Emma is young at seventeen, yet her whole life is about to change as she’ll have to leave her family and life behind her to start again, in a place where she’s supposed to be, yet feels utterly foreign and awful.
Abandoned by her parents as an infant, Emma was adopted by a human family and thought all was well until she was well into her teens, where she started to have a strange affinity for water. This is because she’s actually a mermaid, and at some stage her body won’t be able to survive on land anymore, and she’ll need to return to the seas. As the book progresses she needs to be in the ocean more and more, unable to breathe on dry land.
Though she can’t imagine leaving her adoptive parents and brother whom she loves dearly, at one stage in her life it would almost seem like an escape into another life would be the best thing for her – almost unable to cope at school when her boyfriend misinterprets a situation and violently accosts her, both physically and sexually. However, a new boy to the school, James, soon gives her all the more reason to stay.
Throughout this novel Emma has a lot to deal with. She’s not yet recovered from what her ex did to her, and the school she goes to is the kind to dismiss her instantly in many cruel ways. Though she has one friend, we don’t see them hangout much in this book as Emma is struggling to cope in general, then even moreso as her parents go away and leave her to look after her disabled brother, and the call of the water is getting more insistent, meaning she has to set aside enough time each day somehow to swim. She’s not the best at communicating and there’s a lot of teenage angst as she and James feel drawn to each other, yet he’s struggling to give her the space she needs and she’s having trouble telling him what her ex did, as well as of course say ‘hey, I’m a mermaid and I’ll be gone in a few months!’ – understandably, she knows it’s not smart to start a new relationship when she’s about to leave.
Then to compound everything going wrong with her life, her brother starts to shoplift, get in trouble, then goes missing.
Overall, this book has quite good writing. At times dialogue and expectations of the characters is quite troubled and sexist with a few issues there, however I feel they represent the character accurately, and aren’t necessarily the thoughts of the author. The plot is a little slow in places however it seems to portray life quite well – at times not a lot can happen, then everything can happen at once, so that’s quite accurate also.
The romance in this is probably one of the stronger aspects, capturing pretty well the confusion, miscommunication and angst that can come in young teenaged relationships. It’s also so good to see a character who has a strong bond with her brother and parents as this isn’t always the case in YA.
This has an open ending to it, and not all plots are tied up neatly. Though not immediately obvious, it seems this may be a series with more to come. What will happen to Emma, and what will happen next?