One of the coolest things about working at the Provo library is that we have a couple librarians that are authors and illustrators. One of those lovely ladies that I know happens to be Sheila Nielson, the author of The Forbidden Sea. Sheila got a couple Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) of her book that she passed around, and I was one of the lucky ones that got a chance to read it back in October.
The basic plot is this from Amazon.com that can be found at this link here:
"When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, of whom she has heard terrible stories all her life, she is convinced the mermaid means to take her younger sister. Adrianne, fierce-willed and courageous, is determined to protect her sister from the mermaid, and her family from starvation. However, the mermaid continues to haunt Adrianne in her dreams and with her song. Yet, when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid she is scorned, for this small and superstitious community believes the mermaid will bring devastation to the island if Adrianne does not give herself to the sea. A powerful and lyrical story of one girl who must choose between having everything and having those she loves."
I agree with this great synopsis of Sheila's novel, but I didn't really like the storyline. I can see how this story would appeal to a younger audience, but I couldn't relate to Adrianne at all. I admired her spunk and tenacity, and the fact that she's the oldest daughter, but I hated her family. I thought the mom had no backbone at all and needed a good punch in the gut, her sister was a brat and needed to be slapped, and the choice that she makes at the end was disappointing, and not the choice I would have made.
For her first book, I think Shelia did a great job, but I just wish that there was a different ending and a different way of how she approached the mermaid- it felt like the mermaid wasn't in it for how long she should have been, especially if this book is being marketed as a "mermaid book". This wasn't the best thing I've read, but definitely not the worst either. Maybe if I were younger, and didn't have past parent issues, I would have liked this book more. Maybe you'll enjoy it?