Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Swim to Me” as Want to Read:
Swim to Me
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Swim to Me

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  946 ratings  ·  187 reviews
It's a fresh start for Delores Walker when she boards a Greyhound bus bound for Florida. Leaving the Bronx far behind, she's headed for sunny Weeki Wachee Springs, frayed roadside attraction in danger of becoming obsolete with the opening of Walt Disney's latest creation, only miles up the road. Always more suited for a life underwater, Delores joins a group of other aquat ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by Algonquin Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Swim to Me, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Swim to Me

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  946 ratings  ·  187 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, but 2 major things really bothered me. I think the author could have completely left out the toy clown, Otto. He was annoying and not necessary to the plot. Also, what happened to the ending. It must have been swallowed up by Otto. It just sort of stopped and hung there. I kept checking the pages left to see if I was missing something. All and all, this was a very enjoyable read minus Otto. It was like taking a warm bath in some Florida sunshine.
Sonia Reppe
Nov 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: 14 yr old girls and under
Shelves: florida
1.5 stars. The bulk of this novel takes place in 1972. SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE TOLD Betsy Carter that WALT DISNEY DIED in 1966. He wouldn't have been alive to comment on Weeki Wachi! It was a fast read, so I kept going, but I didn't care for the rudimentary prose. Not just the prose, but the plot and the characters also were under-developed. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. Maybe because the point of view kept jumping between so many of them. The good things are that it's clean, (G- ...more
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: swimming fans, popular culture fans, mother/daughter fiction lovers,
Shelves: justread
Betsy Carter is one of those authors whose books seem deceptively simple. Delores leaves her stifling Bronx apartment and her sad frustrated mother and goes to Florida to become a weekie Wachie mermaid at 17.As a period marker, Walt Disney World is just becoming popular in another part of Florida.
The roles of women are explored within the mermaid troupe and the character of Delores's mother is wonderfully complex. But the eccentric director of Weekie Wachie is a character I'd love to see portra
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
It was a simple, but delicate story. An easy read, but gave you food for thought afterwards. It was a growing up story for all the characters, even the parents. It has a good feel to it. The main character, Delores, is so grown up for a young age, but she also is young in a way that she still doesn't understand her family completely and the fact that she confides in a puppet named Hugo. I believe the only reason that she didn't leave her family for her dream job and never look back, keeping wha ...more
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a really easy read, but I did enjoy. Not great writing and it seemed to end without resolving some issues, but that may have been the point.

The book takes place in 1972 in Florida at Weeki Wachi Springs (which is a real place)where 16 yr old Dolores has landed after leaving NY City to follow her dream of becoming a mermaid. She leaves behind her overworked mother and toddler brother. Her father left them recently and she has no idea where he ended up until a little later in the book.

Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Weeki Wachi Springs was the vacation destination that Delores Walker would never forget: a place devoted to living "mermaids."

When Delores's father walks out on her family, she remembers WWS and decides to apply for a job. Leaving the Bronx for Tampa, FL, Delores leaves an unhappy family situation and starts anew. At WWS, Delores shines, with her combination of strong swimming skills and irresistible good looks.

And just when Delores's life is looking up, an unexpected family reunion changes he
Tamara Elias
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I chose to read this book for two reasons. 1) I was looking for a book--that was an interesting, easy read--to recommend to my book club and 2) I grew up in San Diego and, when I was a little girl, dreamed of being a mermaid like the ones I saw swimming with dolphins at Sea World.

I enjoyed this book, until the very end, which was ambiguous. If you want your stories neatly wrapped up, then this book is not for you. If you don't mind that the ending is somewhat left to interpretation, then I would
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book was WEIRD... just weird. It was very poorly written, and most of the time, I found myself not caring about what happens. I do have to give it more than one star, though, because it's kind of about a synchronized swimmerish... in that she wasn't technically a synchronized swimmer... but she kind of was. If you're not a synchronized swimmer you shouldn't read this book... you'll think it's stupid. If you are... yeah, you probably still don't need to read it.
Sandy T
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2009
I wanted a light read--something fun, and that's what this is. I picked it up at the library because I loved the cover and the blurb sounded interesting enough to give it a try. Set in the early 70's, a teenager from the Bronx goes to Florida to be a Mermaid performer at a water park. Nothing earth-shattering here, but it was entertaining...
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this coming of age novel wound around living out a childhood fantasy. Knowing the "mermaids" were and still are "real" gave the book a grounded quality... As if it could have been a memoir of any one of the teenage swimmers from that era. I found the ending a bit too "open" and unfinished, but a delightful, quick, well written read.
Angie Fehl
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Bronx native Delores Walker first experiences Florida's Weeki Wachee Springs Mermaid Show roadside attraction while on a family road trip when she's just fourteen. By the age of sixteen, she's invited to join the show herself. It's the 1970s, her father has recently walked out on the family, and young Delores eagerly accepts the position but it doesn't take long for her the grittier side of this whole new world she's now a member of. Still a teenager, Delores -- now going by the stage n
The Dusty Jacket
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Delores Walker remembers the moment her mother drops her into the shallow end of a lake. She was just two, but she vividly recalls the water, its temperature, plunging breathless into the water’s depths, and struggling to resurface. It was heaven. Twelve years later, she travels to Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida with her mother and father. It’s 1970 and the mermaids of Weeki Wachee perform a tribute to Apollo 11. They spin, twirl, dive, and glide, and Delores is fascinated and enthralled by the ...more
Kelly S
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
I have a knack for reading summery books in the wintertime. Last year it was Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm. I enjoyed Swim to Me. Set in the early 70's, about a teenager named Delores who leaves her troubled home in the Bronx to answer her life's calling to be a performer in the mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida.

I could've done without the scenes with Otto the clown puppet, and reporting weather from a bathtub was a bit strange, but overall, it was a nice read with just en
Sharon Delevie
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So fun. About the real life Mermaids of Wicki Watchee, Florida, this book gives us Delores, practically born in water, who knew she wanted to be a mermaid from the moment she saw them in Florida as a child. She joins this group of young women (really, girls; Delores is 17 when she joins them) and swims and performs and grows up.

The Wicki Watchee Mermaids are an actual thing, even today, though the novel takes place in the 1970's. You can feel the 1970's vibe in the novel. But my favorite part w
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
I thought this book would be a perfect summer read. And it was just ok.
Delores' mom and dad don't love each other very much. So when her dad walks out on the family when Delores is 16, she decides to swim with the mermaids in Weeki Wachee, Florida. As she slowly gains confidence, Delores marched a life for herself, never forgetting about her younger brother Westie, still in New York York their mother.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was particularly evocative of its place and time period, and the characters were pure joy to read. I loved the concept as well. Recommended!
Susan White-Riggs
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not the best written book but an interesting story.
Rebecca Watkins
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a fun read.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, read-in-2017
The kindle version threw in one of the last chapters in the middle so that was.. interesting.
Sarah Sammis
Aug 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Delores Walker in Swim to Me by Betsy Carter loves to swim and is enchanted one summer by the mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs. She decides to leave her home in the Bronx after her father abandons the family to become a mermaid herself. She reinvents herself as Delores Taurus as the Springs is trying to do the same in the shadow of the recently opened Walt Disney World.

The Walt Disney World plot point is the weakest and most distracting part of an otherwise charming coming of age novel. Yes, bot
Cindy Roesel
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Sometimes to be who you really are, you have to pretend you're already who you want to be."

At two-years old, Delores Walker's mother drops her into a lake leaving her to learn how to swim. During a summer vacation the Walker family drives from New York City south to Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida where Delores is captivated by the world of sequined tales and underwater fantasy. Several years later, 17-year old, Delores hops a Greyhound bus with a one-way ticket to become a mermaid in Weeki Wac
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I think it is the setting for this story that makes it so appealing- Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida- home of the famous mermaids. Delores Walker first sees the mermaids perform at age 14. An avid swimmer, she dreams of returning to Weeki Wachee and becoming a mermaid. Her father left home shortly after their return from the trip to Florida. Her self-pitying and unloving mother faded into a shadow of herself. The only hard part of leaving New York was leaving behind her baby brother, Westie.
It is
Sep 23, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I purchased this book for my aunt, a Florida native who loved seeing the mermaids at Weeki Wachee when she was a young girl, and I decided to read it before gifting it to her as I’m also a native Floridian who really enjoys mermaid folklore and stories. The premise of Swim to Me was a good idea which was poorly executed. The writing was very elementary, the characters were flat and uninteresting, and, while this may seem like a ridiculous criticism of a mermaid book, some of the events which too ...more
E Wilson
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was ok

My daughter gave me this book. It is set in Weeki Wachee where the mermaid show has
been an old time Florida attraction for decades. My daughter and I have gone swimming in the
springs many times so it caught both of our interest. The spring is now a state park, and luckily they kept the mermaid show.

Delores' family takes a Florida vacation and Delores is intrigued by the mermaids.
Back in New York, she frequents the YMCA and becomes a skillful swimmer. Then her father
walks out on his family.When
Deon Stonehouse
Swim To Me by Betsey Carter pleasantly surprised me; it is a delightful story of understanding and reinvention. Delores Walker grew up in a small Bronx apartment with her parents and baby brother.  Her fondest memory is a family vacation to Weeki Wachee Springs in Tampa to watch the mermaids perform.  She has loved swimming since her Mom plopped her in the water as a little tyke.. When her Dad walks out on the family she takes a bold step, she writes to Weeki Wachee trying for an audition.  Week ...more
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Ever since she saw the wonderful mermaid show on vacation in Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida, Delores Walker has dreamed of becoming a mermaid. Now, boarding a Greyhound bus to take her far away from the Bronx and to the unknown in Florida, Delores is leaving her mother and beloved younger brother for a dream. Her father took off two years ago and hasn't been heard from since and now Delores is solely responsible for herself. After making her way to Weeki Wachee, her dream is realized in ways she ...more
I picked up this book because I've always loved Weeki Wachee and a book about a teenage girl who becomes a mermaid there seemed like such a treat. I was so disappointed to realize that it was a book about depressing grown up problems (deadbeat dad, emotionally absent jealous mom, equally miserable stand in mother figure, sexual exploitation, impossible to like characters) and was never going to conjure in its pages the magic I've always felt at Weeki Wachee.

But this is forgivable--not all depres
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Really couldn't connect with this book. Firsts, does a 16 year old girl head from New York to Florida by herself, with very little money, not knowing if she will get a job she wants? Second, would a mother let her daughter go at such an early age? Third, would a mother let her 3 year old son go to Florida with the 16 year old? Okay, Delores was 17 when that happened? Fourth, when Gail goes to Florida, so many questions are unanswered. Does Gail take Westie home? Does she leave Westie with Delore ...more
Jennifer Tatroe
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
Delores Walker's father walked out on the family when she was 16. To help out her struggling mother and brother (and as a ticket out of a desperate and depressing situation) Delores decides to audition to be a mermaid and the famed Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida.

From that point on, Delores leads a charmed life. Everyone loves her (or, if they don't immediately, they eventually come to appreciate her). Her mentors guard her best interests unflinchingly. Her career takes off. No one ever double-c
Dec 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Delores doesn't understand a lot of what is going on with her family, but when her dad splits, her mom isn't coping well and somebody has to support her little brother, she steps up. And what Delores has to work with are her looks, her smarts, and the fact that she's more comfortable in water than out. So she gets a job as a mermaid.
I like Delores, I like the other mermaids, even the bitchy ones. The seem like real people to me.
I don't like Delores' mother or father, but they really aren't the p
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Still Water Saints
  • Set Me Free
  • The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters
  • Tattoo Girl
  • Haunted Waters
  • The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World's Greatest Reptile Smugglers
  • A Ticket to Ride
  • Wonder When You'll Miss Me
  • I'll Be Watching You
  • Portion of the Sea
  • Adelaide Piper
  • Unmentionables: Poems
  • Last of the Curlews
  • The Mockery Bird
  • Ceres: Celestial Legend, Vol. 13: Ten'nyo
  • Animals of the Ocean, in Particular the Giant Squid
  • Animals Behaving Badly: Boozing Bees, Cheating Chimps, Dogs with Guns, and Other Beastly True Tales
  • Charity Girl
See similar books…

I am the author of the novel, Swim to Me, which was published in August 2007 by Algonquin Books who also published, The Orange Blossom Special in 2005. My memoir Nothing to Fall Back On was a national bestseller. I write for O: The Oprah magazine, Good Housekeeping, New York, Glamour and Hallmark, among others.
I was a reporter at Newsweek for nine years, and then served as the Editorial Director
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Do you think that, by nature, human beings are forgiving?” “I think that, by nature, human beings are self-protective,” said Hanratty. “If it is in their interest to be forgiving, then they are. If not, then they are vengeful. I am fairly certain that being forgiving is not an innate virtue.” 1 likes
More quotes…