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Review: The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan

T h e M e r m a i d' s M i r r o r
Author: L.K. Madigan (Livejournal)
Release Date: 10/4/10 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley & Houghton Mifflin
(Thank you!)
Go Buy It: AmazonBarnes&Noble 
Overall Feelings: Striking, strange, and different!

Synopsis- "Lena has lived her whole life near the beach — walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves — the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.

But her father — a former surfer himself — refuses to allow her to take lessons. After his near drowning years ago, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something keeps drawing Lena to the water . . . an ancient, powerful magic. And one morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman — with a silvery tail.

Now nothing can stop Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon . . . what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life forever." Goodreads»»
Quick Thinking: The Mermaid's Mirror is an impressive, wonderful novel that sucks The Reader in with its charming, developed characters and its exposure to the fascinating, magical world of the merfolk. Madigan cleverly explores a whole new and creative concept that suits YA fantasy extremely well. Go along with Lena to uncover startling, hidden truths, heartbreaking pasts and circumstances, a mesmerizing (yet a tad speedy) love, and an otherworldly, wonder-inducing species that haven't been touched upon very often in the YA genre.  

My Thoughts In-Depth: *warning: it is possible that the following review will have spoiler-y content* This was my first mermaid-themed YA novel, and I have to say that I'm not disappointed in the least (a little exasperated, but that's not so bad). Lena is a character that I can find anywhere, at school, in my neighborhood, whatever. And I like that, that she's somewhat like every other teenager, because that incites a feeling of...connection, making her likable.

Reading as Lena uncovered the truth had been exciting and tense! I wanted to know why she had this keen sense of loss and aching, searching for something that wasn't there, why she didn't feel like she belonged more so than the average teenager. And even though The Reader could kind of already figure out the whole big mystery, that The Reader already sorta knew what was going on, did NOT take away from the impact of her discovery, which was astonishing considering.

I enjoyed getting involved with the characters also. They were just a really cool, really fun bunch of people, even if The Reader couldn't get inside their heads, discover their true feelings. The cast was still developed and managed to be real and amusing, which is after all my cup of tea. And going back to the merfolk, the characters in that world were pretty great too! They were so different (a little bit of understatement) from us humans, that learning about them, diving (metaphorically, of course) into their world kept me a) motivated to continue reading and invested in the story and b) oddly fascinated by this whole other place deep within the ocean. It was new, and dare I say exhilarating...

The romance was good, but a little speedy. Lena initially has a boyfriend, Kai, and their relationship I adored mainly because they actually knew each other and their was some substance there. Nix, while sexy and smokin', paired up with Lena was um...hot and romantic, BUT I still need to see some depth, a connection and understanding, which I didn't find.

I loved the writing in this book as well! It was thorough, descriptive when necessary, and set in the third person POV...what could be better, right? But, the true reason why this novel didn't land a five straight out was because of the ending. I was more than a little frustrated, but besides that I was slightly confused by it. Going back to the romance with Nix, I expected her to be a little more...I don't know, upset by their separation! I don't believe that she'd have to go all Bella Swan on me, wallowing in absolute depression, but she seemed vivacious where she should be sad as she had claimed to be completely in love with him...So, that I didn't get. But, other than that (hopefully) mild complaint, The Mermaid's Mirror is definitely worth the time it takes to read it.

Best Friend for Life: Kai, Lena's (ex-)boyfriend
He's got a solid sense of humor, he can sing, and he's loyal. What more could you want in a friend?

Wish-He-Was-Mine: I'd like to go with the obvious answer and say Nix, but it's just so...obvious. So, instead I'm going to say Lena's dad because he's so damn cute and Cole, Lena's five-year-old brother, but I'd give him a few years first (duh, I'm not a sicko).

Frenemy: If I were Lena, I'd have a bone to pick with Cole's babysitter, Janni , because it was not cool of her to rat on Lena to her parents even if it was with good intentions.

Bonus Factor: Hmm...I'd have to say Lena's mom, Melusina, because she was pretty cool for a mer-mom and all.

Loved these Quotes/Scenes:
"At eight o'clock, Lena heard her dad going through the bed-time routine with Cole--tooth-brushing and bath time. Echoing from the tiled bathroom, Lena heard Cole's singing in the tub, 'I love to go swimmin' with bowlegged women and swim between their knees...swim between their knees...'
She grinned. Her dad had taught him that song" (102).
"Lena's face glowed. 'Oh, Dad, I love [surfing] so much. When I'm out there, it's like I'm--' She sighed. 'I don't think I can describe it. I feel like I'm in church...like I'm close to God, or something. Like the earth is so huge, but while I'm in the ocean, it feels like I'm in all the oceans on the planet, or something'" (188).
"As he drew near, Lena admired his chin-length green-and-gold hair, which radiated out from his head like a cloud. When he got close enough, she could see his dark, almond-shaped eyes and his full lips...The brush of his fingers across her skin caused Lena's heart to flutter...'Nix is handsome isn't he?' said her mother with a smile" (225).
"Nix moved closer to Lena and took her hand. 'I have been thinking of you.'
Her heart tripped and sped up.
'May I hear my name in your voice? I am called Nix.' The dark pools of his eyes were endless, and his large hand enveloped hers, making her feel that no one had ever held her hand properly before.
Pausing to fix his name clearly in her mind, Lena said, 'Nix.'
They floated for a long moment, staring at one another" (243).

Extra [L. K. Madigan] Linkage: L.K. at GoodreadsHer WebsiteL.K. @ authorsnow.comThe Library Thing for L.K.

Other: *warning: the following content may be slightly above g-rated stuff*
Check out NovelNovice.com's 2-Part Interview with L.K. Madigan:

Interview Part I, Preview:
"How do mer-folks have sex?

Come sit next to me. Yes, right there. Now then, little Novices … when a mommy mermaid and a daddy merman love each other very much, they hug each other close, and …


You guys are HILARIOUS!

Let’s put it this way: theories abound on the Internet, the most popular being that it’s a fish-like process … the mermaid lays eggs and the merman fertilizes them.

Yeah. Cold and boring.

So while I’m not going to offer up a detailed theory of my own, I prefer to believe the act involves intimate contact." Read more here»»

Interview Part II, Preview:
"What were some of the biggest challenges in writing Mermaid’s Mirror? What was the easiest part?

The biggest challenge was to write believably about surfing when I’ve never been on a surfboard. I’ve body surfed and boogie-boarded, but never stood up on a surfboard. I made sure to have real surfers read my scenes to make sure I depicted the thrill and danger of surfing accurately.

The easiest part of writing the book was describing the underwater world of the mermaids. My imagination was free to build a mysterious fantasy world hidden far beneath the surface." Go here to read more»»
& Thanks for reading!