Wednesday, October 5, 2011

REVIEW: Keeper by Kathi Appelt

Rating: 4/5 Stars
Audience: Middle Grade/Tween
Genres: Magical Realism

Ten-year-old Keeper believes in wishes and magic, and truly thinks her long-lost mother is a mermaid. She’s safe and happy living in a small, close-knit Gulf Coast community with her guardian Signe and an extended family made up of eccentric neighbors and pets. But on the day of the blue moon, everything goes wrong. Keeper makes a series of mistakes that angers everyone she loves and the only solution she can think of is to find her magical mother to ask for help. Setting off alone to find a mermaid could be dangerous, but Keeper has a plan and her dog BD and Captain the seagull for company. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned. 

Tracy's Thoughts:
It has been months since I first read this book, and yet thinking of this charming tale still puts a smile on my face. The setting is beautifully and evocatively drawn, and a hint of magic runs throughout. It's not a fairy tale, but there is a dreamy, nostalgic quality to Appelt's writing that is similar. From the beginning, I doubted Keeper's belief in magic and mermaids, but her faith had me constantly thinking "what if?" Between Keeper's rich imagination and Appelt's lyric writing style, even the most common things are lent a measure of magic. 

Keeper is a clever, loveable girl with a unique personality. In fact, all of Appelt's characters in this wonderfully written book have a distinct personality and history—even BD and Captain! Keeper contains several flashbacks and is narrated from multiple perspectives, which may challenge some younger readers, but the payoff is definitely worth it. There are actually several storylines woven together here, though Keeper's adventure remains central. One set of flashbacks involves Keeper and Signe's neighbor and good friend Mr. Beauchamps, an older gentleman with regrets about a youthful romance and missed chances. His relationship with another young man is mostly implied and contains nothing objectionable for young readers, but some readers/parents might want to be aware of this small piece of the overall storyline.

This is a very quiet book. The action builds slowly, only gradually reaching a point where the tension is so high that I actually, literally, held my breath as I turned the pages. I was genuinely worried about the characters, as if they were real people that I knew. Going into too much detail would ruin this enchanting story of family, love, and secrets—but if you enjoy vivid settings, a touch of nerve-wracking adventure, and colorful characters, this book is a rewarding, unforgettable read. It is especially good for thoughtful tweens who consider most middle grade fiction too childish.

Keeper is one of the featured titles in our Fall Giveaway Event!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...