Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Review: The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan

Pages: 308
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: October 4, 2010
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Lena has lived her whole life near the beach — walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves — the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf. But her father — a former surfer himself — refuses to allow her to take lessons. After his near drowning years ago, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport. Yet something keeps drawing Lena to the water . . . an ancient, powerful magic. And one morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman — with a silvery tail. Now nothing can stop Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove. And soon . . . what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life forever."

Lena adores the beach. She loves to go for walks along the ocean, swim, and watch her friends surf.  She finds herself often drawn to the ocean, but isn't one hundred percent sure why that is so, other than it's a desire that she often has.  All she wants for her sixteenth birthday is to learn how to surf, but her dad, a former surfer, forbids her from surfing since he almost died in a surfing accident years ago.  Although she has up until this point respected her father, she still can't deny her attraction to the ocean and surfing.  One day at the ocean she sees a mysterious figure in the water, which looks like a mermaid.  Lena is intrigued by this and decides that she must figure out what is out there at all costs.  The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan is a captivating story that will delight fans of both fantasy and realistic fiction.

First, I must say how much I loved the setting of this story.  Madigan describes a quiet neighborhood outside of San Francisco and her descriptions of this seaside town really bring it to life. I would love to live in this beachside community; it seemed idyllic.  Plus, her descriptions of surfing were so realistic and a lot of fun. I can't say I've read too many books that involve surfing and this was a pleasure.

Regarding the characters, I must admit how much like the minor characters, including Lena's best friend, boyfriend and her family.  I thought they were all really enjoyable and well-developed; however, Lena was a character that I found myself frustrated with from time to time.  I liked her love of the ocean and how she was an independent female, but I felt like she was often self-absorbed and acted without thinking.  This was why I had a hard time connecting with her.  On the other hand, I did take into consideration that Lena was trying to discover herself and find her place in the world, which is not a task to be taken lightly.

The first half of the book is pretty much realistic fiction, which was entertaining, but once Madigan introduced the second half of the book which takes place in a fantasy world, it was enthralling and so unique. I haven't read many books involving mermaids, so I was intrigued from the get go. It was a nice break from the usual paranormal characters. If you like realistic fiction that meets a fantasy world, you'll definitely enjoy Madigan's take on mermaids.

I was hoping there would be a sequel to this book, but unfortunately, L.K. Madigan recently died of cancer, which saddened me tremendously.  However, every time I see one of my students reach for The Mermaid's Mirror, which is currently residing in my classroom library, it warms my heart, because L.K. Madigan lives on. All in all, The Mermaid's Mirror would be a good read for the beach and might have you gazing out to the ocean to find your own mermaid. 


  1. I haven't read too many books that deal with mermaids either, so I'm excited to read this one:) I love reading about something a little different!

  2. Great review.

    I remember reading about her passing. So sad. So young.

  3. The news of L.K Madigan's death was so sad. This one sounds like a good summer read!

  4. Great review, Christina. This wasn't a book for me but I've heard great things about Madigan's novel Flash Burnout so I'll be reading that one day. It is so sad that she passed away.

  5. I haven't read this yet but I want to. Mermaids seem to be the new craze in YA fiction so I bet that Madigan's publishers would have wanted her to write a sequel. It is tragic that she passed away so young leaving behind a family and just when her writing career was taking off.

    I don't know that I'd like the main character. I know that the teenage years are a time when people are usually more self absorbed but it isn't fun to read about a character like that when you are an adult! I like what you said about the secondary characters though and how well the realistic fiction and paranormal elements seem to blend.

    I am glad that your students are checking the book out too. I'd rather read about mermaids than vampires. I'm kind of getting tired of them. I do plan to read the Richelle Mead VA spinoff but they aren't all vampires :) Great review!

  6. I have read this book, but I didn't really enjoyed reading it. The could not connect with the character and I thought the story was a bit weird.

    I remember a post of a blogger that told us that she passed away. It's really sad.

  7. Beautiful review. I cannot wait to read it - published next year in the UK


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