About the Book
A series of big storms flood the sea town where Camila lives and she finds a tiny, newborn mermaid in a puddle of water. Camila adopts her and names her Mermary. She tells no one, especially her mother, a marine biologist who would take the mermaid away for research and study. Camila is extremely shy and the mermaid becomes her only friend. She reads everything she can about mermaids and earns the nickname “The Mermaid Girl” from her classmates. She even starts to makes friends. Before long, rumors spread of a mermaid in the lake. Now Camila has to figure out how to protect Mermary not only from scientists but from people who want to do more than just catch a glimpse of a mermaid.
A Most Amazing Discovery
The day I found the mermaid it had been raining hard. The huge storms that caused some flooding were over. They weren’t bad enough to make us evacuate Luna Beach, but there was damage and everyone stayed away from the shore. The giant waves could sweep people and even cars into the sea.
I liked the storms. I loved looking at the rain from my bedroom window; hearing the howling wind and watching the enormous waves crash onto the beach and promenade. I got to wear my rubber boots every day. They were lime green with orange frogs and handles on the rims to pull them on. There were big pools of water, and sometimes I found shells and water-polished rocks, and once a little fish. I wanted to keep it but my mother wouldn’t let me.
“It’s a baby leopard shark,” she told me. “It’ll grow too big, and anyway, it’s wild and needs to live in the ocean.” She helped me catch it in a bucket, and then we carried it to the beach to set it free. I was sad, but my mother’s a marine biologist, so she knows what’s best for sea life.
We lived about a block away from the beach. At the lowest corner of our house was an open drain with a basin about four feet long and two feet wide to catch rainwater from the gutters. It was overflowing now, because the drain was clogged with mud and leaves. One day after school I stopped to look into it. There was something swimming around, long and thin, and looked like a greenish earthworm, but it had mossy seaweed on its head, and a couple of projections that it was using to swim.
I crouched down to get a better look. It swam away, down to the bottom, where it hid in a pale green eggshell. There were two halves, not quite broken apart, and the worm-creature was curled up inside it. When I picked it up, the creature wiggled out of the shell and dove back into the water, where it hid in the mud.
I couldn’t believe what I’d seen. It looked like a tiny mermaid!
The shell was smaller than a hen’s egg, and the color reminded me of light seen in a swimming pool, when you opened your eyes underwater. I put the shell back in the water and waited to see if the mermaid would come out again. She was moving, like she was trying to nestle down further into the mud.
“Camile!” my mother called. “Where are you, honey?”
After another long look, I picked up my books and went inside.