Book Review: Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings

Book Review: Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe RingsReal Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau
Release Date: Dec. 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher

Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning...

If she hadn't been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?
Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke?

This summer is about to get a lot more interesting...

The Short of It: The first word I think for this book is cute. Boudreau spins a fast paced, coming of age story that will be enjoyed by all ages although I think tweens will like it the most.

Plot: There were some cheesy and stretching moments, but honestly, it’s what makes the book so charming. Yes, most of the book is about Jade freaking about about being a mermaid (but wouldn’t you?), but the emotions and situations she goes through in every day life are something anyone can relate to. Getting tongue-tied in front of a crush? Freaking out about a first period? Afraid of losing your best friend? Check, check and check! Most of us have been through some version of those freak-outs and make Jade feel like a typical 13 year old girl. Enough so, that I can ignore the silly factor of salt bath causing her to sprout a tail and scales and the convenience of the mother-rescuing plot.

Characters: Jade can be a bit over dramatic, but what 13 year old isn’t? Despite that, she is a lovable character that I could connect with almost off the bat. I wanted to give her a hug when she started her period and then die of embarrassment as her dad Googled what to buy. While the situation with her mother was kind of eh, Jade handled it as well as any teenager could. I rooted for her as she overcame the obstacles in her way using her brain and creativity.

As a side note, I wanted to briefly mention body image. Jade several times over describes herself as “plus size”. However, I was never sure if she truly was or if that was just how she saw herself. Her best friends did make reference to hiding her trouble ares/mid-section, but I think most women today have trouble with some belly fat. I suppose I would have like to know if plus size mention size 10 or size 20, because one of them is plus-sized but the other is not.

Romance: There’s a bit of flirting and lots of crushing, but there is no true romance here. There is a promise of one, but we don’t get to see it fulfilled truly. Without going into spoilers, I will say that the thing Luke reveals is way too predictable. I had a moment of that’s cute, but overall I wish it hadn’t been put in.

Writing: I really don’t have much to say in this category. My few issues has been already pointed out, as have my compliments. However, I do want to repeat how great a job Boudreau in making a believable, fast-paced story.

Librarian-Mode: Admittedly, I haven’t read many mermaid books. However, after talking with others, it is safe to say this book would be well placed with The Mermaid’s Mirror and Forgive My Fins.

So, now it’s your turn…have you read Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings? If so, be sure to let me know what you thought.


Book Review: Beautiful Dead: Jonas

Book Review: Beautiful Dead: JonasBeautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire
Series: Beautiful Dead #1
Release Date: March 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher

Darina has just entered the world of the Beautiful Dead. A world that contains four of her classmates...her dead classmates, including her boyfriend Phoenix. This world is supposed to be secret from those of the living, but Darina makes a deal in order to be the exception. She must help solve the mysteries that surround each of her classmates' deaths.

Jonas was the first to die and the first to need her help. Darina must discover the real reason that Jonas crashed his motorcycle, causing his death and crippling his girlfriend. He was an experienced and cautious rider, could Jonas have really been driving too fast and risking himself and his love? Or was there something more that happened on that tragic day? And more importantly, will Darina be able to discover the truth and finally allow Jonas to pass on in peace?

The Short of It: This is one of those liked, but didn’t love. And honestly, it’s really hard for me to say why. There was a lot of potential, but it kind of fell short. I felt like the world could have been fleshed out a bit more, but it was still a decent read overall.

Plot: I will warn you, that you are instantly thrown into the plot. There is no introduction, no hello this is where you are…you’re just there. I know many have not liked this, but I didn’t mind it too much. Although, I was a little confused as first and had to go back and reread a few pages to understand what was going on.  And I really do wish things had been fleshed out a bit more, but I’m hoping the future books will help with that issue. Other than that, I thought the plot was an original concept; I would have never thought of making zombies beautiful, intelligent, and almost like they had been before they died. The mystery behind the deaths is interesting, although, Jonas’ death was a little predictable. Then again, I’m not sure it was supposed to be hard to guess as Darina was calling it long before the end of the book. This book is truly just one slice of the pie and am I interested to see where Maguire plans to take it.

Characters: I’m sort of indifferent when it comes to the characters. I didn’t feel like I got to know them well enough to care what did or did not happen to them, especially Jonas. I mean, I didn’t want him to disappear without having his mystery solved, but I also wouldn’t have cried any tears if he had. And he seemed like a nice, loving boy, but I never felt like I knew him. To me, he was some casual person I knew in passing and nothing more, which made me a little sad since it was his book.

Honestly, I think the book focused a little too much on Darina and Phoenix – like it was really more their book and Jonas was just in the background. Still, I’m not sure I really know them. Darina is close, but I’m still not sure what really makes her tick. I want to know if there is a reason, beyond Phoenix, that she’s willing to help them out. I just wanted more about her and her life in general. Right now, she feels more like someone who is just there to fill a role – not a true character, but I have hope that that will change as the books progress.

Romance: This one is really hard to talk about. After all, by the time we meet Phoenix he’s already dead. It is obvious that they care a great deal about each other, but their time together is very limited. What we learn about their relationship is mainly through Darina’s reflections on the past, which I’m not sure if it can be taken as accurate or a girl in love shading the truth. Although, you can tell that Phoenix is protective of her and wants her to be happy. I only worried that in his new zombie-state the emotions he sends are not real. There have been several hints at that, but it’s impossible to say for sure.

Before I move on I do want to mention Jonas and Zoey’s relationship. What tiny bit we saw of it was truly sweet, but tragic. He truly did love her, even if she did doubt it a little after the accident. Although, I think deep down she knew he did. It was a relationship that seemed to be blooming and was kind of sad that it ended before it really began. I am glad that she was able to find closure though.

Writing: I didn’t think the writing was bad. Some of the descriptions and dialogue felt silted, but nothing that made me shout and scream in frustration. I know I had a couple of eh moments, but nothing that had me ranting.

Librarian-Mode: This is a hard one for me. It’s unlike any zombie book I’ve ever read, so I’m not sure the normal zombie-lovers would like it. There’s no gore or brain eating here. I don’t really think this book can sit neatly in a niche, but I would try recommending it to other paranormal lovers.

You can see other reviews by tour participants at the Teen Fire Ning