Synopsis: Emily Windsnap has always lived on a houseboat on the water, but never learned to swim. As she reaches her twelfth year, Emily convinces her mother to let her take swimming lessons. When she does, Emily discovers great joy - and terror. She's extraordinarily good at swimming, but her legs lock together and she is unable to move them. Although terrified to go back into the water, she wants to know what happened, so she sneaks out at night and tries to swim again. Her legs lock up again, but this time, she learns why - in the water, Emily becomes a mermaid! Suddenly, a whole world opens up to Emily complete with merpeople, shipwrecks, and even the real fate of her long-lost father.
Assessment: It is probably few girls who have not dreamed of being a mermaid. Here in Emily, our dreams can swim freely! Kessler does a good job describing the confusion and exhileration Emily feels at learning her true identity, as well as introducing us to new friends, merpeople culture, and school. The mystery of what indeed happened to her father keeps the story moving briskly, although I didn't find the means of how Emily's mother was tricked into forgetting her former life very believable. Still, it ends happily and wondering what will happen next to Emily, her family, and her new friends.