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3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  99 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
While she sleeps beside a log on the wild Oregon coast, a rogue wave pulls Marissa into the sea. Now she dreams each night of a merman who rescues her. Obsessed with returning to this beautiful creature, she again risks her life in the frigid ocean.

Will Marissa remain lost forever in the eddies of her mind, or can real love save her from the abyss? Sometimes, the dangers w
Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Carolwood Press
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Community Reviews

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Nikki  Peterson

At some time or another you will feel pity or sympathy for just about every character in this book.

Marissa busts her boyfriend Drake, and a friend cheating on her. She pretty much looses it like anyone would. She goes to her favorite spot on the beach. She falls asleep and dreams that she was caught in an underow and dragged out to sea. Just as she is about to die she is saved by a gorgeous merman. She leaves home to go to college. Drunk mother and ex behind, she finds a roommate Erin, and meets
Apr 14, 2012 Kasi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have a severe inability to abandon any book mid-read. even one as poorly written as this book. The tone of the narrative was awful, the author is either ridiculously young or very much older than the target audience of this book.(I settled on old after another age obvious issue came about later) No one calls their parents "'rents", no one. Especially not college students. The over use of pet names is irritating and gag worthy. If you have ever seen the episode of The Office where Michael and J ...more
Mandy (I Read Indie) Anderson
Marissa just found out her boyfriend has been cheating on her and so to clear her mind she heads for her favorite place, Crescent Beach. While there she falls asleep and ends up getting taken out to sea with the rising tide. Thankfully Marissa is rescued by a handsome merman. And not long after, Marissa makes it her life's quest to find him and join him in the ocean to live happily ever after. Well that's just what her mind wants her to think. In all actuality she is suffering a breakdown due to ...more
Sara Kovach
Jan 29, 2012 Sara Kovach rated it it was amazing
When I set out to read this book, I was going into it thinking it was a contemporary romance involving a merman, and really looking forward to read it. Boy, was I unexpectedly surprised - and excitedly so! This story has so many layers that go way beyond the surface - romance, breakup, breakdown, recovery, and so much more. Everything was revealed slowly, with little hints dropped at opportune times. Because the author did not reveal everything all at once, I found myself tied to the book, eager ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Krystal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marissa's life is far from perfect. She has a mother who always seems to be angry with her and a father who doesn't seem to notice her. It is interesting how the author portrayed Marissa's character. The reader will learn later on in the book that Marissa is not quite what she seems, but the author handles that problem very fluidly. Marissa is slipping and it's not just because her life is slowly becoming crazier.

Overall, the best and most interesting character was Marissa's. It is intriguing b
Jun 06, 2012 Anagha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best contemporary novels I've read in a while.

For about the first 100 pages, it seems to be a creepy one-sided paranormal romance - while alone on the beach, Marissa almost drowns when the tide comes in. When she wakes up, she is positive a gorgeous merman saved her and (while she was semi-conscious) kissed her. Even the synopsis made it seem like a supernatural novel. And yet, it was so much more than that!
You can see Marissa's intensely warped mind the way she constantly th
Faye {Daydreaming_Star}
The Tide Rolls In
It would be impossible to start this review without mentioning that this book is not what you may expect it to be. Or, it wasn’t what I expected it to be, but in a good way. With my expectations blown out of the water, excuse the pun, this book took on a powerful and intriguing tone that had me truly captivated. I found myself needing to know what was going on, how would it all end up? I practically read this book in one sitting because I simply had to know. The story, the words
Mar 31, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is hard to review. I don't want to give anything away because it will spoil the surprise of the book for you, but everyone on GoodReads has already given the surprise away so if you read any other review, you'll know what happens. And I feel I'd be misleading you if I didn't tell you right away that this is not a merman/mermaid book. This is a realistic contemporary ya book. There, so now you know. But you don't know the big surprise.

I didn't understand the beginning of this book at all
Feb 26, 2012 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marissa has a problem--- several actually, most importantly is that her boyfriend breaks up with her. Well, really, she catches the lying, cheating jerk talking with another girl, flips out, and leaves. Then, Marissa goes to the beach to calm down and drifts off to sleep. The next thing she knows, she’s waking up in a hospital: confused and afraid. Everyone keeps telling her that she should have drowned, but the only thing Marissa knows for sure is she can’t get the merman who saved her out of h ...more
Oct 08, 2012 Cherie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, if after reading the book description you are expecting to read a paranormal romance involving mermen or other mythological creatures, you are going to be disappointed. Please don't let that stop you from reading this book, though!

Marissa has recently broken up with her cheating live-in boyfriend, has crazy parents, and has other issues from her past which become important as the story progresses. Trying to escape her life for a few minutes, she takes a trip to the beach and falls asleep
Jun 02, 2012 Cameron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Originally posted on the blog: What the Cat Read

This is one of those books that is not what you originally expect it to be. To say I was a bit disappointed is an understatement. I’m warning you now, I’m usually not one to give away spoilers, but in this one case I am making an exception. If you are looking for a book that is about a romance between a girl and a merman, then this is not the book for you. Instead, it’s about a girl dealing with some serious mental issues.

For the first time I find
Feb 20, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it
In Undertow, Callie Kingston paints the reader a portrait of a troubled young woman who is quietly descending into the abyss. I honestly didn't realize from the synopsis that Marissa was suffering from a psychotic break. When the story begins it seems like the merman is real, and a love story will ensue. However, very soon after, the reader sees how manic Marissa really is. It's almost like two stories cobbled together into one. I admit that because I didn't know Marissa's past at first, I reall ...more
Michelle (FabBookReviews)
Told in third-person narrative, Undertow is at once a romance, coming-of-age, and a psychological story. Marissa, the main character, is a slightly caustic teen who has a strange obsession with the water. One night, alone on a beach, she falls prey to the cold waves of the ocean, but miraculously survives. Marissa thinks that she was rescued by a creature of the sea, and confides this thought to her closest friend. Her friend Kelly is immediately concerned, but Marissa is convinced by what she s ...more
My Rating: 3.5 / 5

First thoughts:
Undertow turned out to be completely different from what I expected and from what other novels with mermaids I've read before are like. It's dark and a little bit heavy, but nonetheless captivating and hard to put down. While I had some problems connecting with the main character, I definitely enjoyed reading this novel and will definitely take a look at Callie's future novels.

More detailed:
While the most mermaid stories I've read so far were rather light-hearte
Julie(Reading By The Beach)
Feb 19, 2012 Julie(Reading By The Beach) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
First and foremost, people will start reading this book expecting a paranormal twist, but don't be fooled, this is not paranormal in any way. Undertow is an emotional story about a girl trying to find a reason to fight to live. A gripping novel that will send the readers on an emotional roller coaster that dips so low before the rise. A brilliant, realistic story about the power of obsession and the courage to live through it.

Marissa is no doubt, a damaged seventeen year old, becoming more reali
Flora Smith
I received a free copy of this book for review.

In the words of all my fellow reviewers: this book is not what you think it is. It is not a paranormal romance between a young woman and a merman. It reminded me of a more up to date version of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Marissa is a young woman with a huge amount of stress in her life. She has just found out her boyfriend is cheating on her with one of her friends. Her family life puts the "fun" in "dysfunctional" and its time for her to move aw
Johaleesi (formerly JJiReads)
I was very pleased when I found out that this will be yet another Mermaid/Merman book I'd be reading this year, but I was not prepared to be so enthralled with this particular story. While reading Undertow I felt like I was speaking to a normal girl, with real problems and frustrations. Unhappy with her life, parents that don't understand her, and the seemingly perfect boyfriend that ended up cheating on her, Marissa takes an unexpected trip to the beach where she is swept away by a rogue wave a ...more
Nancy (The Avid Reader)
The following review is my opinion and not a paid review. I was given a copy of Undertow from the author for a review for a Blog Tour for Making Connections Book Tours.

Marissa is a seventeen almost eighteen year old who has had a lot of bad stuff happen to her in her past. It all started when she was a girl at the age of 11. Because of all the things from her past Marissa has had a lot of issues to deal with. From Marissa's point of view her mother is always giving her a lot of grief and her fat
Apr 09, 2012 Silvana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2review, ya
Marissa is eighteen years old girl with traumatic past,her parents are divorced and her sister is dead.
Marissa living with her boyfriend Drake, but one day she finds that he cheating her.
Then that started…
Marissa goes to the beach and throws into the ocean. Does she do that or it’s just a dream. Since then she has a really realistic dreams that when she throws in the Ocean safes her some wonderful creature, a merman.
After Drake she moved in some flat with other student Erin. There she meet so
Feb 09, 2012 Alisha rated it it was amazing
Honestly this book wasn't what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a magical story about a merman and human, when in reality it's about a young woman's psychotic breakdown and her healing afterwards. Now even though it's not what I expected, I thought it was pretty good. As Marissa descends into madness you almost go with her, it's so well written. I could understand why she was going crazy, and feel the chaotic, overwhelming, conflicted emotions within her. I understood her family's ...more
3 stars - An emotional one for me

Undertow is not what I expected. Told in third person, this story uses the promise of paranormal to deal with the difficult subject of mental illness. Marissa is an emotional wreck in this story. I had a hard time liking her but I think that was part of the point. Jim is fabulous and I really loved him. His patience and love were sweet. Marissa's best friend, Kelly, was a great friend who didn't give up on her even as she tried her best to help her.

As I began to
Norma Budden
Undertow was a shorter read I selected in between reading much longer books. Though I anticipated Marissa eventually meeting up with the Merman of her dreams - which would ultimately take me on a new literary journey - I discovered the real elements of the story drew my attention.

I was offered a glimpse into the mind of a person on the verge of losing her sanity, a young woman who endured one of the most emotionally upsetting childhoods one could imagine. Having her boyfriend ultimately cheat on
This book was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. Right away, I liked the book. I connected with Marissa off the bat and I thought the premise was really interesting. Then my interest started drifting and I wasn’t in love with the middle. But I kept reading and boy am I glad I did! After about the halfway point, the book started gaining momentum with me again and I started liking the story more and more and more. I ended up really liking Undertow. The story really is great as a whole.

Marissa is ve
May 10, 2012 Brianna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
The undertow is strong, but which will get her first? The ocean, or her secrets?
I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't what I originally thought it was about, but that's not such a bad thing. I would give it three and a half starts, between liked and really liked. The book was very imaginative and well-written. It really felt like a journey, which is important to me. I felt like I really knew the main character, Marissa, and all of her troubles, her feelings, her thoughts, her secrets. I underst
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
This book makes you think. Wow. I am amazed at the amount of sensitivity illustrated in this book dealing with some very sensitive issues.

At the beginning of the book, Marissa is seventeen about to celebrate her eighteenth birthday. She finds that her live in boyfriend is cheating on her and escapes to the beach. She has an accident and nearly drowns. In her near drowned state she is saved by a merman. At least that is what she thinks happens. It is confusing at first. This book is one you need
Feb 20, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing
One of the things I liked best about this book was the way the author kept the reader guessing, while offering enough hints along the way for the reader to nod and say, “I should have known.”

Is the merman real? Is he a figment of her imagination? Did she dream about him or did she really see him? We’re not quite sure and that leads us to many conclusions along the way to the truth.

The family and friendship conflicts were realistically portrayed. We know about her little sister, but not what real
Jul 26, 2012 Justine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Undertow by Callie Kingston is a short story about Marissa an eighteen year old girl trying to learn how to cope with the various obstacles that come in her path. 


Marissa has a screwed up family as she puts it. She was molested by an uncle as a child, she lost a sister, her parents divorced, the love of her life cheated and she had a meltdown. When Marissa loses it she thinks that there are mermaids and one saved her, so she try's to find the "him" and go be with him. She ends up
Apr 11, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was not what I was expecting when I read the summary. I was expecting mermaids but it actually turned out better. I love how focused and obsessed Marissa was with the merman. She actually had me believing that he was real and even at the end, I was still thinking that he was real. Callie Kingston did a really great job in making it up to the reader I think on to make the decision of whether the merman was real or not. If he wasn’t how did she survive? And maybe he wasn’t, maybe it was ...more
Mar 10, 2012 Brianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Undertow by Callie Kingston is about a young woman named Marissa. Struggling to break free of her traumatic past, Marissa becomes even more heartbroken by the betrayal of her long time boyfriend, Drake.

Undertow is an extremely powerful contemporary novel about an emotional journey through a young womans' psychotic struggle. In the beginning, I was expecting magical creatures and fairytale under the sea world but I was surprisingly wrong. Callie Kingston wrote Undertow with such emotional depth a
Apr 02, 2012 Mya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like most of the reviewers I was shocked. I too thought this book was supernatural in nature, but was suprised when it was something that I have struggled with. To be honest, had I known what it was about, I probably wouldn't have read it. Im so glad I did. I cried my way through it and could sympathize with Marissa. Thank you for writing this book. I try to keep myself in check struggling with my depression everyday. Through therapy & journaling, just like in this story, I am seeing improve ...more
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Making Connections: # 23 - Callie Kingston - UNDERTOW (November 11 to November 20th) 29 31 Nov 19, 2012 09:41PM  
Reviews for the L...: Undertow 1 4 Oct 31, 2012 07:09AM  
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