From School Library Journal
Gr 5-9–According to Windwaithe Island legend, Lady Lauretta disappeared into the sea 100 years ago, beckoned by an indescribably beautiful mermaid. As the book opens, Adrianne, 14, searches along the coast for her younger sister, who has gone missing. She finds Cecily unconscious on a rock and is terrified to see the legendary mermaid nearby. After a struggle during which Adrianne's wrist is cut, she escapes. Unconscious for three days, she finally awakens, but the wound will not heal. A visiting fortune-teller explains that she has been cursed by her attacker and will be led to her death. Many of the villagers begin to view her with fear and mistrust, but her longtime friend Denn sticks by her. Unable to resist her tormentor's song, Adrianne eventually goes to the shore, where she learns more about Jendayi, ruler of the Caribbean Sea, who promises her a new life among merfolk that includes happiness, acceptance, and marriage to a sea prince. The teen must then decide between truth and myth, love and lies, poverty and a prince. Youngsters will relate to her struggles and her efforts to overcome them. The plot pacing is steady and suspenseful as more details about the protagonist's current life and past are revealed through her absorbing first-person narration. Nielsen's new spin on a traditional fantasy setup is sure to appeal.Samantha Larsen Hastings, Riverton Library, UT
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In this engaging new spin on the Cinderella story, 14-year-old Adrianne Keynnman and her family on Windwaithe Island have fallen into poverty following her father's death. Besides making a living, Adrianne must contend with weak, hostile family members and contemptuous neighbors. Her only support comes from her old friend Denn, but her growing feelings for him have made their relationship tense. When a mermaid presents the opportunity for a magical escape—into the arms of a handsome mer-prince, no less—Adrianne must decide whether the fairy-tale ending is right for her. For most of the story, Adrianne tries to resist the mermaid's mysterious call, and the plot centers on Adrianne's day-to-day difficulties and small triumphs. However, this focus ultimately diminishes the credibility of the fantastic mer-world as a real option for the heroine. Still, Adrianne's convincing struggle to do what is right makes her a sympathetic and believable heroine. Grades 5-8. --Miriam Aronin
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