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Review: Between the Land & the Sea

Between the Land and the Sea
by Derrolyn Anderson

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Release Date: March 19, 2011
Publisher: Self-Published
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Author Sent
Rating: Sud-Kissed
Good for Debut Author Challenge
About the Book:

Something extraordinary is lurking in the deep ocean waters off the coast of Aptos, California. Just a few weeks after moving to the beach town, sixteen year-old Marina has nearly drowned twice, enchanted the hottest guy in high school, and discovered a supernatural creature. If she can manage to survive her increasingly dangerous encounters with unpredictable mermaids, she might just be able to unlock the mystery of her past and learn how to appease the mysterious forces that seem to want something from her... and maybe even find true love along the way.
The surfer sat upright on his board, blue eyes intensely focused as he scanned the action at the breakers. Rising and falling with the ocean swells, he was poised to spring into action...

When Derrolyn first approached me with this book (and the rest of the books in Marina's Tales), I was instantly interested. If you were around the blog on Saturday, then you'll have read that I have an obsession with mermaids! Yup, right the first time, Marina IS A FLIPPIN' MERMAID (I want to say literally, but she has yet to flip...). And this paranormal romance tale of a half-mermaid girl who uncovers the secret of her birth is by far a better written novel than most I've come across in my reading travels.

The sometimes stiff and distant first person narrative aside, I really liked Marina. Marina's voice is very adultlike. She rarely stoops to teenage vernacular, if you will. But that was, according to the narrator herself, attributed to her upbringing - she's been home-schooled her whole life, and has been across the globe with her father as part of his work. She's seen suffering and poverty, has been introduced to a multitude of cultures and customs, and so she is a product of all that and thereby way more mature than the average teenager. Kudos to the author for thinking this through so well and giving such an interesting background to the MC!

Despite knowing this in my head, however, I did have moments where I was like, Who says that? I don't say that. And because of that it was sometimes hard to solidify a lasting connection. Still, Marina's sense of loyalty, her kindness, and her bravery make her a likable if not lovable heroine. And I began to see her speak as just one of her quirks, as do the other characters. And as the book progresses, Marina transforms into a fun Old Soul. While her narrative voice never really changes, she lightens up and it makes her much more appealing to read about.

Something else that made this book so likable are the side characters and romance. The paranormal aspect is definitely intriguing! But for me, that actually wasn't the central focus until it was. Surprising I know, since I've been going up and down about how much I love mermaids. But the characters are just so Me and My Friends. Let me remind you that I'm a senior in high school, and, if I'm not mistaken, so is Marina, her cousin, Cruz, and his best friend, Megan. The way these three would sit around and hang out, flipping through topics of conversation, I automatically related to.

The fact that Anderson was able to capture that essence of teenage friendship really did wonders for the book. Their easy-going relationship, banter, and camaraderie made it simple for me to immerse myself in the story. And then there are the adults that come and go into Marina's everyday life, too. You have her larger than life "aunt," Evie, the only mother figure she's ever known, and her biological aunt who's laidback and chipper. I loved being around these people! The romance, EVEN BETTER. There's zero instaluv people, so *clap clap* for that. It's actually much more like Guy Sees Beautiful Girl And Proceeds to Make a Total Fool of Himself, Nearly Breaking All of His Legs, leading up to a light friendship full of thrilling attraction that slowly builds up. They don't even kiss right away! Which I was both happy and annoyed about. It's so funny because I was all,

My, oh, my
Look at the boy too shy
He ain’t gonna kiss the girl...

UNTIL The Bed Scenes midway into the book *waggles eyebrows*.

While this book can be a standalone, being that their is a resolution in this first book, it's actually part of a series, in which Marina dives deeper into her past and realizes there is more going on than she initially thought. Translating to, Yeah baby, the mermaids are comin' back! I'm interested to see how this series moves forward and what kinds of surprises and twists await me. Thing is, I had a lot of fun reading this book. I could sit here and read it again and still come out enjoying it, which is, I think, the whole point of reading.

Those delightful moments during your bubble bath, with a book companion in one hand and a glass of chocolate milk in the other, are the best way to describe the luxurious feelings that Sud-Kissed books create. These books can sometimes be even more rereadable than Special Shelf books... (My Rating System In-Depth)

“You mean Cruz’s mom [your aunt]? That stupid hippy? She doesn’t even drive a decent car!” she said with scorn. My eyes flew open wide and I turned to look at her with outrage. I had to fight a strong urge to smash her head into the locker...
I grabbed Heather’s arm tightly and steered her around the corner.
“If you ever... talk... about Abby that way again...” my voice shook with anger. I took a deep breath, “I will pull every hair out of your head.” Heather stared at me like a deer caught in the headlights. I let go of her arm and she scurried away. I wheeled around and ran smack into Ethan.
He looked down into my blazing eyes with amusement.
“Wow,” he said, “Remind me to never make you angry.” (77)

“Since when did you start believing in ESP?” I asked.
“Oh, probably just after I started believing in mermaids,” she replied, “Time to break out the tinfoil hats.”
“The what hats?” Cruz asked.
Megan rolled her eyes at him sarcastically, “You know, tinfoil... so the aliens and the government can’t read my brain-waves?”
Cruz scoffed, “You’re weird!” he said.
“You are so totally thick!” she fired back, shaking her head.
“That’s what she said!” Cruz shouted triumphantly. (219)


Brodie said...

I love how you describe the relationship between Marina and her friends, all the characters sound so likable and I love when you can really see that bond and friendship between them. Rather than author 'telling' you that oh, A and B are the best of friends. Haha and the romance sounds amazing! I'm in love already :) BED SCENE?! *interest peaks ten fold*

It's shameful that I've never actually read a mermaid book before (not that I remember, anyway), but there are so many out or coming out in 2012 and it has me so excited to dive in! Love your review :)

A. Knight said...

Brodie- Oh, yes, m'dear there IS a bed scene *grins*

And I'm so happy that you loved my review (and that you're a mermaid fan!). *whispers* There will be an opportunity for you to win a chance to read this series. But, SHHHH! You can't tell anyone. :D

Jaskirat@SeeitORreadit said...

OMG this one sounds awesome...another book to add to my always growing TBR list...

The characters sound so real and relatable. Sounds like the perfect mix of paranormal and reality...ME WANT!!! The teasers are so awesome...especially the first one *squeals* Great review!

New Follower :)


Kristina said...

I loved this book! I have since read the second one, and even though I didn't like it as much as this one, it was still good. I'm going to be reading the third one soon.

I completely know what you mean when you said "who says that". I felt it even more in the second one. Marina just doesn't act like other teenagers I guess. Some of it even felt a little forced, but I still enjoyed her character.

Great review!

thetravelingreader said...

You got my attention there with the phrase "bed scene". I'm sure you're just teasing us. Hehe
Great review! :)

A. Knight said...

Jaskitrat- It's so hard to maintain our TBRs, I know.

And I think that's why I liked the characters so much. They have unique talents but underneath they're just teenagers. I'm so happy you enjoyed reading it!

Kristina- I'm hoping to get to the second book by the end of the month. I really want to know what's going to happen next!

thetravelingreader- *waggles eyebrows* Maybe, maybe not. Thank you<3

Liz. R said...

I really enjoyed this one too! Was immensely happy that there was no insta-love (it has become my greatest fear in YA) - the relationship was done really well! Fab review, glad you liked it :).

A. Knight said...

Liz- *high fives* I LOVED the relationship.
And thanks <3