MERANDA AND THE LEGEND OF THE LAKE

Eleven-year-old Meranda hasn’t been back to Cape Breton since she was tiny, but when her uncle dies, her overprotective parents have to bring her along for the funeral. Meranda’s prepared to love the little fishing town where she was born—one that is obsessed with mermaids, from the mermaid gift shop to a famous mermaid clock to its many mermaid legends. But Cape Breton’s an odd place, with locals who hush up whenever Meranda enters a room and old folks furious at her family for no sensible reason. Moreover, Meranda, who has cerebral palsy and walks with crutches, is beyond frustrated with her mother’s constant paranoia, especially about the water. What the heck is going on in this town? The adults act like mermaids are real, and they call her Mer-girl and miracle baby. Meranda thinks the mystery should be thrilling, but the locals are frighteningly irrational. Characters appear to be White, although Meranda has noticeably darker skin, hair, and eyes than her parents. A disability-as-magic thread is mercifully a feint but is resolved far too late for Meranda—who reads from the start as probably-magic—to develop within the story as a nonsupernatural, naturally disabled, and naturally cool human being.

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