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  1. Reading: Michelle Tea “A Mermaid in Chelsea Creek” & Ali Liebegott “Cha-Ching!”
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Later, the pigeons bring Sophie back to Angel who scolds her for going into Kishka's trailer earlier.

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After putting a healing paste on the poison ivy Sophie got from the plants in the trailer, the two start training. Sophie learns how to block her feelings with a mental wall and eventually proves to be stronger than Angel when she breaks through the latter's walls and is able to stay within her feelings despite Angel trying to kick her out. At the end of their lessons, Angel reveals she only stayed in the dump waiting for Sophie. Now that she has taught Sophie all that she knows, she wants to leave and counsel drug addict kids.

Before the two separate, Angel gives Sophie a white candle dressed by her mother. The next day, Sophie's mother wakes up feeling ill and her daughter calls Dr. Chen to let her know about the absence from work.

Reading: Michelle Tea “A Mermaid in Chelsea Creek” & Ali Liebegott “Cha-Ching!”

While on the phone with Dr. Chen, Sophie reveals she met with the mermaid after playing pass out one more time, and Dr. Chen responds that she does not need to pass out to see her anymore. Right after that phone call, Sophie calls Kishka to let her know she won't be coming to the dump and her mental shield is immediately attacked. Before hanging up, Kishka reveals that she knows exactly what Sophie is doing, and she tells her that she cannot win. After giving her mother some cold medicine and bathing the pigeons, Sophie goes to Hennie's store with the candle Angel gave her.

Hennie is a witch and also, as it turns out, is Sophie's aunt.

Hennie explains that Sophie is a summer witch like Kishka so her powers are greater in the summer. Sophie also learns that Hennie and Kishka are twins, which shocks her because they look vastly different. Kishka apparently wears a glamour that makes her look younger, but she is seven hundred years old like her sister.

She then learns that Kishka had turned her husband into a dog that now lived with Hennie, but the magic changed his mind and now he thinks that he is a dog. After deciding that she needs to explain things to Sophie, Hennie casts a spell to slow time before giving her a magic pouch filled with salt, good stone, and pigeon bones because pigeons are Sophie's "animal.

Not wanting to hear the truth, Sophie tries to leave, but Hennie casts a spell to enchant Sophie into staying. Realizing what is happening, Sophie's anger accidentally unleashes her power and knocks Hennie unconscious, and she runs away in horror. While headed home, Sophie sees frozen people all around her that were stopped by Hennie's spell.

When she gets home, she is surprised to see Andrea not affected, but then she remembers that she is Kishka's daughter and most likely immune from the magic. Sophie is shocked to see, however, Laurie LeClaire standing outside with her baby. The baby is frozen in time but Laurie does not seem affected, and it turns out that a Dola has taken control of her body. It is Sophie's destiny to go back to Hennie and learn about her past, and the Dola is here to bring her back.

Angry that the Dola is telling her what to do, Sophie undoes the spell and her mother immediately comes out when she hears Laurie's baby crying. After the Dola threatens to jump into Andrea's body if Laurie is taken away, Sophie finally agrees to leave with her. Back at Hennie's, the witch has cleaned up the mess left behind and is ready to tell Sophie her story again.

While the Dola rests, Hennie says again that Ronald is Sophie's father, but she also reveals that her mother, Andrea, actually had twin girls. Knowing that magic skips a generation, Kishka had wanted the baby with the power, but Hennie had tricked her by taking over each body.

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She forced one to eat as much salt as she could without killing it and, when in Sophie's body, prevented her from eating salt. Thinking that her sister was the magic baby, Kishka took her away and she lives in the trailer with the plants. When Sophie asks why they cannot rescue her, Hennie explains that the plants are poisonous and her sister had been breathing the poison since a child—fresh air is now poisonous to her and she would not survive.

After learning all this, Sophie finally leaves knowing that she has to spend the summer with Syrena learning more before returning.

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On her way home, she sees Ella with some boys that taunt her and she reaches into their feelings. Instead of taunting them with their own secrets, Sophie walks away crying. Back home, Kishka has put Andrea under a nightmare spell and she tells Sophie that she does not know the first thing about what she is.

It turns out that she is letting Naw, ghosts, torture Andrea, and, when Sophie tries to stop her with a swarm of pigeons, Kishka kills them all and disappears. Sophie wakes her mother up to let her know that she is leaving with the mermaid, and, at first she is angry but then she understands. Sophie goes with the pigeons to the creek to meet Syrena, but, as they are leaving, Kishka attacks. So it is with her newest fiction, Mermaid in Chelsea Creek. Welcome to Chelsea, MA. People from other countries, people running from wars and poverty.

A city with trolley cars and brick houses and grand trees. After all, one of the characters is a foul-mouthed mermaid. There are also talking pigeons and witches, curanderas and dola.

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This fantasy world rests just on top of the real world, and Tea never loses sight of how the two interact. Sophie, the protagonist, is a thirteen-year-old only child, daughter of a single mother, whose grandmother owns the town dump.

Not exactly a likely candidate for saving the world. But deep in Sophie is coiled a latent magic, a magic that might defeat all the evil and darkness spreading like plague across the globe. Sophie is a normal enough teenager. Like most of the rest of us, Sophie stumbles, at first ungracefully, into her power. But Sophie is also not normal at all. Sophie is lucky enough to have guides—even if they are a flock of talking pigeons, a glass-grinding, gender-bending woman named Angel, and a seven-hundred-year-old great aunt.

It puts a lot of things into motion on this planet. Sometimes I think heartbreak is the dominant active energy.