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Tween Tuesday: Keeper by Kathi Appelt

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. Post the link to your own Tween Tuesday post and join in the fun!

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary with some fantasy mixed in

Release Date: 5/4/2010

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About the Book: Keeper is out in a boat on a blue moon night hoping to find her mermaid mother. You see, Keeper needs her mermaid mother's help. The perfect blue moon day has gone terribly wrong and Keeper needs to right all the wrongs that happened. So she sets out to find the mermaid mother that left her seven years ago. With BD (Best Dog) and Captain (a seagull), Keeper travels into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But will she find what she's looking for? Will the terrible day be fixed? And can magic really save the day?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: Keeper is a quite beautifully written and lyrical book. Although the book comes in at 400 pages, the chapters are short and the pages read quickly, so the book never feels too daunting.

The plot jumps around from present day to past and from this evening to earlier that morning. We slowly see Keeper's story unfold and see what went so terribly wrong on her blue moon day to make Keeper end up in a boat in the middle of the night. Not only do we get Keeper's story, but we are introduced to a cast of surrounding characters-from humans to animals-and we get to know their stories as well. There are three main stories that connect together as one and it's not just the humans that help tell these stories but their animals as well, which I thought gave the book a unique touch. (Now if you know me, you know I'm always nervous to read books with animals, but I can give Keeper my stamp of approval for animal lovers!)

Although the book is marketed to tweens, the writing and the story feels a bit more advanced, so I think Keeper would make a perfect book to hand those advanced tweens who complain that children's books are "too easy." There's also something about this book with the lyrical writing that begs to be read aloud.

While not a fairy tale exactly, there are some fairy tale type aspects to it, so I think readers who enjoy a bit of magic in their stories will enjoy Keeper.

Book Pairings: I think Keeper would pair nicely with Savvy by Ingrid Law (another contemporary book with magic), or Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord


  1. I enjoyed the magical feeling and lyrical writing of Keeper, but it was one of those books I thought was written more for the Newbury committee than for kids.

  2. I LOVED The Underneath. Haven't read Keeper yet, but I know the writing will be wonderful as well!

  3. Alison-I felt that way a bit too. It did take awhile for the story to pick up, so I think readers have to be patient with it and it's something I think that advanced readers would stick with and understand-I think it has a narrow audience within the tween group.

  4. This story looks good, but it sounds like it's more one of those tween books that adults fawn over and kids find kind of boring. Have your library kids enjoyed this one? I am curious about the multiple narrators and non-linear timeline.

  5. Small Review-I'm not sure about the tweens at my library. Our copies have been checked out, but I think they might be getting checked out by adults and librarians reading mock Newbery lists. I haven't heard anyone really talk about it at the library, so there's no buzz about it at my branch.

    I think there might be some tween readers for it, but I think it's more appealing to older readers. But the voice is so young, I don't know many teens or older tweens who would pick it up.

    That's why I think it works better as a read aloud-the adult can stick with it and explain things to the readers that might not understand.

  6. Hm, I wonder if it will show up on the Newbery list. I've got this on my shelf and still haven't read it :)

  7. Thanks for your response. If you do get any kids' opinions, I'd be interested in hearing about them.

    Read aloud sounds like a good compromise for a book like this. Especially given that you said it moves quickly and has short chapters.


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