"Me? I don't swim. I move like a beached whale in this thing."
Meredith is a studious, serious girl about to enter senior year in high school. She hasn't yet decided which branch of science to study after graduation, but she's sure of one thing: she's going to spend as little time this summer as possible in the water. She's never cared for swimming, which could present some problems for her when she accompanies her friend Jill to an island community for a summer vacation.
"How do I act like a human-maid I know nothing about?"
Marina is a mer who has never ventured onto land prior to this summer. Against her better judgment, she allows her friend Lorelei to talk her into spending one day experiencing what it's like to live as a human--including walking about on legs. When her stay on dry land goes on longer than expected, though, she truly finds herself a fish-out-of-water.
"No, not swim. S-W-I-M. See. What. I. Mean. See what I mean?"
Hailey, a year-round resident of the island community, is Jill's cousin. She and her mother Susan are hosts to Jill and Meredith during their vacation, and always-enthusiastic Hailey can't wait to show Meredith around the island during her first visit. She has a great fondness for all things mermaid-related, and for texting acronyms. O-M-G!
“You know what I always say, Marina. Sink or swim.”
Lorelei, Marina's best friend and constant companion, is an adventurous spirit who loves to venture about on land. When Marina is forced to trade places with Meredith, Lorelei finds herself protector to Meredith--and Marina's tail.
"I’m in my school’s drama club, so from now on, let me handle the improv."
Jill is Hailey's cousin and Meredith's best friend. A drama student, Jill hopes to be an actress some day, and her improvisation skills might come in handy when the girls' summer doesn't end up going as scripted.
“You are smart. Are all humans as smart as you?”
Barney is a naive, eager, talkative, and sometimes clingy merboy. After inadvertently learning Meredith's true identity, can he become a friend who will keep her secret?
“So, you’re passing this girl off as Meredith? Pretty clever of you, Sis.”
Jeff, Jill's athletic older brother, has just graduated from high school, and turns up unannounced at Hailey's house for the Fourth of July. He knows Jill's friend Meredith--and he knows that the pretty blonde isn't Meredith--so he could complicate the girls' plans.
"I’m going to suspect that something fishy is going on with her."
Susan is Hailey's mother, Jill's aunt, and a dear friend of Meredith's mother. She's looking forward to meeting Meredith for the first time and opening up her home to her--or whomever it is that Hailey and Jill have been harboring there.
“Never in my years did I expect to meet a human in the ocean. With a mer's tail, as well.”
Finn is Lorelei's father and the advance scout for the school of mermaids. He has been Marina's guardian since she was an infant. Though he is willing to help Meredith change back, he commands that she wait until the next full moon.
“And remember what they say, Meredith. Curiosity killed the catfish.”
The Mean Girl of the sea, Calliope is the daughter of the all-powerful leader of the mer school. Armed with her loyal followers, there's nothing Calliope would like better than to cause trouble for Marina--or any of her friends.
“I thought I was smart at all this, but what you did back there? Wow.”
Will is in the summer internship program at the aquarium along with Meredith. Though he can rattle off the scientific names of all the animals there, he lacks experience and initially shies away from getting his hands wet. Maybe with some expert tutelage, he can become better prepared for further study in marine biology.
“How did I end up in a program with the two biggest dorks in the world?”
Brittany is the third intern at the aquarium. Often with a disparaging remark for Will and Meredith, she doesn’t show any interest or knowledge regarding the animals in the aquarium or marine biology in general. She often breaks the rules and turns up in unexpected locations in the aquarium, but what is she rebelling against?
“I’ve never seen anyone, student or colleague, so innately intuitive when it comes to our aquatic friends.”
Dr. Hatcher is the marine biologist that supervises the interns at the aquarium. He is friendly and well-respected in his field, and he genuinely cares about all ocean life. He’s impressed by Meredith’s performance in the program, but how would he react if he knew why she’s that way?
“If you are a human in disguise—and for your sake, I hope you are not...”
Ray is the leader of the school of mermaids and Calliope’s father. Strict and imposing, he is suspicious of Hailey’s presence coinciding with Marina’s absence—especially since he seems to hold a grudge against orange-tailed mers.
“They’re a more turbulent blue, like a tidal wave of mixed emotions inside you.”
Isabel is the eccentric and mysterious shopkeeper at The Mermaid’s Lagoon. She sells mermaid souvenirs and possesses vast knowledge of mermaid folklore. She may also have the ability to read people’s thoughts and emotions by looking in their eyes.