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3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  4,793 Ratings  ·  279 Reviews
When Sirena and her sisters sing their siren songs to the sailors on their way to the Trojan War, the men crash their ships upon the rocks. There is one survivor. Sirena defies the goddess Hera by tending his wounds and soon the two are deep in love. But does Philoctetes love Sirena's song, or her soul? And will the pull of honor prove stronger than the bond of love?
Paperback, 210 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Scholastic Signature / Scholastic Inc. (first published October 1st 1998)
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Nicole Vacca I would actually say YA-adult. Some themes are a little too mature for children. Also, the political/philosophical conversations might bore the…moreI would actually say YA-adult. Some themes are a little too mature for children. Also, the political/philosophical conversations might bore the unprecocious child. And apparently unprecocious is not a word. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 29, 2007 Sariah rated it it was amazing
The story is set in Ancient Greece during the time of the Trojan War, but it is not about the war. Sirena is a mermaid who, along with her numerous sisters, sings to attract the attention and love of mortal men. As soon as a mortal loves a mermaid the mermaid becomes immortal, and that is something all mermaids want. The mermaids’ singing does attract a ship but it runs aground on the rocks and many of the sailors drown (which was not the mermaids intention). Horrified by the unintended deaths, ...more
Nov 26, 2008 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
What can I say about Sirena by Donna Napoli. Well, it's not what I expected. Her writing style was nothing I've ever encountered before, and the book was mainly a narrative from the first person of a mermaid, Sirena. I gave it three stars, because the writing was very fluid, and invoked the imagination which is worth mentioning. It's a fast read, and full of love, regret, and longing. While some parts of it are a little too *ahem* for the young adult section, it's not all that bad. I would tell ...more
Aug 19, 2007 Sookie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ages 14+ fantasy lovers
I feel the stars. Each sparkle sets aflame the pain in my heart.
-Donna Jo Napoli Sirena

Once again, Donna Jo Napoli has captivated me with her style of writing and descriptions and characters.
Reading a book by her is always a treat (and I also recommend her other books-Zel, Spinners, etc...).
The story is lovely, but the ending is very very sad.
I recommend it to anyone of any age (well, okay, probably three year olds wouldn't be very interested, but still)
Okay so here's the story:

Sirena is a merm
Jan 02, 2011 Drianne rated it did not like it
Sirena is a Siren, who, in Napoli's work, are mermaids; the offspring of the rape of a parrot-fish by Eros (no, really), they cannot be immortal unless they have a man fall in love with them. Yeah. So Sirena, unlike the rest of her sisters, doesn't want to trick a man into loving her by her singing (shades of the Little Mermaid, oh my), and runs off to Lemnos, where she meets Philoctetes. You could probably fill in the rest, too. Not a *bad* book, but it mostly was a supposed-to-be-titillating, ...more
Asghar Abbas
Dec 14, 2015 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it
Salted, saltish, very salty like a particular salt of memory. Reminiscent of fishy hopes and hearths lost between thighs.
Rachel Poon
May 30, 2011 Rachel Poon rated it it was amazing
I HIGHLY recommend this book to ALL of my friends! This is a GREAT book!!!! I just read over this book again today, so his name is Philloctetes he was the son of Poes, he was royalty. But because he was bitten by a serpant and cursed by Hera, the goddess. The other sailor abandoned him. Philloctetes doesn't care about how hybrid or half fish she is, he just wants to live with her, but something is bothering, Sirena has got immortality, but Philloctetes doesn't. what happens next? READ IT!!! lol ...more
Joanne♥~Bookworm Extraordinaire
This book is a great quick read that I really enjoyed.

I went into thsi book not knowing anything about it except that is is about a mermaid named Sirena. The synopsis gives no information about the time period or when it takes place. I was happy to find out that the book takes place in Ancient Greece at the time of the Trojan War. It is a re-telling of the myth of Philoctetes, who was abandoned on the island of Lemnos when he was bitten by a serpent on the way to Troy. The myth was changed to a
P is for Polly
Jan 26, 2012 P is for Polly rated it liked it
I did review this a little high, but I will be "thinking about this a lot" as I am writing my own mermaid novel. This mermaid novel is the first I've read with some research behind it. However, I'm not sure how I feel about it, because it takes place during the battle of Troy: its removed from time, place, culture, and she's a mermaid-- that's a lot of doors to get through.
I'm looking for information as to how to write an underwater world. So far, most books only have mermaids above the sea lev
Dec 22, 2010 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
So I was searching through the library last week, as I often do, and I found an interesting book titled, Sirena, with a picture of a mermaid on the front. The only mermaid story I’d ever read (okay, watched) was Disney’s The Little Mermaid, so why not open my horizons to a new kind of mermaid story? I had read Donna Jo Napoli’s Spinners and was convinced that this would be another magical deep fairytale to touch me deep within.And I was right! Sirena is a quick read, took me about one morning to ...more
Dale Pearl
My good friend and fellow goodreads author Asghar Abbas recommended this book.
We had a discussion on a lack of credible literature involving the vision of mermaids. He produced this book and suggested I give it a go.
I thouroughly enjoyed this tale. It is an easy read and can appeal to all ages. The story doesn't read like a typical mythological tale, however, there is no mistake that is what it is.
Sirena is another story of coming of age.
Hunger, desire, struggles with maturing it is all there.
Donna Jo Napoli can do no wrong in my book, and she does a brilliant job once again. Full review to come soon.

And yet I still wonder... how do mermaids have sex? Or better yet, go to the bathroom. Thoughts?!
Apr 04, 2009 Madeline rated it really liked it
I was going through some strange mental/emotional things when i read this and when i finished it, i had to throw the book across the floor. not that i hated it, just that i understood all of it too well.
Feb 19, 2008 Judith rated it really liked it
I read this a long time ago, but I know I loved it! Must re-read...
May 20, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Probably a 4.5. Super enjoyable, quick read.
First lines: I am waiting, impatient and excited.

A glimpse of orange in the damp sand above the waters edge catches my eye. It is a dried starfish. That makes the fourth one I have found this week. I lace my hair around it. My sister Cecilia will be jealous. She has covered herself with starfish. And Pontina has taken over the mussel shells, stringing them around her neck in layers. Leila collects pearls. Her hands are red and pink with scrapes from fighting oysters. We make ourselves beautiful.
Apr 02, 2011 Alan rated it liked it
ATOS Book Level: 3.9
Interest Level: Upper Grades (UG 9-12)
AR Points: 5.0
Lexile: 540L
Word Count: 39264

This story is set during the time of the Trojan War. It's a story about mermaids, and one mermaid in particular, Sirena. Mermaids of course have the lower body of a fish and the upper body of a woman. The basis of the story is that in order to become immortal, the mermaid must entice a human man to love them (this being hard of course because of the fact that THEY'RE HALF FISH. While trying to a
Jasmine Luna
Aug 11, 2014 Jasmine Luna rated it it was amazing
This book was beautifully written, as Napoli is a brilliant writer. I cried many times during my adventure reading it. The characters are surprisingly relatable, and the story is compelling. When we summarize it--"An immortal mermaid who falls in love with a human wishes she could return to mortality to live a full life with him"--it sounds very cliched. But in all reality, starting this book was like climbing up a hill, but when you reached the top, the view was meant for a great mountain. ...more
Oct 22, 2008 Lia rated it liked it
Shelves: retellings
I think Napoli has painted herself into a corner in this book. Her ending falls very flat as she tries to make Greek mythology and half developed characters make sense in one blow.

This is a tale of "true love"--which love consists of keeping secrets from the other, telling stories, and making love lots and lots (though how the mermaid and her man manage this is never addressed, but a lot is made of how the bottom half of her is a fish).

I felt like the story drifted aimlessly and tried to keep
Flora Smith
Aug 03, 2011 Flora Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, young-adult
This was a cute book, more for someone about 14. The writing wasn't some of Donna Jo Napoli best work however as the sentences were very choppy and didn't really flow well. It was an interesting concept about a mermaid who wanted to be loved and in doing so receive immortality. With immortality comes other consequences as you stay young while you watch loved ones age. Several Greek myths enter this story especially those from the Trojan war. And the ending was very bittersweet. Overall it was ok ...more
Stephanie Lancaster
May 18, 2013 Stephanie Lancaster rated it it was amazing
I read this book a LONG time ago, before I even graduated High School, and didn't quite understand it. I happened to see it at A Half-Price Bookstore a few weeks ago, and picked it up. Re-reading it, I am amazed at how truly well-written and deep it is. My one regret is the ending, as it seemed fairly rushed. That doesn't change at all how much I enjoyed it. The mosaic scene was one of the most prominent in my mind, and Mrs. Napoli did such a fantastic job with descriptions that you really could ...more
Jun 21, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, fantasy
Beautiful, imaginative writing. This fantasy told of the love between a Greek soldier at the time of the Trojan War and a Siren. [In the Odyssey, Sirens were those mermaids who lured men to their deaths by their singing]. I was partly reminded of the fairy tale, "The little mermaid." The ending was heart-breaking. I liked how the author worked in some of the Greek myths using the story-telling of Philoctetes, the soldier as a plot device. This was a very quick read--an hour or two.
Apr 25, 2015 Summer rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was fantastic! I absolutely love Greek mythology and everything about Greek life, but this book wasn't necessarily about that stuff. It was a fun book about mermaids and caught my attention right from the first page. It was an easy read that is easy to relate to (at least I thought so), so the perfect thing to sneak in a day. It is the perfect book to read if you're in a book slump!
Jun 10, 2015 Paloma added it
To be honest, it's a bit dramatic but on the realistic side.

But in Napoli's defense, lots of Greek myths are dramatic, and more often than not, not-so-realistic.

So, I think all-in-all this was a fine book.
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
don't remember much about this book. it was weird and depressing, and i remember the main character being really annoying and whiney. that's about it.
Feb 20, 2015 Ellen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mythology
I read this twice on a plane and wow this is just wow ugh I don't know what to say this makes me cry every time i read it
Pamela Cruz
Apr 30, 2013 Pamela Cruz rated it it was amazing
Such a pretty story. It leaves you happy
Nov 18, 2007 Marcy rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: school
it's very graphic like and stupid. i didn't like it, the girl is very slutty too
Oct 20, 2011 Claudia rated it did not like it
Hard to keep you're focus on. There were too many things going on while the book was progressing.
Nicole Saga-flores
Jun 12, 2013 Nicole Saga-flores rated it really liked it
Shelves: mermaid-books
It was a good read... But sad ending..
Nov 16, 2016 Victoria rated it really liked it
Sirena is a book written by Donna Jo Napoli, it is full of Greek mythology and a plot which will drag you in as the story progresses. To begin, the book is about a mermaid called Sirena that has a beautiful voice. Sirena is also a mortal which lives in the hope of finding a husband, who in which, will make her immortal. Throughout the book, she realizes the dangers which are placed on the men she attracts with her song. Eventually, she will meet a man which will change her life forever. This ...more
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What's The Name o...: book [s] 4 54 Nov 13, 2012 04:47PM  
SPSV Mrs. Rodgers...: Stephanie Smail 1 3 Dec 08, 2011 09:34PM  
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From her website:

Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction.

Donna Jo has five children. She dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist. She loves to garden and bake bread.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to
More about Donna Jo Napoli...

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“I feel the stars. Each sparkle sets aflame the pain in my heart.” 32 likes
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