Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Review: Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

First published in the UK in: 2011
By: Templar Publishing

Unrequited love is hard enough when you're a normal teenager, but when you're half-human, half-mermaid, like Lily Sanderson, there's no such thing as a simple crush. Especially when you're crush is gorgeous (and 100% human) Brody Bennett.

The problem is, mermaids aren't the casual dating type - the instant they kiss someone, they 'bond' with them for life. When Lily's attempt to win Brody's love leads to a ginormous case of mistake identity, she finds herself facing a tidal wave of relationship drama.

My review:

This book is sugary sweet and silly with a capital S. It's exactly like a Disney Channel movie in plot, style and tone and is definitely aimed at the younger, fluffier end of the YA market.

Lily's father is king of the mer kingdom, but her late mother was an ordinary human. Able to take on both mer and human form, Lily has lived on land for the last 3 years, to experience life as a normal teenager instead of a mermaid princess. She's spent those years dreaming about Mr. Popular, Brody Bennett and getting wound up by the boy-next-door, Quince Fletcher, who is omigod, the most infuriating person she's ever met! She hates him more than anyone! And I'll let you guess who she's fallen for by the end of the novel! 

But not before fights, misunderstandings, mistaken identities, know the drill. Lily acts like girls always do in this kind of teen romantic comedy, alternating between stammering around one boy and storming (or swimming) off in a huff about the other. The portrayal of life as a mermaid is in fitting with the overall cutesy tone: Lots of jokes about how much Lily loves baths and collects fish toys to remind her of home.

I'm hope I don't sound too mocking - I'm aware that I'm not the target audience for this and I think this book is perfectly readable and has its charms. The humour in Forgive My Fins, in particular, (which is mostly dorky fish puns like "Son of seaslug! I'll kick the living carp out of him!") fell into the so-corny-it's-cute category for me and I did laugh. 

I would have preferred it if Lily were a stronger character throughout, but in the last 40 pages or so, she does wise up and has some surprisingly sensible thoughts about whether she's mature enough to know what love is and to choose a partner for life. And it was sweet when she finally got together with the right guy. I just wish the story ended there; the epilogue introduces a plot thread for the sequel that is very close to ridiculous. I'm just going to pretend it doesn't exist and that the book ended with the kiss.

With the talk of Banned Book Week and parents wanting to find age-appropriate books for their kids, Forgive My Fins is exactly the kind of read I'd recommend - I'm sure pre-teen girls will adore it. As for me, well. It's a little-known secret that I can watch High School Musical or Camp Rock on a lazy Sunday and not mind them at all. Maybe even smile at them a couple of times. 

Rating: 3.5 stars


  1. I too love HSM and Camp Rock and secretlly borrow my little sisters dvd's when she goes over her friends house. I have this book and havent read it yet because I just havent wanted to yet. I havent read any mermaid books yet but this seems like the right one to start on! Nice review

  2. That's a great way of wording it: "so corny it's cute". That's what I thought! And I agree with you on the plot leading to the sequel. I'm debating whether or not to read the next one. Great review! :)

  3. You're so right that this is the perfect book to show those parents who are afraid of all the "dark themes" in YA books. Forgive My Fins is so sweet and bubbly--just like a Disney movie. I agree with you about the epilogue. I don't think it was necessary.

  4. lol...I tend to read a lot of darker themed books, but I do love the cotton-candy, feel-good, awesomeness of Disney Channel every once in awhile. The darkness needs to be balanced somehow. (My personal poison is Good Luck

    I love that Childs includes a lot of fishy jargon and jokes, and an infuriating next door neighbor sounds promising... plus mermaids are just cool ;) I think I may need to give this book a go. Thanks for the great review!

  5. I have this one, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. But since I love Disney Channel movies, maybe I should pick this book up soon :) Great review!

  6. I'm such a sucker for corny Disney movies and shows, so I have a feeling I would love this, too. It's nice to just pick something off the shelf that you know will be a quick, fun read. :)

  7. Sherre - This book is a nice way to introduce yourself to mermaids and then after, you can decide whether you like the fluffy stuff or want something more serious.

    Jessica - Yep, 'so corny it's cute' sums it up. It's a book that makes you smile, which is why I wish the cousin subplot had a nicer ending. It would've fit more with the tone.

    Small Review - Yes, whenever someone complains about dark YA, from now on I will point them in the direction of this!

    Dani - If you want to balance the darkness, this book works for that - although you may end up craving the darkness again after!

    Karen - Loving Disney Channel movies is a requirement for enjoying this book. It really does feel exactly like one, in book form.

    Colleen - This book is a very light and quick read, so it's the exactly the kind of thing you can spend a free afternoon with, if you want to switch the more serious part of your mind off.


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