Two girls looking out at the sea in a mermaid frame

Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea / Ashley Herring Blake

Grieving the unexpected loss of her Mum in a tragic accident, Hazel Bly, her five year old sister Peach, and her Mama have traveled around the country for two years – always moving as soon as their lease is up. They have just moved again, this time to Rose Harbor, Maine for the summer. On their first night there, Peach wants to go down to the beach, but Hazel just wants to go back home to California. Hazel is both physically and emotionally scarred from the accident that took her Mum away. She keeps a fanny pack full of first aid supplies, refuses to get in the water, and is overly protective of Peach. While at the beach, Mama runs into a friend from childhood, Claire, and Claire’s daughter Lemon. They take the family to Claire’s restaurant for dinner, where Lemon tells Hazel and Peach about the mermaid that lives in the water, the Rose Maid. Claire says the mermaid is a myth, but Lemon believes she’s real, and shows Hazel all of the artwork in the restaurant dedicated to the Rose Maid. Hazel notes the resemblance between herself and this mystical creature, and she soon finds herself as fascinated with the mermaid as Lemon. Perhaps Rose Maid is just what Hazel needs to process her grief, connect with her peers, and find happiness again. Set in Maine, this book deals with grief, PTSD, and mother/daughter relationships; recommended for 4th graders and older.