- Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing (February 14, 2017)
Elise Faulkner is more at home in the waters of her beloved Lake Michigan than on land where her beauty queen mom is always on her back about her lack of a social life; her sister is dating the boy of her dreams; her favorite penpal–the one who wrote about mermaids in Ghana–has gotten married and ended their correspondence; and no one’s allowed to talk about her glamorous great-grandmother, the deep-sea wreck diver. Elise is biding her time with books until she can flee. But then crazy Chiara Hanover pops into her life, as does Miguel, a mysterious carnival worker whose dark future has been predicted by a gypsy.
Buy, read, and discuss The Mermaids of Lake Michigan
Suzanne Kamata was born and raised in Grand Haven, Michigan. She is most recently from Lexington, South Carolina, and now lives in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan with her husband and two children. Her short stories, essays, articles and book reviews have appeared in over 100 publications including Real Simple, Brain, Child, Crab Orchard Review, and The Japan Times. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times, and received a Special Mention in 2006. She is also a two-time winner of the All Nippon Airways/ Wingspan Fiction Contest, winner of the Paris Book Festival Award, and winner of the Half the World Global Literati Award for the novel.
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Like the main character of The Mermaids of Lake Michigan, Elise, I spent a lot of my teen years with my nose in a book, not bothering to be part of the social activities at my school. Like Elise, I am happiest when I’m in the water. But unlike Elise, I’m not a fictional character growing up in the midwest, and my own coming-of-age was vastly different than hers.
Still, I found the entire novel quite engaging. Elise is a relatable narrator, and the mixture of innocence and candor in her story captured my attention from the first page, and kept me reading to the last.
While this novel is Elise’s story, I found the arcs of the other characters who were spotlighted just as compelling. Amanda, the younger sister who is more advanced socially, Chiara, the wild best friend, and even Julia, Elise’s mother, whose secrets come out slowly, as her daughter discovers them.
It is this focus on the women in the piece that I found truly interesting about Kamata’s book. Certainly men are present – Elise’s father, Miguel, the gypsy she meets at the carnival, Chiara and Amanda’s respective boyfriends – but they are incidental, used to illustrate the changes in their female counterparts, more than fully-dimensional characters in their own right.
What results from this blend of honesty and exploration is a novel that feels both familiar and unfamiliar at once, like a long walk where there’s always something new and interesting around the next bend.
Tuesday, February 14th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, February 15th: Books and Bindings
Thursday, February 16th: Bibliotica
Friday, February 17th: Books ‘n Tea
Monday, February 20th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Tuesday, February 21st: Write Read Life
Wednesday, February 22nd: Reading is My Superpower
Wednesday, February 22nd: Just Commonly
Thursday, February 23rd: Ms. Nose in a Book
Friday, February 24th: Readaholic Zone
Monday, February 27th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, March 1st: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, March 2nd: Sweet Southern Home
Friday, March 3rd: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, March 6th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, March 7th: Dreams, Etc.
Thursday, March 9th: Art @ Home
Monday, March 13th: Wall-to-Wall Books
Wednesday, March 15th: Dreaming Big
Monday, March 20th: Patricia’s Wisdom