Genre: YA/ Fantasy
Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. She fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease said to be carried by humans: emotions. Her sister had the Disease, and Red Tide took her away. Will it come for Coral next?
Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at a new group-therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?
Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?
When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?
My verdict: A stunning take on the Little Mermaid – however it’s not the happy go lucky Ariel and Prince Eric love story we’re all acquainted with thanks to Disney, this book is inspired by the more grim events and outcomes in the famous tale, to summarise it in one sentence I would say that this book is about Mental Health and Mermaids. We all know TLM is about wanting more from life and love but, Coral is more about identity and wanting to be free of anything expected of her from society and in her own family. Sara Ella writes with such conviction that it had me wondering if this is based off her own life or someone close to her… even in the most difficult parts of the novel she doesn’t water down the emotions or patronise the reader but explore throughout the narrative why the main characters yearn to have their own identities and how sometimes even when we’re surrounded by people, that if we cannot connect to them emotionally then we may as well be alone. I love this book because so much of it is true of today’s society, adults often disregard teenage mental health problems as ‘teenage angst’ (however I believe I won the lottery when it came to the allocation of best parents as this wasn’t the case for me) and adults don’t encourage young people to talk about these things for the fear of the negative labels that may follow them and their families. However, I digress, Sara Ella writes very poetically and with such empathy for people going through the same troubles, which is heartwarming because sometimes, I find in teenage fiction especially with mental health that they always is a happy ending however, in this case, Sara Ella is realistic in knowing that there is no such thing as a happy ending in real life but manages to capture the essence of a fairytale and provide escapism. (Especially regarding Coral’s narrative) I also just love the fact that she manages to convey Mermaids aren’t the happy go lucky elusive fantasy but instead they were originally portrayed as fierce temptresses. Very, engage Noble which I hope will encourage the younger generation to talk about their mental health instead of suffering in silence and channelling their energy into something positive which is at the same time is therapeutic. Bonus points for putting an original spin on a classic tale which deserves more worthy recognition. Sara Ella is one to watch.