Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review: Keeper by Kathi Appelt

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.
Keeper by Kathi Appelt
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: May 2010
ISBN: 9781416950608
Source: ARC provided by publisher


Keeper was betting on the blue moon day to be one of the best in her life.  But, when things don't go at all as planned, she sets off on an adventure to find her mermaid mother, who will make everything ok again.  But, when her small boat is sucked out to sea instead, she will find herself even more alone than she thought and wondering just where her mother could be.  Will she find what she's looking for?

Things I Liked:
This was a sweet and imaginative story.  Keeper is a fun character and I loved watching the story of her disastrous day play out a little at a time.  I remember feeling like the end of the world came every time you did something wrong and your parents were angry.  The magical realism elements and fantasy were fun too - I liked hearing things from the "beasts" point of view and also the don't-know-if-it's-true-or-not mermaid parts.  Appelt does a nice job of combining real stories with just enough magic to make us wonder what is true and what's fantasy.  She has such a distinctive style and voice that reminds you of just how a child might think and speak.  It is a little like the voice in Savvy and The Girl Who Could Fly.  Here are some favorite parts:

Over the years BD had found a while host of missing objects - the odd sock, a misplaced spoon, the tiny key to the lock on Keeper's diary, one of Signe's peace-sign earrings, loose pages of homework.  He also found other things, things that weren't missing until he found them, like one-of-a-kind seashells and tiny abandoned puppies, including Too, who was adopted by Dogie, their next-door neighbor.  He even found shooting stars and stripey geckos, things that came and went.  But right now BD wasn't so much a finder dog as a worry dog.  p 31 of ARC
Now a fear as deep as the ocean zipped through Keeper's body, her biggest fear ever, one so deep, she knew not to ever, ever say it out loud, not ever.  And then today, it had crawled out of her like an ugly toad: If a girl's own mother can swim away, what would keep everyone else from leaving too, especially if that same girl caused so much trouble?  p 105 of ARC
Things I Didn't Like:
I think the part that didn't work so well for me was all the stories going on at once.  There was a lot of skipping around in perspective and place and time.  I didn't care very much for the adults' stories and thought some of them were a little extraneous and didn't really move Keeper's story forward.  Also, the present story's action felt like it was moving so slowly that I got bored sometimes too.  I think kids who love longer fantasy or magical realism books might like it, but it might turn off others who are looking for a little more action. 

Savvy by Ingrid Law

The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ***

Any thoughts about magical realism?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Sounds like a sweet story. I haven't read either of the read-alikes. Sigh! One day.

  2. Jenny, I know - too many books for such a short time as one lifespan :)

  3. Will add this to my/our to read list for the book club . Loved both Savy and Girl Who Could Fly! Thanks.

  4. Deb, oh I hope you love this one as well. Though it is a bit different than those two books, they do have some similarities.

  5. Thanks, Melissa! Adding to my to-order list, hah, the list which is now a book!


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