On her sixteenth birthday Lena sees a mermaid at Magic’s Cove. Lena can’t believe her eyes, and yet, she knows wants to see her again, she knows she was real.
There are some books I read and I like, there is something specific I like, but I like it very, very much, that kind of a book ends up on my Mod Podge Bookshelf. Then there is another kind of a book, the kind of a book that has a feeling to it, and I can’t describe it, but it’s magical and I just love the book for being magic. This was one of those books.
First I want to talk about the characters, because they were so great, so visual, as well!
Selena, called Lena, is a great fifteen-going-on-sixteen, she’s fun, and cool to read with. I loved feeling the ocean through her eyes, my senses were so aware of it the whole time, it was as if the waves were my soundtrack while I read. I really felt what she felt, she was easy to be empathetic to.
Kai is a sweetheart, and any girl would be lucky to have him, but girls have this interior buzzer that goes off when a guy is too clingy, except when he is the right guy, only then does the buzzer remain silent and in Kai’s case, my buzzer kept going off, but he really is a darling.
Pem is a good character, I’m not sure where the Max relationship really fit into the plot, it sort of fizzled out for me. And I didn’t like Max, he seemed like he could turn into an abusive boyfriend, just saying. Henry too, fizzled, but I swear, if he had been brought back in that last scene, like as a little hope for Lena, that would have rounded things out for me.
I loved Lena’s family and their dynamics, it was consistent, sweet and gave way to the magic, homey feeling I was trying to express. Cole is the best and I love that he and Lena have such a strong bond. I do wish Allie had talked about Lucy. I think hearing from Allie about Lucy would have added this friendship bond that could have made the story sweeter, less like Allie was just waiting for Lucy to fall of the face of the planet (literally) to get to Brian.
Lucy, I love Lucy (ha!) so much, her character was the most vivid, the most magical as well, and my favorite. I could see her arms in particular, but the hair and heart shaped face were also very vivid at all times. Her speech is so cool, consistent and added just a hint of something special that set the plot apart from other paranormal books.
*spoiler ahead, please skip this if you haven’t read the book!*
Nix, I go back and forth, agreeing and disagreeing that he could be her souls mate. On the one hand, I believe that when you know, you know, so them falling so head over fin so quickly makes sense, however, I don’t think she could have left him for anything if it was true love, if it was her one love. That’s why I wanted to see Henry in the last scene if there was not going to be a sequel, and I wanted to see Nix with legs, maybe even Lucy with legs, if there was going to be a sequel. Neither really happened, but I will get to that.
There are a couple things about this book that will bug some people, and then there were one or two things that made me tilt my head to the side, but over all, the quality of the fluid writing and the peaceful, intriguing storytelling make up for any glitches in the technical aspects.
The pacing is great and is very smooth. When you get underwater things feel very dreamlike, magical, you can almost feel time is out of whack and sometimes that was a disadvantage to the story. I really didn’t feel like Lena developed bonds with anyone, or that she and her mother discussed anything deep, meaningful, soulful, the things I would talk to my own mother about. I felt Lucy was pushed aside for Nix, and they didn’t talk either, they just fell in love. The climax just rushed by, so I wouldn’t recommend you read this book if you can’t appreciate a book as a whole and value other parts of a book, other than where it’s going and if that will satisfy you.
The beginning and end were very hard on me, some people might like jumping right into the thick of things, I don’t mind it, but it was a very immediate transition into the story, there was no breaker, or cushion, you were there, in the family, at the beach, you were going with Lena, because she was leaving without you. Luckily, Madigan is a very talented storyteller and knew Lena very well, you felt at home with Selena almost as quickly as the action begins, so that balances things nicely. Then, the end, well, there is no other way to say it except it was way too abrupt and felt a bit hopeless. I was really sad for this girl, for Lucy and for Nix! Really, really sad. I understand that not all novels end with birds singing, and bells on, but still, it’s like no one is happy except for Lena’s family on land, and that excludes Lena.
I really wanted to see Henry, Nix or Kai again, I wanted someone to be the someone for Lena, I also wanted to hear from the mermaid one last time.
I don’t want to seem like a downer, I really did love this book, in fact, you could say that it is to Madigan’s credit that I feel the way I do, since it is the authors characters I fell in love with and want the best kind of ending, or at least the most hopeful ending, that could be given for them. I did feel let down though, as if out there, somewhere, hearts are still breaking!
My other major complaint is that I wanted Lena to have more mermaid in her; I felt like she was completely human. The approach to living underwater that Madigan takes is wholly unique and very cool, but still, cloak or no cloak, I wanted her to at least have scales underwater, almost like pretty, shiny, tattoos! I wanted her to feel the mermaid in her more, that’s all, it didn’t have to be about a tail, but something more mermaid would have sufficed.
I want to end on a good note, so I’ll tell you that music is at the heart of this book, and I love books that incorporate music. After all, it is the best kind of magic.
Notes on the Names: The names are so amazing in this book, in fact, I have often thought of naming a daughter Selena and calling her Lena, this book has put the thought back on my radar. Selena means moon, and Lena literally means The Bright One, which works well with Lucy, meaning light. Since Lena’s song is about the moon, I loved her name and name meaning, perfecto! Kai and Nix are so close and have a similar feel, I really love that, I would have loved more of a love triangle, but really, you can sense from the beginning that Kai was not the one. All the underwater names are phenomenal, but so hard to remember and spell, so I will leave them as a treat for you to discover, and you really should!
Thoughts on the cover: It’s Magic. I love this cover and am glad it is on the hardback, but I hope on the paperback copy the mirror itself is incorporated, I’m sure both would be stunning!
I read this book through NetGalley and am looking forward to one day displaying my own copy on my Mod Podge Bookshelf!