Ah, the summer job. A classic coming-of-age experience for many teens — a chance to learn responsibility, gain new skills, and earn some extra clams. My first job back in high school was, of course, shelving books at my hometown library. No surprise there, right?
But some teens have more unusual part-time jobs. BookRiot even made a list of YA books featuring unique teen work experiences, from Ren Faire face painter/serving wench to funeral home assistant. But the most holy-squid-that’s-awesome-sounding job was featured in Like Water, by Rebecca Podos, about a girl whose summer job is performing as a water park mermaid in New Mexico.
What could be more amazing than being paid to play mermaid all day? As much as I enjoyed working at the library, actually getting to live out my fantasies would’ve been a dream!
Even more awesomely, Like Water isn’t the only book to feature mermaid performers. Beth Mayall beat Rebecca Podos to it with Mermaid Park, back in 2005, and more recently, David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli collaborated on Fish Girl, a graphic novel about an actual mermaid performing at a boardwalk aquarium.
This is not to say that I entirely loved all three books; they do have their issues, but at least the mermaid bits were a ton of fun.
So! If you feel like taking a break from your own summer jobs to vicariously experience the world of Real Life Mermaids, follow me!