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Friday, August 20, 2010

Holy Crab Cakes! This Is A Fun One ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Mermaids weren't meant to live on the land. Seventeen-year-old Lily Sanderson knows this, but hanging out up top is giving her valuable human experience. After living underwater her whole life, she's getting to know her human side, coming to understand her deceased mother a little more, and giving herself time to prepare for her role as reigning princess of Thalassinia. In a matter of weeks, she'll be sitting on her throne, a permanent resident of her underwater kingdom. All she needs to do now is convince her crush to become her prince. Swim star Brody Bennett is perfect for the job - handsome, athletic, and so comfortable in the water he might as well have gills. Lily knows he'll be thrilled with the idea of bonding with a bona fide mermaid - she just has to work up enough courage to ask him. Only one other person on land knows her secret. Can she muster up the moxie to confide in one more - a gorgeous high school god, no less?

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs is a lighthearted story of one mermaid's quest for love - and all the obstacles that stand in her way. First, there's the fact that her tongue turns to cotton every time she tries to speak to her intended. Then, there's her biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher, who lives to make her miserable and tries to thwart her every attempt at wooing Brody. And, of course, there's the whole rule that she has to find a prince (mermaids don't do the fling thing - they "bond" for life) before her 18th birthday. She only has a few weeks to get her dream guy on board or she'll lose her right to rule.

When Quince proposes a scheme to help Lily catch Brody, she's naturally suspicious. Also, desperate. When the plan goes completely awry, Lily finds herself in the thick of a tsunami-sized disaster. She's headed back to Thalassinia, alright, but with the wrong guy. Now, she has to race back to her kingdom, convince her father to break the false bond, zoom back to land, spill all her secrets to Brody, and bond to the right boy. Son of a sea witch, it's not going to be easy! It doesn't help that the bond is clearly working its magic on her frayed nerves and flip-flopping heart, because nothing else could explain the tender feelings she suddenly seems to have for the completely irritating Quince. If she doesn't take care of the catastrophe - and fast - she'll lose everything she's ever wanted.

What Forgive My Fins lacks in logic, it makes up for in enthusiasm. It's a funny, upbeat romance that will have readers cheering for the misguided mermaid. You'll want to strangle Lily for not seeing what's right in front of her, but that's true of a whole lot of teenage heroines. Mostly, you'll just roll your eyes at her antics and keep reading. The story really is enjoyable, there are just a few things that bugged me throughout the book - namely, the facts that no one seemed all that surprised to discover Lily's true identity, her struggle between the land and sea wasn't really that much of a struggle, and I never got why she cared about Brody at all. He's not the only character that cries out for development - every single one of them could have used a little complexity. My biggest issue, though, is with the book's finale. By the time we get to the end of the last chapter, we've got our sweet, satisfying (if predictable) ending. Then, out of nowhere, comes the Epilogue. To me it seemed tacked on, like Childs was forcing the story into a series, when it would have been perfectly complete as a stand-alone. Now, maybe all my complaints will be mollified as the tale goes on, but I'm not sure I care enough to continue with it.

Overall, I enjoyed the lightness of the book, especially considering the dark, melodramatic, obsessive romances so prevalent in YA paranormal books. I liked that it was upbeat, fun and a little zany. There just wasn't enough development to make any of it leap off the page for me. Once again, I have to say, loved the concept, not so thrilled about the execution. As I said before, I'm not sure I care enough to continue on with the story because, as you know, there are a whole lot of other fish (uh, mermaids) in the YA sea.

(Readalikes: Reminded me a lot of Firelight by Sophie Jordan [although Forgive My Fins isn't nearly as compelling] and other stories about half human/half paranormal teenagers)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for mild language (no F-bombs) and some sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of Forgive My Fins from the very generous folks at HarperTeen. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. I don't choose YA often but I do want to read this one.

    And lmao at Holy Crab Cakes, that is the best.


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