Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love reading YA books. I enjoy books from YA better than any other type...except maybe classic lit...but I really only like them after I've read them a few times and geek-discussed them to get at the core. But YA books, I love them. First time reading. And second. Especially when they are written well, with respect to their audience and with a strong protagonist. And if they have a good sense of humor...all the better!
Ms Boudreau's book was a choice book for my 7 year-old. She saw me reading it, liked the cover, loved the idea that I knew the writer and so she stuck with it although some of the talk (first period and boyfriend crushes) were beyond her (at least I HOPE they were, I explained some, but not everything).
The main character, Jade is grieving the loss of her mom (Alex is NOT happy with how many mom's die in stories, so she was thrilled at the ending, but wants a sequel) who allegedly drowned a year ago, and although this is tragic and very sad, Ms. Boudreau manages to play the healing sensitively and humorously, especially when Jade gets her period for the first time and her geeky father showing up, trying to help, with a shopping cart FULL of feminine projects ...in from of her crush.
When Jade discovers that she turns into a mermaid she also finds out her mother was a mermaid, who had special permission to stay human. So how could a mermaid drown? The mystery thickens. Along with a frazzled best friend relationship which promises to pull her apart, unstudied for final exams, a mom sighting, Jade shows the reader that she is made of tougher stuff than that.
My daughter loves whenever a strong female character stands up for herself. She gets that nervous, excited giggle and she stands crouched on the balls of the feet at the end of the couch waiting for the next scene...she is a true pleasure to read to, she laughs out loud, she gets so nervous she'll hide her eyes, groan, and even ask me to stop, she can't take anymore. She went through all of these emotions, and I of course did too because this was a gripping, funny tale of a girl discovering who she is has more to do with her heart than her outside, whether she means the overweight outside or the fin-encased mermaid outside. Jade stands up and takes her spot in her own life and learns the power of making things happen. She learns how to apologize, how to keep good-for-you promises and how to stay true to yourself even if the boy has cute curly hair and a mysterious back story himself.
This was well worth the read and you should give it a read.
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