Excerpt: The Mermaids of Lake Michigan by Suzanne Kamata

About the Book:


Elise Faulkner is more at home in the waters of her beloved Lake Michigan than on land where her beauty queen mom is always on her back about her lack of a social life; her sister is dating the boy of her dreams; her favorite penpal–the one who wrote about mermaids in Ghana–has gotten married and ended their correspondence; and no one’s allowed to talk about her glamorous great-grandmother, the deep-sea wreck diver. Elise is biding her time with books until she can flee. But then crazy Chiara Hanover pops into her life, as does Miguel, a mysterious carnival worker whose dark future has been predicted by a gypsy.

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Featured in Feb/Mar 2017 Issue: Crossover Edition

If I had to declare the exact moment my life changed forever, I’d name a steamy July afternoon in my seventeenth year. It was a week after my little sister Amanda made her debut with the Grand Rapids Junior Ballet, and two weeks before the beginning of the carnival. I was holed up in my room, deeply engrossed in The Blood of Others, overcome by the tragic love of French Resistance fighters. Bullets were whizzing about my head. There might have been a soundtrack, too—violins or the plaint of piano keys.  I was caught up in the danger, the secrecy, the romance. Ooh, la la.

There was a knock on the door. I knew it was Mom. Amanda usually barged right in. Besides, she was still at her ballet lesson.

“What?” I called out, hoping my voice held the right note of irritation.

Mom opened the door and stepped into my room. I didn’t look at her, but I figured she was taking stock of the clothes lying in soft piles on the floor.

“Mrs. Churchill just called to invite you over for tea,” she said. “She wants you to meet her granddaughter.”

Mrs. Churchill was the widow who lived a few houses down and across the street from ours. These days I rarely saw her, and to me her life was as far away from mine as the moon is from earth. Mom, however, considered her a friend. They went to Bible study together at the Methodist church, and sometimes Mom brought her a loaf of freshly baked bread or a jar of homemade dill pickles.

    I kept my eyes focused on the book in front of me. “Tell her thanks, but no thanks.  I’m extremely busy with various activities.”

“Her name is Chiara. She’s the same age as you. In fact, you might be in some classes together this fall.”

“Oh, hell,” I muttered under my breath. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Plus, the idea of “tea” was just quaint enough to seem interesting. I wondered if there would be crumpets.

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