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Extended Audio Sample Keeper, by Kathi Appelt Click for printable size audiobook cover
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) Author: Kathi Appelt Narrator: Kathi Appel Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 fairy tales just a little too late—and learning in the end that there is nothing more magical and mythical than love itself.

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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 Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by Tess Hilmo | 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 by Isela | 1/25/2014

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

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