Friday, January 20, 2012

Fantastic Friday: Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson

Forbidden Sea
written by Sheila A. Nielson
Scholastic Press, 2010
ISBN:  978-0-545-09734-5
Grades 5-8
Reviewed from copy borrowed from library.

BLURB: 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. 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.  A powerful and lyrical story of one girl who must choose between having everything and having those she loves.

I came across this book while doing reading for the Beehive Book Awards.  The premise didn't appeal to me much, I am not a big fan of mermaids.  But Adrianne has such a strong voice and I found myself rooting for her from page one.  It quickly becomes apparent that Adri is the strong one in her family of four.  Her younger sister is adorable but unequipped to take care of herself.  Adri's mother is likewise too weak of spirit to even defend her daughter from the malicious attacks of her aunt.  Her aunt is so bitter and angry about the past that she rarely has anything nice or helpful to say. While reading this I seriously felt at times like giving Adri's aunt a serious shake.  That's one way I know I'm reading a good book, when I get emotionally invested in the characters.

The writing is superb and the setting clearly depicted.  I could see the island in my mind.  My favorite parts of the book however were the parts with the beautiful stallion, Dartemore. I'm a horse lover myself, so I especially liked Adrianne's special connection to horses.  There is a taste of romance but nothing inappropriate.  The depiction of mermaids is an interesting one.  While the mermaid seems like an enemy at first, Adrianne's view of her changes over time and in the end she has to make a difficult choice.  I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy a good fantasy, but like a strong dash of real life thrown in.


  1. I have this one on my pile, and I cannot wait to read it!

  2. Stopping by for the Comment Challenge, and I'm glad to see a good mermaid book--thanks, Heidi!


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