Review: Surfacing by Shana Norris

October 23, 2013 Book 8

Series: Swans Landing #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery
Publication Date: November 15th 2011
Source: ARC Provided by Publisher via Netgalley

Goodreads Summary: 

Surfacing (Swans Landing, #1)

Sixteen-year-old Mara Westray has just lost her mother, and now, being shipped off to live with the father she doesn’t know is not how she imagined grieving. She’s already counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can leave the tiny island of Swans Landing.

But from the moment she steps off the ferry, nothing is as ordinary as it looks. Whispers of a haunting song on the wind make her see impossible things, and she isn’t sure she can trust her judgment about what is real and what isn’t anymore. Maybe she can’t even trust her judgment about quiet Josh Canavan, whose way of speaking in riddles and half-truths only confuses her more, luring her deeper into the secrets hidden beneath the ocean’s surface.

As she tries to unravel the events that led to her mom fleeing the island sixteen years ago, Mara finds that the biggest secret of all is only the beginning.

My Thoughts:

After her mother dies, Mara Westray goes to the only relative she thought she’d never see again, her dad. The one person she always thought would come for her but never even cared to contact them once her mother left him in the mysterious island of Swans Landing. After years since she last saw him, she has to live with him until she’s old enough to live on her own. Reluctantly, she begins a new life in the island away from civilization. All seems as well as can be, until she received bully from everyone on the island who seems to know who she is, and what she might be. Secrets are passed between the island’s inhabitants, secrets about mermaid and selkies, all secrets that someone involve her, and her strange cravings. The moment to seek answers from who she is has finally come.

We are met with Mara, a girl who is grieving her mother who dies of cancer and that now has to live with her good-for-nothing dad in a strange isolated island.  At first I loved her character that seemed to go well with the situations thrown at her. All was great until the book reached a certain point where she was the same. She kept whining about how her life was turning, about her dad, and she wanted everyone’s attention to herself. At first I understood, but then it became annoying. And then there was this other character, Sailor, who is instantly put as the bitchy slut of the story next to the other mean girl of school who does the bullying and owns the place. Why did Sailor had to be put off like that? I found her to be in all her right mind to react a certain way towards Mara for wanting all the attention and thinking she was the poor little girl who needed everyone to take care of her. It made me really mad. Other than that, the rest of the characters were good and developed throughout the story.

The plot, other than the thing with Mara, was great. I loved how the author created this island full of secrets and how the people living there knew of these creatures thought to be mythical, and lived with it until there’s some problem in which the story goes around.  It kept me guessing what was happening and what would happen. It was good 🙂

Another thing I liked of this book was how we see the themes of prejudice on school and even around the streets of said island. How some people are treated for where they come from and whom they are related to instead of how they really are. The author makes a point that we can’t be shaken because of what people say and to stay strong against the bullying and beating the people make, but also to try and speak up about it, not to silently accept it or watch as it’s done.

All in all, it was a good read I enjoyed. If it wasn’t for the slight dislike I developed for Mara, I would have given it 5 stars. It was entertaining and interesting to see a different story for mermaids/selkies in this story and how it all turned out to be.

Rating: 3 stars

i liked it


J signature

Find the Book: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author: Website

The following two tabs change content below.
I'm Jennifer. Addicted reader, and lover of books. I'm a full-time college student majoring in English Liturature and Linguistics & Communication, with aspirations of being a professional editor. Among other things. In the meantime, I obsess over books, history, art, and politics. I believe in freedom of speech and reading whatever you want. Open to discussions about anything and everything 🙂
  • Not a huge fan of mermaid tales but I like how the author incorporated something socially relevant to the story. Great review!

    • I thought the same. I think I like mermaids (so far) more in movies. Thanks for liking my review! 🙂

  • Not much of a mermaid fan on books. I did love The Little Mermaid (the movie). I usually steer clear of these kinds of tales in books. I probably would have given it the same rating as you, or less.

    • The Little Mermaid is a classic. It’s one of my all-time-favorites 🙂 I started to read mermaid books this year and so far I find it okay, but I still haven’t met a story that has taken all words from me yet. Still hoping…
      ~Jennifer 🙂

  • Finally, a mermaid story that actually seems decent. The whole mean girls thing sounds pretty stereotypical though. Great review!

    • It was really stereotypical, since Mara is the new girl in town that everyone seems to hate. But nonetheless, it was a decent and kinda good story. And thanks! 🙂