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
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.,
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.