I think this book was mislabeled.
The 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner, The Mermaid’s Sister is supposed to be for young adults, and yet it reads like a middle grade novel. Maybe it was originally written as MG and then the author (or editor) changed the ages so it appeals to a wider audience. It get it, money matters, but it really didn’t work for this book.
Lets look at the facts. First, and foremost, the main characters are supposed to be 16-turned 17, but I would give them 12, 13 at most. Clara’s thoughts are that of a middle school girl with a crush (which to middle schoolers is OMG TRUE LOVE!). Oh no! But her crush likes her best friend, who is cool and pretty and why can’t she be more like her? Sound like every other pink covered MG novel out there, amiright?
Anyway, on to the next point. Unlike YA, this novel was completely event driven. And I don’t mean just to set off the plot, but constantly having stuff happen just to move forward. They waited an entire year while Maren was dying before actually doing something. As two children who can only sit by and watch? Sure, I can believe that. As totally capable teenagers? No freaking way. In the entire book, every action taken was a matter of necessity, not character. They were quite content with sitting around and wishing things would get better, like children do.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t a bad book. On the contrary, this book was so well written I was green with jealousy as I read pages upon pages of gorgeous word play and lyrical genius. I can only dream of being able to write like that. The world is incredibly vibrant and so well researched. I could smell the spices and taste the bakery. Amazing!
As a MG novel, it’s great. I would get it for my 10 year old niece without a second thought. But if you’re an adult looking for a YA fantasy with developed characters, don’t expect much. It’s a nice short read, so worth it when you just want a simple magical story. I don’t regret reading it, but I do wish it lived up to the Amazon hype.