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Forbidden Sea Hardcover – July 1, 2010

29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

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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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545097347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545097345
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,093,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sheila never did figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. She graduated from college with a BFA in illustration, has worked as a children's librarian for over eighteen years, and would eventually like to be a full-time author. Why pick one career when you can have many? Sheila lives with her two pets, a goffin cockatoo and a tiny toy poodle. She was born and raised in California but has come to also love her adopted home in Utah where she currently resides.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Electrifying Reviews on October 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the books I heard about once, thought it sounded good, and was a little too excited to read it when I got it. I have always loved mermaids and this book quenched my thirst I had been having for a little mermaid magic.

First of all, I want to talk about the setting. It was so amazing. A breathtaking island set in... I could never figure out that part. It lets your imagination go wild on which time period it could have taking time in. I'm thinking 1700's, but could be totally off. The other setting... I'll just let you read and figure out the magic of that place!

The characters are what make this book so great. I loved each and every one of them. And their complexity was such a relief, something you don't get a lot of in YA or MG. I actually liked the main character! And her family and friends were believable also. The mermaids... you need to read more to find out about them!

Something that really stood out was the writing. This book is written is a style that can only be described one way, musically. Maybe it is the setting and story, but if feels like someone is singing the story to you. For a debut author, Sheila A Nielson shows such hope that it is a big surprise.

Could I have loved the plot anymore? Yes. But only because I wish there had been more mermaid. But the way the story is written and developed, you don't even need any! Because there are so many other great things that make you want to read more.

One of my favorite books to date, I am so incredibly lucky to have found this book. I really suggest that you all check this book out. Whether you are a middle grade lover or a hardcore YA fan, The Forbidden Sea will make you splash with delight.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm an avid reader of this genre. What set apart "Forbidden Sea" from the other books was the focus on the importance of one's character. There was an emphasis on what a person is on the inside is more important that what they look like or wear.

The story line was captivating as well. It was NOT predictable and yet I found myself torn between decisions along with the protagonist.

Highly recommended!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Herman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Since her father died in an accident two years ago, fourteen-year-old Adrianne Keynnman and her family have struggled to survive. They once lived a comfortable life on Windwaithe Island, but now they live in a small cottage and Adrianne must work hard to help provide for her mother, cruel aunt, and beloved younger sister, Cecily. One night during a storm, Cecily runs away from home, and when rescuing her, Adrianne encounters a mermaid who tries to drag them down into the sea. Adrianne is able to rescue her sister, but continues to be haunted by the events of that night.

From that day on, Adrianne's life only becomes more difficult. She must continue to work hard so that her family can survive, and endure the constant teasing of the local bullies, who think she is an easy target now that she is so poor. Only her friend Denn Young seems to support her, but her feelings of friendship for him are growing into something more, though she doubts he returns her feelings, since he seems to admire Cora Lynn, a beautiful girl who is spoiled and selfish. And now she must also struggle with her fears of the mermaid and the superstitious people of her island. As the mermaid continues to try and lure Adrianne into the sea, she realizes the mermaid wanted her, not Cecily.

I really enjoyed reading Forbidden Sea, the story was very different from anything I read before. It is an original story with the feel of an old-fashioned fairy tale. Adrianne is a strong and admirable heroine, she is determined and brave and sacrifices so much to help her family. Despite the many difficulties she faces, she remains strong and determined. I would recommend this book to both middle grade and young adult readers who enjoy fantasy and fairy tales, there is nothing inappropriate for younger readers but I think the story could appeal to some older readers as well. This is the author Sheila Nielson's first book and I would love to read more by her in the future!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Court Cope on July 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book last week and found myself engulfed in a fantastical world with real, believable characters and beautiful, lyrical descriptions of the island of Windwaithe and the Merfolk kingdom. This book is solid and well-written, up there with all the best fantasy novels but with a new twist. It's a suspenseful, compelling story and has a satisfying ending. Highly recommended--so pick up a copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings on September 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson is a more of a coming of age story than anything else, don't let the mermaid on the cover fool you. I read it for the Mermaid Summer Reading Challenge, but quickly found myself wondering when the mermaid was going to show up again. I enjoyed the medieval setting as a break from all the modern day mermaid stories that I've been reading, but wished that more time had been spent on the cool other culture and less on the daily goings-on of the townspeople.
Note: I borrowed Forbidden Sea from the library.

The mermaid lore and world in Forbidden Sea was wonderful to read about once it finally showed up. The merpeople's living arrangements and history made sense and the whole human breathing underwater was internally consistent. Just what I look for in a fantasy!
While there was potential for a love triangle, it was completely bypassed, proving that YA doesn't actually need love triangles to function ;-).
I enjoyed a number of the secondary characters and the depth that was given to them. If it wasn't for the layers building up with Auntie and Cecily, I would have been even less entertained.

Some books save the world overly dramatically; Forbidden Sea is not one of those books. At the end of the story, I realized that basically nothing actually changed from the beginning except for one improvement that doesn't even get mentioned in the wrap-up.
The first 2/3 of Forbidden Sea were quite slow. There is a cool opening scene with the mermaid, and then it's all about the sad lives of peasants for a while....
Speaking of sad lives, you know how sometimes an MC is just too tragic?
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