This is a feelings-heavy book, engineered to tug on your heartstrings, and not really in my wheelhouse. I prefer to read action books, where characters go places and do stuff. Sci-fi/fantasy. But I've read the author's other two books (Summer Reading: A Big Heart and as a Holiday Pick in 2018, Awesome Tear-Jerkers) and enjoyed them. I must admit, this time a bit of me was reading for the possibility of meeting the mermaid, which, depending on how you interpret the text, either does or does not appear at the end. I'll leave it up to you to read and decide.
In any case, I was dry-eyed until the big reveal, which struck kind of close to home (literally) and features a parent lying and behaving in a very -- what's the word I'm looking for here? Mean? Maybe more like completely insensitive to a child's grief and grieving process? What's the word for that? -- way to create the conflict for the book.
So, that being said, this is the story of 12-year-old Hazel Bly, who is hopping around the US with her mom, after her other mom dies in a kayaking accident with Hazel. Hazel blames herself for her mother's death. Her mom finally meets another woman, a childhood BF, who also has a daughter Hazel's age, and as the two women fall in love, Hazel has to decide how to process her grief. Is there space in her heart to welcome someone else, who makes her mom happy? Or will Hazel be stuck in the past forever?
Pull up a box of tissues and enjoy.