Hazel and Katniss and Harry and Starr Podcast: Aquamarine

The logo for Hazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr podcast: an orange box with the words written in white fontHazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr is a weekly Canadian podcast about young adult literature, their film and television adaptations, and everything in between. Now in its sixth season, the podcast—hosted by film critic Joe Lipsett and English professor Brenna Clarke-Gray—aims to highlight the cultural worth of young adult and middle-grade texts, with a focus on Canadian, Indigenous and minority creatives and stories.

Join us weekly for deep dives, as well as a round of YA BINGO.

Book 6, Chapter 36: Aquamarine

Joe and Brenna dip a toe into romantic fantasy with Alice Hoffman’s 2001 novel Aquamarine and Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum’s 2006 film adaptation.

The book is a cute, slight, fast read, which begs the question: how is the film 1hr 50 mins?! Answer: Add a villain, give her endless cronies, then stretch the action out over a whole summer!

Plus: teen feminism, mermaid FX, himbo lifeguards, and the film’s perplexing soundtrack decision.

Read on for more about this week’s episode from co-host Joe Lipsett:

One of the intriguing things about doing this podcast for so long is remembering that, as an adult, you’re not the target audience for these texts. So when you read something like Alice Hoffman’s Aquamarine, which is firmly Middle Grade fiction, it’s surprising to find out how effective it is.

Yes, it’s short and sweet, but the idea of having one last great adventure with your best friend before your parents ruin your life? That’s relatable content.

The movie is so much more…busy. It’s as though the creative team liked the idea of the book, but didn’t trust in the material when drafting the screenplay, so they just kept adding. It’s not bad either; it’s just packed to the gills (heh) with extra everything! More conflict, more characters, more outlandish finale.


It’s also a fun time, particularly for its depiction of female friendship, but it’s definitely not the simple pleasure of Hoffman’s source material.  -JL

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