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Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings Kindle Edition

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Length: 208 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Age Level: 10 - 14 Grade Level: 4 - 8

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—Jade, 13, has enough problems. Her mom drowned a year ago, she's overweight, and her crush can't even remember her name. Then, she gets her period for the first time while trying on bathing suits for her best friend's pool party. At home, a relaxing bath in Epsom salts turns into a nightmare. She nods off in the tub and, upon waking, finds that her legs have been replaced by a scaly mermaid's tail. Her father doesn't seem surprised, only sad, and he reveals that she inherited this trait from her mother, a "Pesco-sapien," part fish, part human. The combination of salt water and the onset of puberty apparently triggered the change. Luckily Jade is able to return to her human state after some time out of the water. During a walk by the pier, she discovers that her mother is actually still alive and trapped in the lake by some not-so-nice mer-people. This leads to a frenetic, sometimes confusing, attempt to save her. Jade's father, who never seems to be able to get to his cell phone, is well-meaning but bumbling, leaving Jade mostly responsible for her mother's rescue. Flat characters and cheesy moments require the suspension of disbelief. Readers looking for an entertaining mermaid tale will be better served by Tera Lynn Child's Forgive My Fins (HarperCollins, 2010).—Mandy Lawrence, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX
(c) Copyright 2011.  Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Jade’s fourteenth birthday means more than just an extra candle: a soak in a warm Epsom-salted tub of water exposes a mermaid’s tale—attached to her! She also discovers that her mother wasn’t drowned after all but is a mermaid who is being held hostage by rogue merfolk intent on discovering the secret of changing into human form. Can Jade get the right kind of help to bring her mom back home? What begins as a coming-of-age story becomes a mildly suspenseful chase-and-rescue mission. There are subplots involving classic adolescent moments like Jade’s first serious crush, a semi-serious third-wheel threat to a long-standing best friendship, and a single dad coping with his daughter’s first period. The first-person narrative brings Jade’s experiences up close and personal for readers who know what it’s like to have secrets and feel like a fish out of water. A quick read, at times a little flat, with touches of humor; give this to girls not quite ready for snogging. Grades 6-9. --Cindy Welch

Product Details

  • File Size: 360 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402244126
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; 1 edition (December 1, 2010)
  • Publication Date: December 1, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004BA57KS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,642 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Hélène Boudreau is the author of the picture book I DARE YOU NOT TO YAWN (Candlewick) and the tween series REAL MERMAIDS (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky) as well as other books for children and young adults.

Visit her at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a great story about a girl who figures out she's a mermaid. However, this book does NOT just blend into the background with all the other teen mermaid books. It has a real story behind it- something more than just a girl who has a fishy secret.
I have to warn moms that this book is not for girls who don't know are aren't comfortable with puberty. Jade (the main character/mermaid) gets her period and talks about other, um, big girl stuff.
But for girls who are going to read this book, you are very smart and you know how to choose a good book. :) When I read it on vacation, I couldn't put it down. Literally, we have pictures of my cousin and I squished into a chair reading. It may not have been the most comfy setup, but hey, it was worth it for a great book like this one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Yan on January 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
What's more embarrassing: pimple of day; bathing suit with nothing flattering the body; getting your first period while bathing suit shopping; running into a hot boy on your way to buy pads; run into your dad literally and buys you pads. Well, that's not as bad compared to finding yourself having fins instead of feet. Some girls have all the luck.

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings is like no other coming-of-age story that I have read yet. It's charming yet exciting with an adventure of lives at stake. The battle to save her family was impressive for a middle grade novel with such a cute cover.

Jade is a well-spoken narrator with enough spunk to keep the readers' interest. Jade has a lot of her plate, but she is far from being that whiny tween a reader would hate to read about. I love Jade because even when she's down, she's not down for the count. Her best friend, Cori, helped with the character development of Jade as well as being a relatively, how do you say, a good friend! With so many things going wrong, Jade has at least one good positive thing in her life.

My only problem was with the male interest Luke. I found the ending to be too pitched perfect and a bit hard to shallow in terms of believable. It's the happily ever after many of the readers' want, but if were hinted more and his past clarified I would have bought the situation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reading, Writing and Waiting on April 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Really cute book for tweens! This novel has just the right amount of sass to keep those tweens reading on. The voice is really fresh and the story is really cute, but is a little lower aged than what I perfer to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By thebookbabesreads on May 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Due to copy and paste, formatting has been lost.

The first book in the Real Mermaids trilogy surprised me. I was expecting a fluffy read about mermaids, which I got. But I didn't expect to actually be enchanted by it. You should know by now that I just adore any type of mythology-- any at all. So I was happy to read a little bit on mermaid lore (the webbed ones), but I was a tad disappointed with the actual mermaid content of the novel.

To me, it was too...I don't know, shallow? That's not really the word that I'm looking for, but it'll do for now. As I was saying, the underwater stuff, the mermaid change and stuff (and stuff, and stuff, ugh)? Well, I wish that it had been better done. In moments like those, I felt like I wasn't really a part of the book. And I can't help but wish that the lore part of the book had been more focused on.

Not only that, but the villians were super juvenile. But I can totally forgive that, because I realize that we're dealing with a younger age group here. But still, I like my villians bad. And I like my parent's realistic. The first time that Jade becomes a mermaid, her dad helps her out of the tub...but what self-respecting dad wouldn't screech when his daughter becomes a mermaid?? Especially when she changes back and she's I may have missed something, but ick. I took that the wrong way-- maybe she has a blanket? I'll just assume that I missed something. (Oh, dear God in heaven please.)

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, this book was really cute. Jade was a terrific character, which lots of younger girls will definitely identify with, because she's experiencing every thing for the first time too-- girly things, growing a mermaid's tail (if you are, totally tell me, I'll be there for you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
A book review of Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau.
The first time I saw this book was at the library. It looked really good so I checked it out, unfortunately I didn't have enough time to finish more than half of it. Later that year I saw it, and the sequel Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath, at a book store so I bought both of them. I started the first one right away and finished it in less than a week. It kept me reading which I liked, it had a fast pace, and the main character Jade is very easy to identify with. These are all things I liked.
What I didn't like is the last chapter. After Jade saves her mother from the Freshies (mermaids that live in fresh water not salt water) everything is back to normal, almost. She still has the problem of her being mother a mermaid and everyone thinking that she's dead; Jade is a mermaid, too; her BFF Cory is hanging out with a girl who thinks Jade is nothing more than a piece of trash. In the end, Cory realizes the error of her ways and apologizes to Jade for ignoring her, sort of predictable but it was cute. The pool party that Cory had been planning for the entire book was actually a surprise birthday pool party for Jade. Jade's crush Luke was invited as a special guest and Jade is very happy. She finds that he is a mermaid too and that he likes her too. There is a lot of kissing in the end that might disturb some children and the stuff about getting periods and other more mature things might be lost on a younger child.
Over all this is a cute book. But if you want something with more depth and personality to the characters then read The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler.
Four out of five stars.
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