Swim to Me
By Leigh
Jan 1, 2009 - 7:36:07 AM

When Delores Walker is fourteen, she and her parents take a road trip from their native New York City to Florida, where Delores sees what is to her the most spectacular thing on earth: the aquatic performers at Weeki Wachee Springs.  Delores has a deep love and affinity for swimming, and is mesmerized by the beautiful “mermaids” water show.  Becoming a mermaid is now Delores’ greatest dream.

Back home in the Bronx, the Walker family finds that something other than Delores’ new ambition began on their vacation; baby West joins the family nine months later.  When the Walker parent’s arguments come to a final showdown that ends with her father leaving for good, Delores finds herself needing a job to help support her mom and brother.  Fearing that she’s destined to follow her mother’s footsteps rather than her own dreams, Delores takes a chance and writes to Weeki Wachee Springs in hopes of a job and a future.


A few months later, heartbroken at leaving Westie, scared of being on her own, but determined to make it, Delores travels to Florida.  At the age of sixteen, Delores achieves her dream and becomes a mermaid.  On her own for the first time, Delores struggles to find her place and herself.


SWIM TO ME is a heartwarming and entertaining coming-of-age story.  Author Betsy Carter cleverly captures the early 1970’s era, blending the changing Florida landscape and women’s emerging roles in the workplace with Delores’ story.  Delores herself is as authentic as her bellbottoms, showing the blend of maturity and innocence teen’s still possessed in this decade.  While SWIM TO ME contains hints of a romance, this story is better categorized as a young adult novel – but adults and teens alike will be enchanted by the quirky and insightful Delores’ tale.

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