Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Mermaid's Sister Paperback – March 1, 2015
|New from||Used from|
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Set in 1870 on and around Llanfair Mountain, Pennsylvania, this delightful fantasy novel introduces the reader to Clara and Maren, sisters adopted around the same time by a woman (“Auntie”) known throughout the village for her cures. Maren came to Auntie in a conch shell, while Clara arrived via stork. Now, at sixteen, Maren is slowly turning into a mermaid, her fingers webbing and scales appearing on her sides. Clara wants Auntie to cure Maren, but that is not an option. Auntie responds, “There is no cure for being who you truly are.” As time passes, Maren’s body transforms more rapidly; it becomes obvious that it is time for Maren to be taken to the sea or she will die. Clara and a very close family friend, O’Neill, who also happens to be the object of desire of both sisters, decide to take Maren themselves. The story follows their adventure to the sea and the unexpected perils they face on the journey as their caravan burns down and they are “rescued” and then held captive by a group of traveling performers. This novel is widely appealing: there are elements of fantasy, romance, and adventure throughout. The book is a page-turner; the story pulls the reader in and the dynamic characters and plot twists keep interest levels high. The author’s writing style is very descriptive, helping the reader truly visualize the sights, sounds, tastes, and adventures of the characters. A must read.
From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—This lovely, lyrical fantasy takes place in a mythical Pennsylvania mountain setting and tells the story of three foundlings—Clara, Maren, and O'Neill. Clara was delivered to Auntie by a stork, Maren was found in a seashell, and O'Neill was placed beneath an apple tree. Clara and Maren have grown up as sisters with wise woman Auntie as their guardian, while the young man O'Neill is raised by Scarff the traveling peddler. When Clara notices that Maren is developing scales and needs to spend more and more time in water, she realizes that her friend is turning into a mermaid and that no potion or magic will halt the change. Because the only way to save Maren is to return her to her father, the Sea King, Clara and O'Neill place Maren in a tub of salt water in the peddler's wagon and journey toward the ocean. However, they are waylaid by members of a traveling show who enslave them and put Maren on display in a freak show. Clara must overcome her inner doubts about who she really is in order to save Maren, O'Neill, and herself from the wicked traveling players. Like all good fairy tales, this one touches on deeper themes of sibling rivalry, jealousy, insecurity, and questions of identity. Osbert the rambunctious wyvern is a particularly well-done character. VERDICT Noble's treatment of the mermaid theme is fresh and original, and even her minor characters are beautifully depicted.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Top customer reviews
Clara accepts the hard task to return her beloved sister to the ocean, now that she's turning into a mermaid. First she has a hard time to accept that she must let her sister go. There are characters in the book that might change this fate if they wanted to, but that's not the point.
This is Clara's journey and coming of age task.
No one can do this but her, because this is her journey to discover who she is, to accept it, to find love and to become who she's meant to be, contrary to her sister Maren who already knows exactly who she is and where she belongs.
The book had a great start. It was light and I enjoyed reading it.
I'm very critical with endings. It started to crumble when the "King" falls ill. I felt the ending needed more work. Somehow the way the author managed the end of the evil characters was a bit silly, even forced in some parts. It was a bit disappointing that it was too predictable, but I wouldn't say it was a waste of time.
The mission was accomplished and her wishes come true.
This is a tale of sisterhood between Clara (the narrator) and Maren, adopted separately by the wise, magical, amiable Auntie Verity. Like true sisters should, Clara and Maren know each other intimately, and they have expected shared experiences and rivalries. While Clara is more proper, Maren is more adventurous…and also more likely to have boys fawning over her.
But Maren’s attractiveness and boy-appeal may be in part to her otherworldliness. Auntie Verity found Maren in a seashell, and she is slowly turning into a mermaid.
Maren’s gradual transformation is exceptionally described, starting with a few shimmery scales on her legs and webbing between her toes and fingers. It is her webbed fingers that draw some attention at the annual local festival when a fortune teller removes Maren’s gloves. After that, Maren becomes a shut-in.
Though mermaids belong in the ocean, and Maren insists she wants to go there, Clara doesn’t wants to find a cure for Maren’s condition. She enlists the help of O’Neill, adopted son of Auntie’s beau and traveling medicine man Scarff. O’Neill would do anything for the girls, and while Clara secretly loves him, she fears her love is unrequited because he appears to be smitten with Maren—even more so in her mermaid form.
Clara doesn’t want to lose her sister, but more importantly, she wants hope that her own ultimate magical condition is reversible also. Her adoption story is that she was brought by a stork, so naturally, Clara fears she will sprout feathers and turn into a stork herself. For me, this minor subplot was one of the weak spots in the book. Given the time period, particularly Clara’s own properness, I expected Clara to be Verity’s actual daughter brought “by the stork” instead of explaining how babies were made. My prediction was wrong, and I won’t spoil the reveal, but it was a bit of a letdown.
The stakes are built when it’s clear that Maren cannot live on land. Her skin and scales get paler, she can’t speak and is often lethargic, and she’s literally withering away. I didn’t expect her to start getting smaller, and her shrinking definitely added some magical excitement to the story. Since Auntie Verity can’t leave their mountain town, Clara and O’Neill embark on the journey to bring Maren to the ocean—where Clara hopes they can convince the sea king to return Maren to human form.
The journey becomes perilous as they are forced into servitude by a troupe of traveling performers, hoping to exploit the little mermaid. (See what I did there?) It becomes a difficult and fearful situation for Clara, and her concern for her sister’s welfare is among the bright spot of the story.
The underlying theme about the bond of sisterhood is beautifully developed. Though sisters (whether through blood or adopted parentage) may grow up together, they may eventually pursue their own destinies and live apart. It doesn’t make them any less of sisters. Clara’s acceptance of that—and learning you must be true to yourself—was handled extremely well and is undoubtedly the biggest strength of the book.
This was a well-crafted fairy tale. Maybe some of the occurrences around the conflict’s resolution are appropriate for the genre, but they were a little too convenient and coincidental for my liking, causing me to give this a lower rating. The premise, language, characters, and rising action are magical, but some of the resolution not as much. Overall, it is the strong sisterly relationship that gives The Mermaid’s Sister its FOUR STARS.
Most recent customer reviews
I highly recommend it and play to share it with my daughters.