Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Tail of Emily Windsnap- Liz Kessler

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler

      I'll preface this review by saying that I don't often read middle-grade fiction, so I'm not sure that I can be an entirely fair judge of this novel. I picked the book up for some ideas on the "daughter of two worlds" plot line for my own novel. Sadly, I found myself comparing this book to the plethora of YA books that I read on a much more regular basis, and upon comparison, I was rather disappointed.

Kessler's book opens with a girl, Emily, who lives with her mother on a houseboat. Emily is worried because she doesn't know how to swim (her mother has never allowed her to take lessons) and their is an impending swimming unit in gym at school. As an aside, I could totally relate to this fear. The intermediate school that I went to as a kid (grades 3-8) was also the recreation center in town and we had a large swimming pool. Every year in gym we had to do a swimming unit. I hated it. Not because I don't know how to swim, but because I totally hate water in my face. There you go... random fact about me of the day. :)

At any rate, Emily ventures into the pool only to find that her legs begin to fuse together. She plays it off as a cramp, but refuses to swim at school again. As the story plods along, Emily meets a real-life mermaid and finds out that she is part mermaid herself. She only develops a fin when she's in water, and it fades when she's on land. Her new mer-friend takes her to mermaid school and Emily learns that her mother was in love with a merman who is now in mer-jail.

Bored yet? Yeah, so was I. Honestly, I might have found this book cute if I were about eight, but I'm not and it really didn't translate well to an older audience. I thought the plot was trite and irritating. I really hated all the stupid mermaid slang, and it was all around cheesy. In theory, the concept behind the novel could have worked well, but it just never gelled. There are about a bazillion sequels and the book got good reviews on Amazon, so apparently someone likes it, but just not me. Maybe I'm too far removed from my tween days, though, I do love reading Teen and Young Adult books, so I can't be that much of an old fogey yet.

I wouldn't recommend the book for the general audience of my blog, but if you have a young female reader, you might pick her up a used copy. :)

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Book purchased from

Check out all of my other reviews HERE.

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