Saturday, 28 December 2013

Surfacing by Shana Norris

*ebook from NetGalley-much thanks!
Published:November 15 2011
Publisher: Self-published
Website: Author’s Website

When Mara’s mother dies, she is forced to relocate to the tiny island of Swans Landing to live with the only relative she has left – her estranged father. She counts the days until her 18 birthday when she can leave the ostracizing and riddle-talking community forever. That is until she hears a mysterious song and sees her mother in the woods. When the obvious is revealed, Mara has to find out why her mother left and never returned and why the human residents hate them, all while dealing with the humans of the island who want the finfolk to leave forever.

I feel that the author wanted her to have an edge with her attitude, but I found her to be melodramatic and childish. Lexa Cain’s Élan from Soul Cutter is a much better example of a girl with an attitude that you can still like and cheer for. Of course, Mara is torn between love interests. Did she really have to string along (and KISS) both? Not if she’s a good person. Overall, I didn’t like Mara. She walks away when people are speaking to her and then has the gall to demand that people stop treating her like a child and give her some answers. She also balls up the letter her mother left and throws it in the corner because it’s not telling her what she wants to hear. Oh, spoiler alert, it has the answers she wants. Brilliant.

The Rest of the Cast
Mostly a bunch of people who are a mix of angry, riddle-talking, racist, weak, or boring. Yay.

If I were Mara, I would have told everyone to buzz off. Why? When you keep asking people what is going on with the whole island hating you and absolutely no one is giving you an answer, but alluding to an answer, that’s ridiculous.

To be specific: Josh is kind of cool, in an aloof and snarky way. Yet he is secretive and hangs out with the cool kids who treat Mara badly. How can you be interested in someone who doesn’t stick up for you?

Dylan grated on me. He is just so nice and that’s his only character trait.

Sailor is interesting. She obviously hates Mara (me too!) yet she occasionally stands up for her when the bullying gets bad. When her history comes to light and you figure out why she hates Mara, she becomes a full character (and there are not many of those here). Also, her name is interesting. Most of the names in this book made me roll my eyes (Gale, Waverly, Westray, Mooring) but Sailor kind of stuck with me (I won’t lie, it might have something to do with Sailor Moon).

Miss Gale is an older woman who knows much and is maternal to the MC who has recently lost her mother. This lady is lovely and knows how to command a room. This is one of a few characters who I found interesting and I perked up when she was on the page.

To paraphrase: the island is mostly full of suck. I would not like to live there.

The Island
A well-written aspect of the book is the prejudice that is rampant in the island. There were a few events that have left the human residents with a bad taste in their mouths regarding the finfolk. There is a clear divide in the community that the readers can link back to racism or class.

However, these themes are a bit far-fetched with mermaids in the mix. If the humans hate them so much, why not take some pictures of the mermaids in action and publish them on the internet or in a magazine? The mermaids would be forced to flee.

Plus, all these girls are making fun of the finfolk. What girl wouldn’t actually want to be a mermaid?

Name of the Book
The author couldn’t bother to use a few key strokes on Google to see if there are other well-known and award-winning books with the same title? *cough*Surfacing by Margaret Atwood *cough*

The Swans Landing Series
Do I have any interest in reading more installments in this series? Yes, because I want to know what happens to Sailor and her quest to find the truth about her family history. I don’t particularly care about Dylan or Josh or even Mara. Maybe one day I’ll check out Submerging, the second installment in this series that focuses on Sailor.

Final Verdict 
I like mermaids, though I am tired of them being used in soft stories that you might see on the Family Channel. If a teen is still hooked (yes, bad pun) on mermaids and they have read through Amanda Hocking’s Lullaby Series, sure, give this book a shot. Everybody’s a mermaid and they all have their own colour of vibrant tails and the humans hate them…because. The overall story that linked the people of the island was nicely put together. If a teen is into mermaids, romance, and wants to get into a four-book series, Surfacing might be for them.

1 comment:

  1. The island is "full of suck." lol I guess this book left a wee bit to be desired. I liked reading your review though. Thanks for the shout-out about Elan. I'm wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014!