Author: Sarah Porter
Published By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
From Goodreads: What happens to the girls nobody sees—the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help? Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is stuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks. Luce’s own talent at singing captures the attention of the tribe’s queen, the fierce and elegant Catarina, and Luce soon finds herself pressured to join in committing mass murder. Luce’s struggle to retain her inner humanity puts her at odds with her friends; even worse, Catarina seems to regard Luce as a potential rival. But the appearance of a devious new mermaid brings a real threat to Catarina’s leadership and endangers the very existence of the tribe. Can Luce find the courage to challenge the newcomer, even at the risk of becoming rejected and alone once again?
This debut novel by Sarah Porter was hauntingly beautiful. The story revolves around Luce who is forced to live with her drunk and abusive uncle after her father is lost at sea and presumed dead. One night Luce’s uncle goes too far and Luce, devastated, falls into the ocean. Instead of dying she joins all the other girls who have been abused by people in their lives. These girls have all had tragic event happen in their lives that instead of escaping the cruelty of life by death, they instead change into mermaids.
I absolutely loved the idea behind this book of these lost girls escape their horrible circumstances and becoming mermaids. I also think it was a great ironic twist that now these mistreated girls have the power to make humans succumb to them and kill them with their voices, which in their other lives where often muted. I found it a little hard to believe that more of the mermaids, especially the ones who have been around for a while, didn’t have a problem killing innocent humans. I thought that many would have wanted retribution at first, but then seen how ludicrous and meaningless all the killing is.
The character development in this book was brilliant. You could really relate to these girls, especially Luce. You felt her sorrow, pain and confusion right along with her. She grew so much as a character, from this meek, timid girl into a courageously strong heroine. The relationships between the girls were realistic and believable. I often had to remind myself that these were mermaids and not your typically everyday girls. At times I found the mermaids annoying and immature, but I felt as if that was representative of typical girls at that age.
Porter’s writing was beautiful. It was very lyrical and most of the time showed expertise of a seasoned writer. There were one or two spots however, where I felt a conversation or thought was just cut off and there wasn’t any elaboration.
The only real problem that I had with the book was the ending. It left too many questions and I don’t feel as if it really ended…it just stopped.
Overall I'd give it ★★★★