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Keeper Audiobook, by Kathi Appelt Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Kathi Appelt Narrator: Kathi Appelt Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2010 ISBN: 9780743599542
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,434 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Adrift in the ocean in search of mermaid, mother, and myth—a breathtaking, magical novel from Newbery Honoree and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt.

Keeper was born in the ocean, like a dolphin, like a Minke whale—like a mermaid. That’s what Keeper was told, and that’s what she believes. But, what if being born in the middle of the night, in the middle of the waves, isn’t so much about being part mermaid as it is about being the daughter of a woman who is unpredictable, wild, and uncommonly gorgeous, a woman who swam away when Keeper was three—a mermaid? That’s what Singe says and what Keeper believes. So when this ten-year-old goes out looking for her mother, she heads right for the ocean and the sandbar where mermaids are known to gather. But her boat is too small for the storm that is brewing on the horizon.

Kathi Appelt’s follow-up to The Underneath is a stunning, mysterious, and breathless tale of outgrowing fairytales just a little to late—and learning in the end that there is nothing more magical and mythical than love itself. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Appelt unfurls Keeper’s magical story slowly, looking back over Keeper’s day and forward to her longed-for reunion with the mother…The point of view shifts between characters human, animal, and otherwise…Texas’s Gulf Coast, alive with Cajun spice and superstition, provides a mysterious haven for them all. A narrative thread based on a tender love story between two teenage boys may draw controversy, but Appelt masterfully balances themes of loss and renewal and demonstrates that magic works in unexpected ways. In so doing, she has written another keeper.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

  • “Keeper is funny, feisty, at times older than her years, and often so stubborn that readers will have to shake their heads. In other words, quite realistic. The adults in the story are beautifully drawn, and absolutely believable, and the Gulf Coast setting is practically a character itself. The tender romance between two teenaged boys years earlier is hinted at, and it is sensitively portrayed, as is the romance between Keeper’s guardian, Signe, and the damaged former soldier, Dogie. Filled with love, wild adventure, family drama, and even a touch of true fantasy, this is a deeply satisfying tale.”

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Deftly spinning together mermaid lore, local legend, and natural history, this stunning tale proves ‘every landscape has its magical beings’ and the most unlikely ones can form a perfect family…Beautiful and evocative—an absolute ‘keeper.’”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Appelt creates a magical tale that will evoke thought and wonder. This should be read with care by mature readers, as some of the material is quite adult, including sensitive references to homosexuality.”

    Children’s Literature

  • “A complex plot structure, varying points of view, subtle symbolism, and allusions to classics, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories to old sea legends, make for a literary exploration of the search for love and meaning that will absorb and reward patient, thoughtful readers.”


  • “The author’s honeyed voice recounts her story of Keeper…mix[ing] sea lore and family drama….Full of flashbacks and gentle humor, this is a keeper.”


  • A Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Children

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 2/17/2014

    " I read this book in a rush, not wanting to stop reading and not wanting it to end. When I reached the end, I did what has happened only a very few times in my life. I turned back to page 1 and started reading all over again. This book has lovable, quirky and unique characters. It has gorgeous lyrical language. It has magic realism. It has heart. It has dramatic tension. In short, it's one of the best books I've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz | 2/16/2014

    " Magical. Voice isn't quite as much a part of the story as in The Underneath. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tess | 2/7/2014

    " I loved the underneath and enjoyed this book so much "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Isela | 1/25/2014

    " Slow start, however it does pick up after a while. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 1/14/2014

    " Being a big fan of mermaids and having a small collection of mermaid pieces, I was excited about reading Kathi Appelt's novel, Keeper. I can happily say that it is a delightful read in which the possibility of mermaids and other magical occurrences capture your imagination and take it to a place of suspended belief. Another of my favorite objects, the full moon, is in play in this tale, too. In fact, it is a blue moon, the second full moon of a month, and I had just experienced a blue moon when I started reading this story. It's as if the heavens were aligned, which only increased my pleasure in the reading. Keeper is a 10-year-old girl who lives along the coast of Texas on an isolated oyster shell road at the foot of a salt grass marsh and narrow beach. There are only four human inhabitants, including her, on this small stretch, and none of them are blood-related. However, not only blood makes family, which is one of the precious truths to be gleaned from this sweet, sweet novel. Besides Keeper, there is Signe, Keeper's mother figure since age 3 and who left her native Iowa ten years back for a better life ; Dogie, a lost soul who ends up finding his peace in this "other-world" after serving in the combat; and Mr. Beauchamp, an elderly gentleman originally from France who is waiting on something or someone. There are the charming animals that include B.D. (Best Dog), Captain the tame seagull, Too (Best Dog Too), and the one-eyed cat Sinbad. The characters, both human and animal are ones that the reader wishes to know, and through Appelt's fine writing, a most satisfying knowledge is achieved. On the night of the magical "blue moon," Keeper undertakes a dangerous journey into the waters of the Gulf to try to set right the disasters of the day for which she holds herself responsible. It seems everyone's plans for a most special night have been shattered as a result of the crabs for Signe's crab gumbo calling out to Keeper to be set free. There follows a domino effect of disasters, and Keeper feels only her connection to mermaids will turn her upside-down world upright again. Everyone on Oyster Ridge Road will be forever changed by the bravery of one small girl. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amanda | 1/5/2014

    " In this story, Keeper is trying to contact her mermaid mother for help to put right certain things that have gone wrong. The story was slow, but not spellbinding like The Underneath. Overall I was very disappointed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 12/18/2013

    " In an almost mythical story, Keeper, who believes her mother is a mermaid, sets off in a boat in the middle of a blue moon night with only her dog to find her mother and ask her what to do about all the messes she created that day. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Smrithi | 12/16/2013

    " this book is good but can get confusing and is not well explained,in a way it makes sense but the entire time the only solid peice of information is that the girl is following a gut feeling that her mom is calling her from the definetly could have been MUCH better "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 11/22/2013

    " I liked the story, and I liked the characters a lot. Sweet, strong voice. Read really slow for me, though. The writing seemed repetitive. Might have to think more about this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annika | 11/27/2012

    " It was ok. I didn't like part of it but I won't say it because of spoilers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donalyn | 10/25/2012

    " This is a beautifully written book about love, loss, family, and the secret lives of animals. Appelt's book reads like a love letter to the Texas coast. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nabi | 7/15/2012

    " I thought the book was too long (hence the 3 stars), but I enjoyed learning about all the characters and their backgrounds. It made me happy with how the author chose to finish the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elisha | 3/26/2012

    " Great summer read for upper elementary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharry | 12/16/2011

    " Loved, loved, loved this book. That's it. I loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janssen | 10/6/2011

    " Not my favorite. I'm afraid her books just aren't really for me. I love the lyrical writing, but there are just too many points of view, too many odd things, and too much meandering. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irene | 7/30/2011

    " Keeper is such an exuberant character! I especially enjoyed the changing points of view in this story. And when I read how Keeper got her name?? Oh boy that got me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jess | 5/13/2011

    " I liked this book a lot, might have liked it even better if I had read it all at once, I read it over a long period of time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 L | 5/13/2011

    " After a disasterous day Keeper searches for her mermaid mother hoping she will help her. For fans of Because of Winn Dixie and Bud not Buddy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lydia | 5/13/2011

    " I loved the way Appelt weaved in diverse family households, varied relationships, mythical creatures, the strength and love of animals, and played with Keeper...this book is a "keep her." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 4/21/2011

    " Good story. Would be good to give to girls who have read Aquamarine. I enjoyed very much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelby | 4/8/2011

    " i sooo loved this AMAZING book!!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathy | 4/5/2011

    " A slow start, but Appelt ultimately weaves a beautiful, lyrical story about a girl called "Keeper." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aly | 3/22/2011

    " Appelt did a good job in evoking a place, and there were some really nice descriptive bits. I felt the slow pacing enhanced the feeling of waiting (for the tide, for a mermaid mother), but it seemed an odd choice for a children's book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jaybird:) | 3/19/2011

    " So far, It's a really good book!:) I can't wait to 'dive' into it again!:D "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liddy | 3/16/2011

    " I liked this. Keeper struggled to figure out what family is and where she belongs. I found the middle long, and had conflicting feelings about how the author conveyed the inner thoughts of many of the animals-- the cat, the dog, the seagull. Overall, though, I liked it. "

About the Author

Kathi Appelt is the author of the bestselling novel The Underneath, a Newbery Honor winner, National Book Award finalist, and PEN USA Literary Award winner; the highly acclaimed novel Keeper; and many picture books. She is a member of the faculty in Vermont College’s Master of Fine Arts program and occasionally teaches creative writing at Texas A&M University. She lives in Texas with her husband.