Even when surrounded by sisters, Celia and Lo feel alone, until a seaside encounter brings them together in this brooding paranormal romance.
Lo is a relatively young “ocean girl”—she lives underwater and sings, but is never labeled a mermaid or siren—still anchored to her former human life and drawn to the surface world. Unlike her older “sisters,” who drift on the current and ascend to meet their allegedly angelic maker, Lo aims to be cured of her condition by drowning a mortal lover. On land, unlike her seemingly shallow, identical and manipulative triplet sisters, Anne and Jane, Celia Reynolds prefers to ignore her psychic powers and mope along the boardwalk. After Lo and Celia save the hapless, handsome guitarist Jude Wallace from drowning, Celia helps Lo remember her life as Naida Kelly—to everyone’s peril. Parents are conveniently dead or absent, but real-life concerns of rent, school and transportation lend the story an Alice Hoffman–like air of magical realism rather than typical teen paranormal lightness. Ruminations on individuality, identity and memory as well as constant narrative shifts among Celia, Lo and Naida hamper plot progress but impart a dreamy quality. Not a retelling of, but distantly related to Andersen’s "The Little Mermaid."
A tale dark, deep and strong, like the sea. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)