BOOK REVIEW (51): Teenage Mermaid

BOOK REVIEW:
Teenage Mermaid
 
 
Okay this next book is an MG. Maybe upper MG because the characters are 15, but the style of writing, like the tones/airs of the characters made me think they were in junior high, so like ages 11-12 instead of they’re being 15. You know, if any of that makes sense.
 
Still I’ve wanted to read Ellen Schreiber’s Teenage Mermaid for about a year now, mostly because I haven’t read a mermaid story yet. Yeah. I tend to avoid that paranormal creature because I think the author would have to get really creative to get around the whole ‘tail for half-a-body’ thing. Also I usually can’t get sex off the mind. How do mermaids have mermaid babies??
 
 
So we got mermaid Waterlilly or just ‘Lilly’ and her “Earthdude”, high school sophomore Spencer. Now like most mermaid meet cutes, I’m sure, they meet because they both have a love for the water. I mean, Lilly has no choice, but Spencer ditches school – yeah, I know, I know – to spend time on the beach. 
 
On one of these mornings he ends up drowning only to be saved by Lilly who happens to swim by (ironically she’s late for school too). It gets weird here, but stay with me: I guess what happens is that Lilly resuscitates him with a kiss while he’s still underwater.
 
I’m not a lifeguard or anything (and just between you and me, Internet, I failed my only CPR test back in high school), yet I’m sure this isn’t how you bring people back to the living world. Just sayin’.
 
So she saves him and he decides to take a souvenir, Lilly’s family necklace – the necklace that her mom keeps locked away and would totally ground her for if she stole it and lost it in the process, and to a human or an “Earthee” on top of that.
 
Basically Lilly is wading with sharks here if she doesn’t manage to find Spencer and the necklace before her mom finds out it’s missing.
 
Also as a heads-up now, although I should have mentioned this earlier, this story reads like a contemporary and much happier version of Hans Christen Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”. In order to get out on land and retrieve her family’s heirloom necklace, Lilly goes to the depths of the ocean to visit Madame Pearl, a “witch” sea creature.
 
I don’t know what Madame Pearl was. It didn’t describe her as a mermaid – unless I missed it, and there wasn’t much of a description for her other than her “porcelain flesh” being “puffed up like a blowfish” or something along those lines.
 
Lilly requests a transmutation potion from Madame Pearl who delivers and the next day Lilly finds herself washed up on the beach with human legs.
 
…AND you can put the rest together I’m sure. If not read the book. It’s written in 1stperson perspective from both Spencer and Lilly’s POVs. It read all right considering their voices didn’t sound identical. I find it takes decent writing to not make that mistake. (Although from a writer’s perspective I’d just avoid it).
 
If you happen to pick up Teenage Mermaid, expect that:
 
1)      a short and quick read.
2)    Lilly’s gonna be more annoying than Spencer
3)     That these two are frustrating with all this lovey-dovey crap
4)    The ending will make you want to punt the book
 
And as for that last point, if you don’t believe me just continue reading this little excerpt from the book and then re-think my point:
 
WARNING! SPOILER A-HOY!
 
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“I thought she was a mermaid!”
 
“She is!” [Lilly’s bff] shouted.
 
“But she’s drowning!”
 
Lilly’s sparkling blue eyes were shut, her glowing skin sallow, her spirit withering away.
 
“She’s drowning of a broken heart! Only you can save her,” [Lilly’s bff] cried.
 
“CPR? Help me take her back to shore.”
 
“No! With the kiss of love!” [Lilly’s bff] said hurriedly. “That’s what Madame Pearl said—the kiss of love.”
 
***
 
I should explain though.
 
The “kiss of love” is supposed to be a game changer for a mermaid and human couple. Lilly’s great-grandfather was supposed to have been human when he fell in love with her mermaid great-grandmother and gave her the necklace heirloom that Spencer took during their creative CPR.
 
Supposedly Madame Pearl tells Lilly that there’s a myth of the full moon and a kiss between a mermaid and human that can change the human into a mermaid and unite the two lovers in soul AND body/species.
 
Nowhere does it mention mermaids…drowning. Lulz at the irony. Seriously. What a cop out.
 
Kinda.
 
You see I’ve read Ellen Schreiber’s two series, Vampire Kisses and Full Moon, and after going through the total of those 12 books, I can say that she likes to end off very vaguely. Like they read as HEAs, but there’s this element of WTFery where other characters are pushed aside when they sure as heck would be affected by the decision of her teenage couple.
 
I mean, what the heck Spencer? What about hating that his mom abandoned him and his father and so suddenly? How does abandoning his father for a girl he met a few days ago make him NOT unlike his crappy mother?
 
 
So read with caution. Keep your mind open and finish it through before slamming the book.
 
I did like Chainsaw, Spencer’s wealthy, perverted and nerdy best friend and Spencer’s hair (he kept changing the colour in the story), and some of the funny dialogue. The author has a knack for humor, and I believe her bio mentions that she was a standup comedien(ne) at some point in her life.
 
Anyways, give Teenage Mermaid a chance. Who knows? Maybe this one’s a book for you…
 
As a side note, I wonder if that bland and straightforward title was a nod at the 80s film, Teen Wolf. Only the plot is very different.
 
My verdict:


(2 stars)
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