Rated Reads

Lies Beneath

by Anne Greenwood Brown

Rated: Mild

This is about evil mermaids. I was so happy.

Long ago, a mother of three beautiful mermaid girls and one stunning boy made a contract with a human. The man was to give the mermaid his first son, but he failed to keep his end of the bargain. The mermaids’ mother died because of it. Years later, her children finally find the son, now a grown man with a family. They vow to keep their side of the contract and plot to kill Jason Hancock. Calder, their brother and a merman himself, is sent to woo Jason’s daughter and lure Jason out onto Lake Superior, where they will kill him. But Calder doesn’t just woo the girl. He falls in love with her and messes up all of their careful plans. Now he has to decide if killing her father is still the way he wants to go, even if his sisters are completely sure.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with this story. There were a few times when conversation was stilted or characters acted funny. However, the romance did not feel like insta-love, which is definitely a problem with a lot of YA today. The changes the characters underwent were gradual and felt real. I loved Brown’s take on the mermaid story. She incorporated some behaviors of actual fish (the communication among schools, cold-blooded, a few things like that), gave them a few magic powers and made them sinister but lovable. The mermaids weren’t hiding because of a vague government-will-experiment-on-you promise, but because they couldn’t risk their target being wary. This book really defies a few cliches that feel overused by books of a similar genre.

I was a little underwhelmed by a few powers the mermaids had that were mentioned, but not really explored. I felt like the mermaids themselves could have suffered a little bit more description than was given to them. For example, I spent the whole first half of the book believing that Calder was tan and blonde. A little ways through, I was informed that he had dark hair and olive skin. I was falling in love with Calder myself at that point, but then I wasn’t sure how to imagine him, and my emotional investments sort of went downhill.

Rated: Mild for a few moderate swear words and some very mild suggestive conversation. (If I was reading this three years ago it would have gone way over my head.)

— Reviewed by Emilee H

Emilee H is a high-schooler from Utah who is passionate about fantasy, epics, Disneyland, and a touch of the dark side.

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  • Lies Beneath
  • by Anne Greenwood Brown
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: