The Literature Hub
Reviewed by Ashleigh
Author: Elle Strauss
Publisher & Pages: ESB Publishing, 305 pages
Audience: Young Adult
Blurb: A teen swim athlete discovers a merfolk world that threatens to keep her out of the ocean forever.
Dori Seward can’t wait to get out of Eastcove, a sleepy fishing village on the border of New Brunswick and Maine. She bides her time by hanging out with friends, attending swim club, and holding her biggest competition, Colby–who wants more than just friendship, at arm’s length.
Then Tor Riley comes to town and he has everything Dori dreams of in a boyfriend–looks, athleticism and mystery.
But Tor also has a tantalizing secret and Dori is determined to find out what it is. The truth is crazier than her wildest imaginations and more dangerous, too.
Dori has new fantastical enemies, and they will do anything to get to her.
Her life, her dreams and her love for Tor are all weighing in the balance. Will Dori risk it all in order to have it all?
Highlight: Dori is a totally relatable heroine.
Highlight: The whole story is fantastic. I can’t fault it.
Highlight: A welcome change from vampires and werewolves.
Review: Mermaids. What comes to mind first? Is it The Little Mermaid? Well, get that image out of your head. Seaweed will be your new go-to mermaid story.
Dori Seward is a swimmer-extraordinaire. She has always been drawn to the water, and well, she lives in a fishing town, so it’s hardly surprising, is it? Except Dori’s passion goes much deeper than she thinks. As it turns out, Dori’s boring old fishing town has a mystical history.
You guessed it – mermaids are real!
This isn’t your average mermaid story. The human world is intertwined with the mermaid world more than they can imagine.
Dori seems like a regular, high-achieving teenager. She’s not cliché perfect, and she’s not a damaged young woman with a lot to overcome. She’s normal. She has hobbies, she has friend troubles, and she has boy troubles. She also has flaws. She has a major tendency to get obsessive with her swimming, and of course, she gets obsessive over boys.
When I was a 16 year old, I would have found Dori totally relatable. She is a fantastic YA main character.
But enough about Dori you say. What about the mermaids??!
Well, these mermaids aren’t Disney. There is more than one type of mermaid – the ones who are completely mermaid, and the ones that are part human. Dori’s love interest, Tor, is a part-human mermaid. His clan can go ashore and experience human life when they become a certain age. The other clan can never go ashore – their genetic make-up just doesn’t give them that ability.
Until Dori becomes a mermaid.
Remember when I said Dori’s passion for the water goes deeper than she thinks? Well that’s because it’s written in her DNA. Dori’s biological grandfather was a mermaid. Tor’s arrival at Dori’s school starts off a chain of events that could have catastrophic consequences for the underwater mermaid world.
This story is a gripping one, and a lot of that comes down to the mermaids and the story as a whole. Firstly, there aren’t a lot of mermaid stories out there at the moment (not that I’ve seen anyway, but feel free to post your favourite mermaid book in the comments!). The fantasy market seems to be dominated by vampires and werewolves right now. Mermaids are a welcome break from all of the fangs.
Secondly, the story is amazing. Elle Strauss is one of my favourite authors. Her writing is enjoyable, with a great flow and easy language – you won’t be reaching for a dictionary every few pages with any of her books! Her plot is well thought out and carefully crafted which is evident in her stories. She is definitely one of the better YA authors I’ve read. If you haven’t read anything by her before, then you definitely need to check out one of her books.
Star Rating: 5 stars!
Available in: Paperback, eBook
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TATTOO by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Four friends. Four tattoos. One ancient evil.
Bailey Morgan isn’t the type of girl who shows a lot of skin, but somehow, she ends up in a dressing room at the mall with her friend Delia applying a strange temporary tattoo to the centre of her lower back. Never one to suffer fashion doubt, trendsetter Delia knows exactly where she wants her own tattoo: on her stomach, right where her shirt ends. Annabelle, the quiet friend, chooses the back of her neck, and tomboy Zo plasters hers on the top of her foot. The tattoos will last for three days, and Delia’s sure that with them, the four friends will absolutely kill at the school dance.
Unfortunately, killing is just what someone has in mind, and Bailey, Delia, Annabelle and Zo are in for the battle of their lives. Along with her tattoo, each girl receives a gift – a supernatural power to help them in their fight. As Bailey’s increasingly frightening dreams reveal the nature of their enemy, it becomes clear to the girls that it’s up to them to save the world. And if they can get Delia to stop using her newfound power to turn gum wrappers into Prada pumps, they might actually stand a chance.