Why not talk about mermaids? Not your Disney mermaids, or your Hans Christian Anderson mermaids, though both have their good points. I’m thinking about talking of mermaids in a girl who just found out she is part mermaid and might be seduced by the sea kind of way. L.K. Madigan’s new book The Mermaid’s Mirror is definitely a captivating new book that has just been added to the Tucker Free Library’s collection.
The story follows Lena, your average California girl, as she tries to convince her Dad to let her learn how to surf. He had an accident years ago and has not been near the water since. Lena knows that she is meant to go further out into the ocean than she does, but she cannot explain why the sea draws her so. She starts finding herself sleep-walking out to the beach at night, and is constantly looking for something; she just does not know what it is yet. She can’t tell her best friend Pem, or her friend turned boyfriend Kai, they would think she’s crazy. Especially when she starts seeing a mermaid out in one of the most dangerous surfing spots in all of town. Do the mermaid, the attraction to the sea, and her searches for some long forgotten object have something in common? What about all of the hushed arguments her Dad and step-mom keep having about telling Lena the truth? Something fishy is going on, and Lena’s sure it is not just the sea.
For being a book about mermaids (not my usual subject of choice), this is a wonderfully crafted book. Madigan put time and effort into the creation of her worlds, both above and below water. The terms the surfers use, and the way she describes the art of surfing and masterfully done. Her mermaids’ language is a little on the Shakespeare-esque side, very proper and with a humongous lack of perception for the human world. While this works in some cases, I had a hard time believing that when it comes to issues of humans in the ocean that mermaids would be anything less than fully cognizant. I was alright with the ending, though it seemed rushed. There is no way that Madigan’s one sentence explanations about how Lena’s friends and family took her disappearance satisfied me. Especially when Lena’s friends and boyfriend were such a huge part of the beginning of the book.
Overall, this foray into the underwater world of mermaids was a fun read, with well-crafted worlds and a stunning main character. Some of the supporting cast was well-intentioned, but at times fell flat. That did not, however, change the fact that I enjoyed this book thoroughly.