This review is of an ARC copy of Mermaid School by Lucy Courtenay from Net Galley. My review has not been influenced and is my honest thoughts.
For starters, I know I am not the target audience for this book but here are two truths about me:
- I love mermaids.
- I love books for kids.
This is an early chapter book and doesn’t take long to read. The text is broken up with sketches of what is going on in the story.
The main character is Marnie. She is feeling nervous about her first day at school. Marnie tries to hide who she is to fit in.
Certain teachers assume Marnie will be trouble due to her wild aunt Christabel’s reputation . Her aunt is also a radio celebrity which earns Marnie cool points with some students.
By the end of day one, Marnie has succeeded in making her first friend, Pearl, and her first enemy, Orla.
Marnie’s mum and aunt give her advice on handling Orla. Somehow their advice gets Marnie into trouble. Now Marnie has to muck out the seahorse stables.
Orla’s bad attitude is not making her popular with any of the other mermaids either. During an outburst, Orla reveals what her problem with Marnie is. Orla’s sister is missing in a dangerous storm and wouldn’t have been working there if Christabel had played the demo tape as promised.
Marnie decides she wants to help Orla. She goes to the studio with Pearl to look for the demo tape but can’t find it.
Things get worse. Orla’s sister is found – yay – but, now Orla is missing. Marnie has an idea, and together with Pearl they rescue Orla.
Marnie realises where the missing demo tape is. She finds it. Christabel plays it and offers Orla’s sister a job.
There’s also an extra chapter that reveals a final secret. Shh!
There are lots of fishy puns that reminded me of a YA novel I read called Forgive My Fins. The puns worked better in this MG book due to the age of the characters.
The story gently deals with issues like fitting in, bullying, friendship and being kind. The fantasy setting is brilliant. A lot of thought has gone into the sort of classes a mermaid would have and the way their world operates.
It’s a sweet story and will likely appeal to young girls looking to read their first chapter books.
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