The only thing that terrifies Jade more than the ocean is dancing at the Fall Formal. Because Jade has two left feet—er, flippers. Who knew being a high school freshman is even more awkward than being a plus-size aqua-phobic mer-girl? At least her only drama is of the human variety...
The Mermish Council has just declared that all land-dwelling mers but return to the ocean. Pronto. But there's no way Jade is going to let her mom, or Luke, her...boyfriend? mer-guy-friend?, disappear into the deep, dark ocean. Again. After all, a girl's got to have a date to her first dance.
If Jade can stop mer-mageddon, finding a plus-size dress that doesn't look like a shower curtain should be a piece of cake.Paperback, 240 pages Published February 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.
Three stars: A fun book for tweens with some great positive messages.
Jade is excited to start high school after her harrowing summer. At last, she can relax and enjoy her new boyfriend, Luke. However, the first day of school brings plenty of surprises. The biggest is that Selena is back and she is enrolled in school. It is Jade's responsibility to help her fit in, no easy task to get a teenage mermaid who barely speaks English situated in school. Then Jade and her family learn that the Mermish Council is up to no good as they are commanding all the mermaids on land to return to the water, like it or not. Jade is discouraged that she might stand to lose her mother and family after everything she went through to keep them together. Can Jade somehow find a way to save her family and manage to be an ordinary teenager?
What I Liked:
- First, I am not the target audience so even though this was a three star read for me, I can highly recommend it for tweens. This book follows Jade a fourteen year old teenage girl who just happens to be half mermaid, not only is Jade part fish, but she is also plus sized. I was excited to see a female protagonist with some curves. Let's face it, we all can't be skinny size zero. I enjoyed that Jade was, for the most part, confident and happy thanks to her loving family and spectacular friends, including her boyfriend, Luke. Sure, she is a bit self conscious about her body image, especially when it comes to going to the dance, but what girl isn't concerned about her appearance? I loved that Jade shows these flaws and fears, it makes her a likeable character that will appeal to the younger crowd.
- I was especially pleased that this book was well suited for the younger adults, more for tweens and upper middle graders, not that it can't be enjoyed by older teens, but the target audience is definitely the younger teens. The romance is sweet and clean, the friendships real, and the plot and conflicts are easy to follow. I picked this series up with book three, and didn't have a hard time following what was going on as the author does a great job of filling in the back story. What I liked the most was that this book had plenty of positive messages. I appreciated how it showed that not everything can easily be categorized into good and bad, and how you may not get along with someone just because you don't see eye to eye, but that can change with a little effort. I also liked the emphasis on the importance of family and friends. All in all, this was a upbeat book that I can enthusiastically recommend for younger adults.
- I enjoyed the way that Jade ended up coming to a new understanding with a girl who had previously been her rival. It is always nice to see a former mean girl change her colors and that was the case with this book. Don't worry, she really isn't a horrible mean girl, I am never a fan of mean girls, and Lainey is difficult but not a bully or cruel.
And The Not So Much:
- One small criticism I had was that I did not like Selena. First, I was not completely filled in on her whole back story so that may have played into why I didn't connect with her. Second, she is a mergirl who is thrust into school and she can barely speak English. Her language skills are childish and she is very immature. I had a hard time believing that she could even manage to go to school with her limitations, granted I am not the target audience so while I did not like this character, a younger reader may think she is great.
- I wish there was a bit more on the romance with Luke and Jade. Not that I needed fiery kisses or anything along those lines, but it appeared that he brought out the best in Jade and helped her to feel more confident. Unfortunately, the two don't spend a lot of time together in this book. Again, this probably isn't an issue for a younger reader.
- Finally, one of the main conflicts in this book was that the mermaids who were now land dwellers did not have appropriate identities and documentations, so technically they couldn't marry or even enroll in school. This was a bit of an issue because we all know it isn't that difficult to get paperwork. Really a minor complaint and it won't bother the target audience.
Real Mermaids Don't Wear High Heels is a fun little book with positive messages for the younger reader. I appreciated that it was a good, quick read and age appropriate. I especially liked that Jade is a bit curvy and not rail thin, and she is learning to be more confident in her own skin. She is a great role model for the younger crowd. If you have an older middle grader or a tween reader, I think this is a great series to introduce to them. You can hand it to your young reader with confidence as it is clean and sweet.
"I think we're all just trying to do our best." I added. "Then someone comes along to show us how we can do better."
"This boyfriend-girlfriend stuff was so complicated."
"It's easy to make friends when you have something they want."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.