The Mermaid’s Mirror by L. K. Madigan
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 Suns
Reviewed by Aloe
Lena has lived her whole life near the beach – walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves – the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.
As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.
But her father – a former surfer himself – refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.
Yet something lures Lena to the water … an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman – with a silvery tail.
Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.
And soon … what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life …
Does the sea draw you to it when you get near? Or do you feel at home when on the beach with the waves splashing over your toes? Did you ever think that maybe something besides the sea might be calling you?
Lena has loved the sea her whole life, and now that she’s coming up on her sixteenth birthday, she’d really love to have her father teach her to surf. She knows he loves the water, but he won’t even step into it any more. Even though it’s her birthday, he again denies her request to teach her how to surf. She wouldn’t even have known how to swim if her stepmother hadn’t taught her how! Lena has friends, though, and they are not as worried about the water as her father is…
L K Madigan has written nicely fleshed-out characters, who are each, strong and determined in their own ways. You can connect with them and share their emotional feelings.
As she comes of age, Lena wonders why her father won’t tell her about her “lost” mother. She has a happy home life with her Dad and step-mother, but feels she’s missing something—although she doesn’t know what. Her parents are kind but don’t want to hurt her. Even though she could get hurt just as easily by not knowing all the facts, her father is afraid to enlighten her.
The truth can’t be hidden forever, though. When Lena goes surfing in a forbidden place, she comes home with a key she has received as a gift, and her whole life changes…
Lena finally learns why her father was hesitant to tell her the truth about her mother, and now she find she must make a choice on which parent she wishes to stay with. She loves them both and her mother’s life is attractive,but is it the best choice? It was easy to empathize with Lena as she struggled with tough choices and decisions she had to make, because as we grow up we all go through this type of experience. I wasn’t allowed to date until age 16, and thought I was really missing out on life. Then I found out how confusing dating could be – and almost wished I could backtrack… Lena’s experience is not that different from my own so I could relate to her situation and feel how tormented she was while trying to make a good decision.
In a related storyline, Lena and her friend Pem are both just discovering boys and kissing. Kissing is a bit strange to Lena, but Pem seems to enjoy her older boyfriend. She almost wonders if they aren’t doing more than kissing. Lena is concerned that her friend is advancing into a relationship too soon and too fast, but she also is feeling her way through a new relationship and is unsure how to proceed. Then she meets another romantic interest and it gets even more confusing…
The Mermaid’s Mirror is an enjoyable read for a young adult just discovering male and female relationships. It’s also a great read if you like to read fantasy novels, or if mermaids intrigue you.