When one thinks of mermaids, one thinks of Ariel, the red-haired singer of Disney fame. One does not usually think of deadly siren mermaids who also shift into birds and eat boys. At least I don’t. Nonetheless, that is the story in Amanda Hocking’s new Watersong series.
The first book Wake, revolves around two sisters, Gemma and Harper. Gemma, sixteen, is a dedicated swimmer who has a crush on her sister’s best friend Alex. Her goal is to make it to the Olympics. Harper, eighteen, has taken charge of the family since their mother was in a car accident years ago and left with brain damage. She is headed to college in the fall, and is worried about how her sister and father will survive without her. Harper is busy managing her family and working at the town library. She absolutely has no time for dating or boys, despite how cute Daniel, the boy who lives on his boat down at the docks, is.
Surrounding this story is the summer life in Capri, Maryland, where the boats are out and the beach is packed, and three beautiful girls have come in with the tourists. Penn, Lexi, and Thea appeared in town and have been turning the heads of everyone around. There’s something weird about them though that makes Gemma and Harper uncomfortable. And they seem to have fixated on Gemma.
There is danger around this small-town world, in the form of missing teen boys, including Harper’s ex-boyfriend. One night, while swimming alone, Gemma sees the girls on the beach. Something compels her join them, and from there on out, her life is never the same and everyone she knows is in danger.
A lot of the book revolves around the relationships between the sisters and the boys in their lives, making a fantasy book more realistic. The girls have real-life problems in addition to the mythical ones. Part cheesy teen novel, part myth, and part suspense, Wake is not the best book out there, but it is a quick and satisfying read. Some parts are painfully predictable and trite, but it managed to surprise me a few times. Enough so at least that I continued on to the second book.
The main reason I read this novel was the author. She was in the news last year for her success as a self-published author, and this was her first hardcopy book. I wanted to see how she was doing and if her writing style was the same. Previous books have been young adult fantasy as well, although different subjects.
Another young adult paranormal romance author is Maggie Stiefvater, who wrote the Shiver series. Not mermaids, but werewolves, and still enjoyable.