Nielsen, Sheila A. The Forbidden Sea.
Nominated for the Cybils by Rebeca Herman
When Adrianna's sister runs away from home when their aunt threatens to sell a beloved dog in order to help the impoverished family, she almost drowns. Adrianna manages to save her, but is herself attacked by a mermaid. The mermaid continues to call to Adrianna, who has better things to worry about-- ever since the death of her father, the family has struggled with pverty and now has barely enough to eat. With the help of friends, such as the kind and handsome Denn, they have survived, but when the news of Adrianna's dealings with the mermaid become known to the town, the family's precarious situation is threatened. Adrianna is taken to the mermaid's world, and finds out that the mermaid is not evil and is willing to let Adrianna make the choice about whether to stay in the underwater paradise or return to her family and all of their travails.
Strengths: This is a beautifully written tale, and will appeal strongly to girls who like paranormal romance. I appreciated that it was different from many of the tales out their, and the fact that it dealt with mermaids is a plus, as such stories are popular but few and far between. The Victorian setting, and the utter hardships faced by Adrianna somehow added to the appeal for me.
Weaknesses: The extremes of the story-- the paradise promised by the mermaid and the destitution Adrianna faces in the real world-- are slightly overdone. Most readers prefer their paranormal romances with fewer problems and a little more romance.
THANK YOU to the Cuyahoga County Public Library for sending this through OhioLINK. By the time the Cybils are over, I may have to make a big donation to that library system. They have everything.