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 She nods off in the tub and, upon waking, finds that her legs have been replaced by a scaly mermaid's tail.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
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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