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Sophie Swankowski is the hero from the stories she’s been hearing all her life: she’s the girl who will save the world. Or so she’s been told. Now she and her unlikely guardian—the gruff, filthy mermaid Syrena—must travel the pitch-black seas from broken-down Chelsea, Massachusetts, to Syrena’s homeland in Poland. Along the way, Syrena will reveal the terrible truth about her past, and teach Sophie about the ages-old source of her newly discovered power. But left behind in Chelsea, without Sophie to protect them from the dark magic she’s awakened, what will become of Sophie’s friends and family?

Girl at the Bottom of the Sea is the follow-up to Michelle Tea’s beloved Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, “a refreshing breath of air in the world of YA, equal parts eerie, heartbreaking, and fantastical” (ZYZZYVA).

Be sure to read the McSweeney’s Book Preview for Girl at the Bottom of the Sea!

Click here for printable cutouts of illustrations from the book!

Praise for The Chelsea Trilogy

“I couldn’t keep still when I was reading Mermaid In Chelsea Creek. I kept standing up to pace around because I was so excited by the book and then I’d hurry back to my chair so I hadn’t missed anything. The novel has everything terrific about Michelle Tea, with the grit and the wit and the girls in trouble loving each other fierce and true, and then it has all the juice of a terrific fantasy novel, with the magic and the creatures and the otherworldly sense of something lurking underneath each artifact of our ordinary lives. I can’t keep still to write a blurb about it. Just read the thing, read it now.”
Daniel Handler

“A radiant hybrid of piercing realism, creeping horror, and heartbreaking fantasy–but fantasy with dirt in its hair and scabs on its knees. Tea is an uncommon talent doing uncommon things and her voice tickles you, slaps you, whatever it takes to wake your ass up.”
Daniel Kraus, author of Rotters

San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Tea’s novel is a refreshing breath of air in the world of YA, equal parts eerie, heartbreaking, and fantastical.”

“Each line carries substantive heft, emblematic of extensive research on Polish mythology, grounded by the gritty, immigrant haven that is Chelsea, Massachusetts.”
SF Weekly

” The story itself braids threads of ancient myths and lore with today’s world full of mixed emotions and environmental neglect. It blurs the line between fact and fiction gracefully, thereby making the impossible seem possible.”
Insatiable Readers

Mermaid in Chelsea Creek is a triumph in its own right, a stand-alone treat…”
San Francisco Bay Guardian

“…the queerest young adult book I’ve ever read.”

“I started reading Michelle Tea’s Mermaid in Chelsea Creek on the subway this morning and was instantly hooked… can’t wait to get back to it.”
Emily Temple, Flavorwire Literary Editor

“There’s a lot of heavy wisdom in this book, alongside the beauty and the grunge… And there’s a lot of humor too—it wouldn’t be Michelle Tea if you didn’t laugh out loud at her spot-on cultural observations, her astute sarcasm at the banalities that infiltrate our gorgeous world.”
Lambda Literary

“A fun read… a classic fairytale.”
Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review

“It’s as if Chelsea is Narnia, with talking animals, mind readers, and a heroine who, instead of finding a wardrobe, makes herself pass out with her best friend, Ella.”
The Boston Globe

“Lonesomely populating a chasm in books for young readers where the magic comes from the blessed gutter…”
The Globe and Mail

Read Michelle’s playlist for Girl at the Bottom of the Sea, the next installment of her “dark and fascinating YA series.” —Largehearted Boy