Author: Liz Kessler
Genre: Middle Grade, Children’s, Fantasy
Rating: 2 Stars
Everybody has a secret.
Mine’s a little different, though. I didn’t even know about it until the first day of swim class in seventh grade. You see, I’d never been allowed to go in the water before. As it turns out, swimming comes naturally to me. Very naturally. In fact. So naturally that you might even say… well, it’s true.
Here’s my secret:
I figured out that I’m a mermaid.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I have to give this book a little bit of leeway because it was most definitely a middle-grade book geared towards young children. So, we’ll start off with the good—the book was extremely well edited. It was easy to read, fast-paced, and had enough humor and shocking moments to fully entertain my 13-year-old daughter (who I read it with). Emily’s adventure in becoming a mermaid and seeking out her father was an interesting plot, and it was very entertaining. My daughter loved the book!
From an adult’s point of view, though… It was cheesy. Very cheesy. The characters were one-dimensional, even pretty stereotyped at times. The twists in the book were ridiculously easy to see figure out well before the characters figured them out, and the world-building was rather unimaginative and well, silly. Mermaid reporters and underwater limo’s with seatbelts was a bit much.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun book, and my daughter was entertained… but as an adult, had I read this on my own, it would have easily gotten 1-star. The last few chapters of the book were a bit of a letdown, and definitely very unrealistically resolved, and even my daughter had to admit that it got pretty ridiculous. It didn’t feel like there was anything to learn from this book. There were no real life lessons or situations I could talk about with my daughter, other than the main character’s terrible decisions to lie to her mother, sneak away in the middle of the night to swim in the ocean, break into a prison (no, I’m not kidding), and generally cause havoc for all the adults in her life. She was a bratty 12-year-old that didn’t think about the consequences of her actions, and somehow avoided all of them. The book was pure fluff.
Overall I gave this book two stars, because although I wasn’t a fan of it, and it was definitely not geared towards me, my teenage daughter did enjoy it. Was it her favorite book? No. Was it a good book? Meh… It was entertainment and served its purpose, but I don’t know that I’d delve deeper into the series.