“Seventeen-year-old Lily, half-mermaid and half-human, has been living on land and attending high school, where she develops a crush on a boy but is afraid to tell him of her true destiny as the ruler of the undersea kingdom of Thalassinia.” (Follett Titlewave)
This book is dripping with popular appeal. The tantalizing cover and title will hook middle school and high school girls, and the first chapter will reel them right in.
The story revolves around teen interests–a school crush, a date for the Spring Fling Dance, beauty, the loyalty of best friends, a jealousy cousin, a protective father, and the cute guy next door.
Unfortunately, the sensual electricity between Lily and Quince (the guy-next-door) is what drives the story–fueled by descriptions of looking, touching, hugging and kissing.
Two librarians, one at a public high school and another at a public middle school, recently recommended this book to me as “a fun, clean read.”
However, I believe that reading this book will not help young girls “flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness” (1 Tim. 2:22 ). Quite the opposite.
Reading it is like watching a soap opera. What we read affects our thoughts and desires. “Whatever is pure . . . think about such things” (Phil. 4:8).
Tera Lynn Childs turns philosophical a few times by touching on human busyness and the difference between a crush and true love.
Quince (the boy next door) tells Lily that her crush on a popular boy at school is based on an image and is shallow. “Love isn’t about obsession. Love is about . . . connection,” he tells her (p.221).
Later Lily tells a friend: “With Quince, I don’t feel like a lesser being . . . I feel like an equal. With Quince, I don’t have to pretend to be anyone other than exactly who I am. He makes me content to be me” (p.282).
There’s definitely some food for thought in those words.
Unfortunately, Quince is a totally handsome, rugged-yet-tender infinitely patient and impossibly perfect guy-next-door who adores Lily no matter how she treats him.
Makes a nice story, but it’s NOT reality.
Other cautions: Lily does her fair share of “fake” swearing (“damselfish,” “son of a swordfish”) and Quince let’s go with the real thing about a dozen times. Magic is not a big part of the story, but Lily shifts between her human and mermaid form and occasionally uses her magical powers for benign things like chilling her orange juice.
Sequel: Fins are Forever.
I do not plan to place a copy of this book on the shelves at Webster Christian School.
Interest level: YA.