to among her readers. Now, if there could be a sequel, that would be magical! Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

Miranda Merchant arrives at Selkie Island to discover a place wreathed in mist and myth, but the practical, scientifically inclined teen has little use for the local lore. She's come from New York to help her mother oversee the disposal of a family summer home, inexplicably bequeathed to them by an estranged grandmother. As the 16-year-old reluctantly associates with the wealthy, privileged teens who summer on Selkie, she uncovers startling secrets in her family's history and starts a clandestine romance with Leo, a local boy working at the island's marine center, who may or may not be entirely human. Friedman is clearly of a more artistic frame of mind than her protagonist, as floridly romantic scenes and references to Shakespeare and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner abound. With its self-effacing heroine and forbidden, possibly supernatural leading man, the book is aimed squarely at the "Twilight" crowd, but folklore buffs may be disappointed to learn that these resident sea creatures are garden variety merfolk, not the Irish seal-people usually associated with the name. A decent selection where the demand for romantic fiction is high.-Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO

Kirkus Reviews
A watery and predictable supernatural romance. Miranda Merchant, accustomed to city life, visits Selkie Island (off the Georgia coast) when her mother inherits a house. Her mother intends to sell it and remain unattached. But Miranda falls in love with Leo, crossing Selkie's strict class division between the "heirs" (including her family) and the working-class residents. She supposedly overcomes the snobbery that thinks heirs "b[ear] the beauty and grace that c[o]me from generations of careful breeding," but even at the end, she refers to Fisherman's Village as "the wrong side of the island." Leo's a mythical ocean creature, but the text never formally confirms that. Friedman tells rather than shows, and Miranda's voice alternates between incongruously nostalgic ("I'd forgotten how comforting it was, the casual intimacy that could exist between girls") and flowery (iced tea from a pitcher is "a waterfall of amber-colored liquid pour[ing] forth"). Miranda leaves for New York knowing she'll return, but Leo's promise of a happy ending "[s]oon" doesn't offer enough suspense for an ending without closure. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.08(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 Years


Meet the Author

Aimee Friedman is the New York Times bestselling author of Sea Change, The Year My Sister Got Lucky, South Beach, French Kiss, Hollywood Hills, A Novel Idea, and Breaking Up. Born and raised in Queens, Aimee now lives in Manhattan.

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Sea Change 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 142 reviews.
Khadija32 More than 1 year ago
I think this is one of those books that you glimpse in the bookstore but don't buy because your doubtful about it. Well wipe all doubts away peeps because its actually worth a read. A good long fast page turning read that leaves you wanting even more. The book starts and ends with a ferry ride. On one Miranda is sceptical about going and on the other is reluctant to leave yet happy she was there. Of all sixteen year old heroins I've read about i think Miranda is one of my favorites. She's very easy to relate to for any girl teenage or otherwise, because her journey on Selkie marks a journey we've all taken or will eventually take. The journey to finding ones self, it all starts somewhere. And Selkie is where it starts for Miranda. When you get farther into the book you find yourself enveloped and consumed by the mystery of Selkie Island and i know about a million questions went threw my head. Then there is Leo the mysterious boy that Miranda is enthralled with. He definitely plays a part in both her finding out who she is and the great mystery surrounding Selkie Island. And of course there is a bit of romance thrown in. My favorite way to look at it is that when Miranda arrived on Selkie she was this girl who doubted herself and was shy, who didn't have the greatest sense of who she was. And when she left Selkie this amazing transformation had happened somewhere between the lines like a hermit crab coming out of its shell. The greatest thing about the book though i don't often say this was the ending. It leaves you to come to your own conclusions instead of telling you what happened. And this leaves a lasting affect that makes you want more. 10 Reasons you need to read this book: 1. Easy to relate to characters you will fall in love with on the spot 2. Interesting plot that keeps you on your toes 3. A new mystery, you get to make your own conclusions in the end 4. Leo just about beats Edward Cullen on the 'fwaaa' meter 5. Its the perfect read for summer (i can offer an explanation for that one) 6. It leaves you wanting more 7. Your enveloped in the mystery and magic of Selkie Island 8. If I ever make a list of YA books all young adults should read this will be in the top 10 9. It's one of those books you can't forget no matter how hard you try 10. You will never say that you regret having read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best freaking book I have ever read. Aimee, MAKE A SEQUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
Courtney-Nicole More than 1 year ago
To start this review off, the book isn't worth your time. I thought it was going to be a good book, but it turned out to be something that I started reading, then stopped because I found something else to read, and went back to when I didn't have anything else. When Miranda's grandmother (who she's never met) dies, Miranda and her mother drop everything and go to Selkie Island so they can clean up her house and sell it. Here is where the story takes a turn toward bad. Miranda seems to lose her mind. First, she starts hanging out with people she NEVER would have before, she goes off to a beach alone and randomly starts talking to a boy she doesn't know (Leo). The main part of the story is the question of whether Leo is a merman or not, which is tells you on the COVER, basically giving a big part of the story away. This among other things pretty much ruined the story for me. One of the main things I didn't really like this book was the way it was written. The author could not seem to stop using the phrase "me and my mom," which drove me crazy. I don't usually correct other people's grammar, but if you're a writer AND you have an editor, you could at least use the proper syntax. Another thing about the story was that it seemed rushed. The characters weren't fully developed, certain scenes didn't make sense, and questions were never answered (I don't think there's going to be a second book). A lot of the tension created in the book seemed to just be there, and the romance was too over the top for me. And as someone else said, "And Miranda doesn't seem very smart, even though she tells us over and over that she's brilliant at science, she's also very immature." There were just too many things wrong in this book for me to give it a high rating.
Dana_W More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Could not put it down in fact. The cover art grabbed me, but when I read the cover flap, I was really drawn in. Mermaids and selkies. Interesting. The main character Miranda is like so many of us girls at her age. Feeling different than other girls around her, and insecure with boys she wants her periodic table and not to have to deal with socializing with the island's rich set. She wanted something and/or someone unique. Miranda sort of got her wish. Selkie island is a mysterious place with tons of local legends. It just may be that she is actually dating one of them. The story is a coming of age drama with some great mythology. This book drew me in and I could not put it down. I really hope the author will make it into a series. It would be great to see Leo, the hero again. The love story had a Romeo and Juliet feel to it. The charm Selkie island makes me want to revisit it again. Mermaids anyone? Read this book. It is perfect for summer, or anytime you just want a great love story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is there gonna be a sequel or what? Cause i really liked this book but it didnt answer any questions... it kind like ended in the middle of the story... :(
La_Femme_Readers More than 1 year ago
Sea Change was a sweet, feel-good type novel. From start to finish I was intrigued by the whole mystery surrounding Selkie island. Miranda, the main character, was a science loving, down-to-earth girl. I really liked her persona and automatically connected with her. She was very different compared to the other girly, easy-going girls. I liked that she had this tomboy vibe and didn't feel the need to change herself unless she wanted to. Now, the plot teased me with questions until the moment Leo arrived. I sort of forgot the mystery and just focused on his endearing, magnetic and charming ways. I seriously had butterflies whenever Miranda was around him. I felt like I knew exactly what Miranda was going through since Aimee did a great job expressing the emotions radiating off of their connection. Another aspect of the novel I enjoyed unraveling was the secrets behind Miranda's grandmother. It was exciting finding out about someone's history that was kept sealed for so many years. My only complaint was unfortunately the ending. It was a good and understandable way of ending the story. However, I wanted something more. I felt like their wasn't any closure since it was left open ended. Overall though, I really enjoyed this tale of romance, secrets and heart-melting discoveries. I recommend this book if you're looking for the perfect book to read on the beach. Trust me, you'll get lost in the story and the background sounds of the crashing waves will be icing on the cake!
Tori_J More than 1 year ago
I was drawn to this book by its cover and the review it got from this site. I don't feel the same as those who's reviews persuaded me to pick up this book. Now before I get too far I must admit I didn't actually finish this book BUT I had three chapters to go and I didn't feel like the story even started yet. The characters are not very detailed and not very complex. And after more than half way through the book the idea of this Leo character being a 'merman' was brought up once. The story seems to mostly be about some rich kids that vacation to the island at summer, kids that we are not supposed to like. And her mother and her mother's old boyfriend. Not exactly what I was looking for. You may feel different buy I wasn't impressed.
Ashlbee More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book less for what it is, and more because if what the series COULD be. This book was sort of like a set up for an even better story in the future, and the author has stated she intends to write a sequel, so I am holding out a lot of hope. From a character standpoint, while some people have found them flat and derail the mother's change in character as random and ill-fitting, I don't agree. I think part of the point of this books is how people are greatly affected by their past, it utterly shapes who we are as people, and everyone, whether a brainy teenage girl or an all-business middle-aged mother, are constantly in the process of defining ourselves and re-inventing who we are. This story is hardly original though. It is the typical coming of age tale, young love, etc., but it toys with a good concept and the reader is never really sure if the mystery it presents is fantastical and magical or not. Hence, I believe a sequel would be great. From a mystery standpoint, you'll be disappointed because none of the big AH HA! light bulb moments are expected, and the story is pretty slow for most of the book. If you are reading this book for the potential of mythical aquatic beings, merfolk, etc., this story balances on the precipce of whether they exist or not, and never falls one way or the other. HOWEVER, again, I think the sequel will delve into the magical. That is the impression I get. Overall, if you are considering this book, I would wait to see if, in fact, a sequel is written, read the sequel's reviews, and THEN decide if you want to read this book.
soccerxfreak More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. When I was little I loved mermaids and the ocean. This book was really good. I read it in like a day haha. It was pretty different than all the other books I have read, which I liked. I would reccommend this book to anyone! and you'll fall in love with Leo right away!
BookNerd28 More than 1 year ago
This book was very well written. I fell in love with the main character quickly and her narration pulled you in. Great, satisfying ending. A must read for the summer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wordforteens More than 1 year ago
Sea Change was the perfect book for me to kick start my summer with. After all, how much more summer fun can you get then a book with mermaids?! (Er, mermen.) Miranda reminded me a bit of Temperance Brennan from Bones when the book first starts out. She's very science oriented, focused, all logic, ignoring the few emotions that flutter through her brain. Selkie Island - and more importantly, the very alluring Leo that comes with it. I liked Leo. He knew how to hide his secret and still manage to be awesome. I loved the side characters as well - CeeCee was entertaining (we all know a girl like that) and I'm a sucker for the 'English lord' type, so I liked the scenes with T.J., even though he SO wasn't right for Miranda. I didn't like how fast Miranda moved with both boys. Even with the actions of the girls around her, it was out of character. She went from seeming like this brilliant potential student to an immature, uncertain girl who was just going to do whatever those around her did. And as much as I like Leo, and got the whole chemistry bit, I hate when characters just plop into love. But I felt as if Leo and I were beyond dating. We were in antoher category now, one that couldn't really be defined. That's your first official date with him. Um. No.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved, loved, loved it!
Starryblue More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful summer read. I thought this Sea Change was amazing. Normally I'm not drawn toward books that deal with mythology about sea creatures, but for some reason this book just captivated my interest. I hope there will be a sequel to Sea Change because I did not like the result of Miranda and Leo's relationship. It's probably just me but I prefer to read happy ever endings in books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The sea change was really good i thought it need more book
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Many are drawn to Selkie Island. Few know why. The whirlwind of events that brought sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant to the island, away from her sensible summer plans in New York City, are unlikely but they make enough sense. Her mother has inherited a house that needs to be gone through and emptied. Logical enough. And so much more realistic than any fairytale happy ending. But Selkie Island is a messy place that quickly blurs the lines between past and present and, more startling for Miranda, between reality and legend. Lore about mythical creatures and her own family's past pervade the island filling the dense air with mystery and a charge Miranda's logical mind can't grasp. Soon enough everything Miranda thought she knew about her own family, her basic reality, and love is turned upside down when she meets Leo, a local boy with his own breezy, otherworldly charm. Miranda will have to sort through the facts, and the myths, to find the truth and maybe even her own happy ending in Sea Change (2009) by Aimee Friedman. Sea Change is subtle and exquisite. Thoroughly grounded in Miranda's scientific, logical head the story practically vibrates with tension as she works to reconcile what her mind knows to be impossible with what her heart might already know to be true. Friedman has already written a lot of great books, some of them bestsellers, but this one might be her best to date. Friedman seamlessly integrates scientific references, seaside lore, and family to create a clever, romantic book with delightful characters and a setting evocative enough that some readers might finish this book only to find sand between their toes. On top of all that, Miranda is a smart, grounded heroine who has a strong sense of self even at her lowest. No vampire's here, but anyone looking for a thinking girl's answer to Twilight need look no further. Possible Pairings: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson, Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan, Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It would be better if it was longer if it doesnt have a sequel then it really isnt worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Idk why but i can tell this romance story could have great potential
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago