For hundreds of years women on Cheju Island in South Korea have supported their families by diving to the ocean floor to collect seaweed and the various edible creatures found there. It is Jae Hyun's dream to be a haenyo, a mermaid, like her mother and grandmother, but her mother forbids it. The life of a haenyo is a dangerous one. She wants a better life, a safer life, for her daughter. Then tragedy strikes and Jae Hyun's courage is tested, as is her dream. She must prove to herself and to her mother that she is worthy of the choice she has made.
This is a story that celebrates the old world of tradition and honor and the new world, one in which girls and women have the freedom to choose the lives they want for themselves.