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.
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, jealousies...you 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