Published by Katherine Tegen Books on June 1st 2003
Spencer almost drowns in a surfing accident when a sparkling, golden girl saves him with a kiss of life before she suddenly disappears. Where did this dream girl come from, and will she return? Lilly rescues a boy from nearly drowning and dangerously steps out of her own watery world. Curious to explore this forbidden land, she's gotta find her handsome Earthdude. A silver heart locket is their only clue. Ellen Schreiber revamps a classic favorite with a funky magical romance that shows what transpires when boy meets girl, but discovers girl is really a . . .
This is one of those books that I just stumbled upon at my local library. Schreiber is an author that I have been meaning to read, but with my TBR pile at least a mile long, her books have a bad tendency to get constantly pushed back in the pile. However, I was feeling I was in the mood for a fairy tale so I finally decided to give this book a try.
Teenage Mermaid is pretty much what I thought it would be. The plot focuses on Waterlilly (the mermaid) and Spencer (the Earthee) who happen to meet while Spencer is in the middle of drowning. Of course, she saves his life and disappears only moments later. He pines for her, she pines for him… I am pretty sure that you know The Little Mermaid plot.
The book as a whole was quick read at only 160 pages. Schreiber's writing style and the new twist she put on the tale were quite refreshing. I found myself laughing out loud plenty of times. Also thanks to the book, I now have tons of funny little quotes– my favorite is: "I would have even kissed Arnold Schwarzenegger in a blue bikini" (p.37). I feel like Schreiber set out to have fun with this book, and she definitely succeeded.
Although I liked a lot about this book, it is not without its problems. Many of the characters were overly stereotyped and had a tendency to annoy me. I liked the main characters, but almost all of the secondary characters could have disappeared and I would not have cared– I just do not think they added much to the story. For example, one character I really did not care for was Robin. She is a friend of Spencer's who is depicted as different by always wearing dark baggy clothes and being an outcast. She is also in love with Spencer and continuously throwing herself at him. What bothered me the most about her character is that she undergoes an ugly duckling type transformation, but Screiber never explains why. I mean one scene she is normal Robin, then she is "total babe" Robin. It just did not make any sense. My other grip is the necklace. It is basically what bring Lilly and Spencer together. Schreiber hints at it being magical or have magical powers, but it is not really explored. I would start to think Schreiber was going to further explain the necklace, but then she would go off in a different direction.
Overall, it was a good read with some issues. If you like fairy tale retellings, you should like the book since it offers a fun and interesting twist. I would have liked this book to have more substance to it, but I am not heartbroken that it did not.