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Month in review

Reviews:
Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Babies on the Go by Linda Ashman
The Balloon Boy of San Francisco by Dorothy Kupcha Leland
Bandits of the Trace by Albert E. Cowdrey
The Book That Eats People by John Perry and Mark Fearing
Buffalo Before Breakfast (Magic Tree House #18) by Mary Pope Osborne
The Clue of the Tapping Heels by Carolyn Keene
Coraline by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell
Crogan's Vengeance by Chris Schweizer
Do Not Open This Book! by Michaela Muntean
Dragon's Teeth by Alex Irvine
Keys to the City by Joel Kostman
Guy Time by Sarah Weeks
Immaculate Deception by Courtney J. Webb
Is There a Monster Over There? by Sally O Lee
Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty
Letters to Rosy by C. Ellene Bartlett
The Man Who Lost His Head by Claire Huchet Bishop
Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House #3) by Mary Pope Osborne
My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath
Out of Time by John Marsden
Promotion Denied by Joseph W. Hoffler
Scary Party by Sue Hendra
Scat by Carl Hiaasen
The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis
Shadows on the Walls of the Cave by Kate Wilhelm
Shriek: An Afterword by Jeff VanderMeer
Swim to Me by Betsy Carter
Tigers at Twilight (Magic Tree House #19) by Mary Pope Osborne
The Travesties by Giselle Renarde
War, Women and the News by Catherine Gourley
The Wing on a Flea by Ed Emberley

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Swim to Me

Swim to Me cover art (Link goes to Powells)Swim to Me: 04/20/10

Delores Walker in Swim to Me by Betsy Carter loves to swim and is enchanted one summer by the mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs. She decides to leave her home in the Bronx after her father abandons the family to become a mermaid herself. She reinvents herself as Delores Taurus as the Springs is trying to do the same in the shadow of the recently opened Walt Disney World.

The Walt Disney World plot point is the weakest and most distracting part of an otherwise charming coming of age novel. Yes, both places still exist and yes, Walt Disney World was opened in 1971 but the book makes it sound like Walt Disney himself is threatening to close Week Wachee Springs. First of all, he couldn't have done it himself as he died in 1966 of congestive heart failure brought on by invasive lung cancer. Secondly, the company itself was in a bit of a managerial blackhole as Walt hadn't named a successor. The park in Florida was completed because the company had so much invested in the project; it would have been financial suicide to pull out. Walt Disney Productions (yet to me renamed The Walt Disney Company) was not the powerhouse in 1971 that it is today. Finally the two parks are separated by roughly 90 miles of driving along a state highway. That happens to be the same distance between Sea World in San Diego and Disneyland in Anaheim; they are worlds apart and completely different tourist destinations.


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Now back to the book. Ignoring the glaring anachronisms in a minor subplot, the book is basically a coming of age story about a young woman with an extraordinary talent for swimming and the drive to make herself something more than she is at first glance: a scared and homesick girl from the Bronx. Her mentor in the book is a washed out Mermaid, turned owner of the resort who reminds me quite favorably of Lily Charles from Pushing Daisies.

There are quirky characters and silly turns in the plot reminiscent of Big Fish and any number of Carl Hiaasen's books (also set in Florida). I liked the mixture of real life albeit wacky setting, odd ball characters and crazy schemes. Were it not for the lingering Walt Disney errata, I would have given the book a 5 out of 5 on Goodreads.

The worst part of this plot thread is that it is completely unnecessary to the book.

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Comment #1: Wednesday, April, 21, 2010 at 17:59:11

Jennifer @ Mrs. Q: Book Addict

Great review. I didn't know that much about Disney World. As for the book, it does sound interesting. I haven't heard of it before.



Comment #2: Friday, April 23, 2010 at 21:48:57

Pussreboots

Disney World is a very minor plot point in the book.



Comment #3: Wednesday, May, 5, 2010 at 13:57:27

Lisamm

You liked it a lot more than I did!! It was way too cornball for me. But not horrible or offensive. Just ok, I guess.



Comment #4: Friday, May 7, 2010 at 12:57:35

Pussreboots

The cornball aspect was the main appeal for me.