Monday, August 23, 2010

Under the Sea! (la la la la) Under the Sea!

Ohmygoodness it is a scorching 102° here in Austin, Texas. And, being the master procrastinator responsible adult that I am, I just got back from running errands. I'm a pedestrian with a rockin' carbon footprint, which is all fine and dandy when it's, like, May or April. But in August, I mostly want to just go jump in the ocean every time I leave my house.

Oh wait, I live in AUSTIN, TEXAS where there is no Ocean. Woe! Fortunately, I've noticed a new trend in YA. Watery mythologies are all up ons, and I'm so psyched to read some of them.

For example, there's SIREN by Tricia Rayburn, a recent release from Egmont USA, sitting in the large stack on my bedside table. this book takes place in my home state of Maine so I am so so so psyched to read this one. (Maine people are like that -- we cling to all things Downeast.) With a tragic series of deaths on the coast, a supernatural twist, some steamy romance and all that ocean-y goodness, what's not to love? From Booklist: Rayburn’s modern-day, edgy spin on siren mythology combines suspense, dark drama, and romance. Vanessa is an appealing protagonist, whose detailed narrative incorporates well-drawn issues, from grief to relationship complexities…[Siren] will appeal to fans of contemporary supernatural novels, and the lingering ambiguities and loose ends will leave readers wanting more.

And then there's REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOERINGS by Hélène Boudreau, coming out from Sourcebooks later this year. It sounds absolutely fresh and sweet, a quirky coming of age story complete with first periods and bumbling dads. Of course there's also that oh-crap-am-I-actually-a-mermaid? twist, which plunges me right into the cool, watery depths of summer (which will be nice, since it hits shelves in December). And I love that the heroine, Jade, isn't your typical mermaid material. She's a big girl, and since her mother drowned, she's terrified of water. Since it sounds like Andersen's THE LITTLE MERMAID meets ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME MARGARET, I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this book.

SELKIE GIRL by Laurie Brooks is also sitting in my TBR pile. It takes place in an island community near Scotland, and the main character is an outcast with physical deformities she can't understand or conceal. The grandfather character seems lovely and intriguing, encouraging our heroine to discover her heritage and find out why she's so different. And of course we've got a hearty dose of romance. SELKIE GIRL sounds like a refreshing, ocean-y read, and I love the eco-angles. From Booklist: Although the flowery pink-and-turquoise cover art suggests a sweet, girly mermaid story, Brooks’ brooding, romantic tale of a shape-shifting seal-girl is drawn straight from Celtic folklore. Her mother is a selkie (a seal/human shape-shifter), her father is human, but Elin Jean belongs nowhere. Celtic mythology? Heck yes I'm on board! SELKIE GIRL is out now in hardcover from Knopf Books for Young Readers, and it hits the shelves in paperback with a new cover this fall.

Coming in October from Houghton Mifflin is THE MERMAID'S MIRROR by L.K. Madigan, and I am just itching to get my hands on this sea-rich story that appears rife with magical realism. With a character dying to surf, and a father forbidding her to do so, you know this is a novel filled with secrets and suspense. And the magic! Something is luring our protagonist to the water, and she's seeing things that she knows can't be real. This take on mermaid lore sounds refreshing and exciting, and I can't wait to read it this fall while pining away for my coastal homeland.

AAAAAAAAND You couldn't possibly think with all this mermaid love I hadn't already started in on some seaside stories! In case you haven't picked up your copy of FORGIVE MY FINS by Tera Lynn Childs yet, now's the time. FORGIVE MY FINS (Katherine Tegan Books at HarperTeen) is the story of Lily, a girl from Thalassinia -- the mermaid kingdom off the coast of Florida. She's not just any girl either, she's a princess, daughter of the king and heir to the throne. But being half-human, she's embracing her land-lubbing side and attending high school where she falls in love with Brody, a friend from journalism class. Lily doesn't think she's all that pretty with her wildly frizzy blonde hair and freckled face. That hasn't stopped obnoxious neighbor-boy Quince from harassing her for as long as she's known him. And when Quince tries to do Lily a favor and ends up setting off a series of events that Lily considers life-ruining, the romantic drama is more than enough to drown in. FORGIVE MY FINS is irresistibly cute, with sweet romance and a fun mythology, a perfect beach read or a great book to curl up with in bed on a warm summer night.

What do you guys think about the mermaid trend? Any ocean-y books y'all are looking forward to? Leave me a comment and let me know!

10 comments:

Cholisose said...

Hmm, I think I'm indifferent regarding mermaids, but if it's a good book it's a good book.

Maggie Desmond-O'Brien said...

I don't know how I feel about mermaids. I got way into them when I was younger, and still like them if they're done well, but I'm not sure I could stomach them as a trend a la vampire! These look sweet, though - I'll have to check them out!

E. Kristin Anderson said...

Like you guys, I totally agree that a good book is about a lot more than the mythology the author employs! I think what makes these books interesting is that they're all new and different takes on various mer-mythologies. PLUS the stories seem really cool.

Adri said...

Oh oh oh, I almost forgot, if you wanted to pick (movies) with mermaids/oceanrythings, go with Ondine. It. Is. Brilliant.

E. Kristin Anderson said...

Oooooh thanks, Adri!

kellybarnhill said...

Ooooooo..... I am so thrilled about this trend I can't even tell you. I spent half my childhood convinced that I was a secretly lost mermaid princess stuck in my lousy family with four annoying younger siblings, and if I could only make it to the ocean (far, far away from Minnesota, let me tell you) my *real* family would find me and whisk me away to my underwater palace.

Sigh.

Obviously, I nursed that fantasy for a while. It all came crashing down, alas, when I actually went to the ocean when I was thirteen, and not only was there no whisking, but I was apparently allergic to sand fleas and I got a wicked rash.

Stupid sand fleas.

Still, I'm completely thrilled to relive my childhood fantasies (because really, why read books unless you can relive a fantasy or two?)

Jenna said...

I love this list, and all of these books are now on my Amazon wishlist. :)

E. Kristin Anderson said...

Kelly, OMG, I was an enchantress who lived behind a waterfall (AKA the stairs that lead to the second floor) and I could turn into a snow leopard (I lived in Maine) and also my younger siblings were clearly lousy and completely out of the picture in this fantasy. So I love fantasy books with winter wonderlands. Are there any merbooks I missed that you're psyched for?

Jenna, I'd love to hear what you think when you get around to reading some of them!!

Georgia McBride said...

Thanks for writing about this, Em. I find it very interesting in terms of YA. Who would think really? But I'm glad to see that publishers and readers are gravitating toward it. It remains to be seen how well these titles will do. Afterall, ppl (in the biz) keep saying angels are dead and yet angel books keep cropping up. So, I'd like to see at least a few big merfolk books. Would be nice for the authors and the trend in general.
xoxo-
G

E. Kristin Anderson said...

Agreed, Georgia! I'm really curious as to how this trend will pan out. I think, like with many trends, it's about the originality an author brings to the concept!

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