As all of you regular, imaginary, reader know, I'm trying to find my was as an author, and specifically, an author of Young Adult Fiction. I'm trying various ways of connecting with people and building my platform. I tried reviewing a book for a 'Virtual Book Tour' and as you know, reading a book someone else asked me to read and review was a lot more like work than recreation.
So, this time I decided to read and review a book of someone I've met at the LDStorymakers Conference. Someone who writes YA and seems to have a pretty good foundation as an author. This review is completely voluntary, so I can say what I want, with no expectations to meet and no strings attached.
Here is my review I am posting to Amazon and Goodreads:
I just finished reading, "Water So Deep" by Nichole Giles.
This is the story of Emma, a senior in high school with a mysterious side. The story introduces her problem immediately--she's got mermaid issues. But, you know that already. You've seen the book cover. We just don't know how big of a problem that is until we see how erratic it make her life. She can't have any real friends; that would require honesty and trust; and she can't be honest with anyone, including her family or her best friend, Heather. The only one who knows the reason for her periodic need to get into the ocean is her grand-mother, on who's porch was left the baby Emma seventeen-odd, years before.
Enter, James, the amazingly handsome, totally buff, loner, with emotional needs of his own.
The story unfolds for us through these two perspectives. We are privy to their individual, inner turmoils which result in the majority of their relationship conflicts. As an adult (read that as old) man, I felt like if they had only followed through with their resolutions from one paragraph to the next, most of their problems would have been eliminated through a little simple communication. But then, we would have missed Chapter Three of, "The Book of Love", where, "You break up and then you give it just one more chance." (See, that's how old I really am... I'm referencing 1950's Rock and Roll.)
I'll admit, much of what I've read in the past which has been labeled, "Young Adult" was more fantasy than romance, and wonder if this book's plot is typical of creating romantic tension. As an old man, again, I enjoyed the romantic elements of the story, while I appreciated the development of the "Mer Lore" the most. I didn't expect a simple resolution to Emma's dilemma, as this is admittedly, "Book 1". But, I did enjoy the ending for the extent of its resolution and foreshadowing of the expected conflicts in the next book.
I happily give this book four stars and look forward to book two.
This is where my review will end on Goodreads and on Amazon. What follows is fraught with plot spoilers and addresses some of the things that came to my mind while reading that weren't resolved in this book. So, I would recommend that you read the book before you read further on this post.
I mentioned above that I thought both main characters were inconsistent in their resolutions and that if they had followed through with many of the things they had just thought out, their conflict would have been resolved and they could have moved forward with more important things, such as, preventing Emma from permanently becoming a mermaid and finding out why Keith was now stealing so much.
It bothered me that her parents seemed so unsympathetic. I mean, the first time we see her father he is absent mindedly blowing off the safety of his son. Even her high powered lawyer mother only seemed engaged when there was a legal threat to her kids. Granted, this is YA and we need to get them out of the picture somehow and focus on the youths.
Maybe I'm threatened by physically strong male characters, but I felt like James was a little too buff for someone his age. To have biceps so rock hard that blood vessels shift between them and the skin seems unrealistic to me in someone so young, unless he's doing steroids or spends all of his time in a gym. It didn't sound like James had that much time, or money.
I got the idea that contact with salt water would cause Emma's physical change, yet, when they took pizza to the beach she got her feet in the water and nothing happened. If there was an explanation given why this was an exception, or that it didn't happen all the time, I didn't pick up on it.
I was a little surprised about Emma's sudden recognition of her love for James. It was like it was a brand new realization and only the page before she had giggled at his allusion to having sex with her in the back seat of the car or right there in the sand of the beach, whatever it took to make her undesirable to Merrick.
Then there's Merrick. Granted, his motives become clear at the end of the book. Before that, I felt like his behavior was more animalistic and less rational thinking than I would expect of a creature which is part human--and longer lived than typical humans.
Finally, some mention was made to the siren call or the mer people. I wasn't clear if this was an intentional allusion in the story or if I read into the the comment that it had to do with why boys were so attracted to Emma and then she "Iced" them and shut them down.
I read the story on my tablet and I read it somewhat faster than I would have, wanting to get it read so that I could do a review for Nichole while the book was still newly published. Because of those two conditions, I may have misunderstood, or completely missed something which the normal, more intelligent, reader would have picked up.
Again, I hope you read this, if you haven't, and enjoy it as much as I did.