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The Forbidden Sea

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,583 ratings  ·  309 reviews
When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, she is convinced that the mermaid means her harm. After all, the island is steeped in stories of mermaids' curses and the ill-luck that they bring. But Adrianne is fierce-willed and courageous and is determined to protect her family and the islanders from danger. Yet when the islanders find out about A ...more
Paperback, 295 pages
Published August 2nd 2010 by Scholastic (first published July 1st 2010)
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Aug 07, 2010 oliviasbooks rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like Cinderella stories, fairy tale retellings or rather unfluffy mermaids
It's kind of a cross between Cinderella and The Little Mermaid - or, to be more precise, one of those fairytales dealing with a fisherman lured into the sea by a terrifyingly beautiful sea creature. Rather sad, but featuring a strong heroine and concluding on a satisfying note.

3.5 stars.

Later clarification on the sadness part:

The writing is good. I just do not feel well, when I am constantly pitying an almost angelic heroine - and screaming in frustration for her the rest of the time.

Jan 28, 2010 Stacy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stacy by: Friends
This is a warm human story with enough suspense to grab you and hold you from the first page. The characters were so real to me, I couldn't put it down. There is no needless explanations in the beginning or long episodes of backtracking in time. The story stays in the moment and so does the reader. Children and adults will both love this book. I can't wait for the sequel.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
SJH (A Dream of Books)
What an amazing book! Sheila A. Nielson has woven a beautifully imagined tale of magic and mermaids that is imaginative and wonderfully written. I read this in one evening and found it absolutely impossible to put down. I loved the central character Adrianne who is compassionate and empathetic and wholly unselfish. After the death of her father, she is left to look after her younger sister and mother. She is responsible for ensuring that they have food on the table, although there is little of t ...more
After the first nail-biting chapter, I knew this was not going to be one of those books I would have to feign praise for. The writing is beautiful, original and I instantly related to the main character--Adrianne.

When Adrianne's father is killed in a riding accident, her mother spends months listless on her bed, leaving Adrianne to care for the household. At 12 years old, she was forced into early adulthood when the money ran out and she and her mother and sister became destitute. Once pretty, a
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

When Adrienne's little sister, Cecily, goes missing, she goes down by the beach and finds her sister unconscious on a rock. While there, she sees a legendary mermaid, who has been known to pull humans into the sea. When the mermaid attempts to grab them, Adrienne and Cecily barely escape.

Adrienne, however, is scratched and is unconscious for three days. When she awakes, the townsfolk avoid her and distrust her and she begins having dreams where the mermaid
Ellz Readz
My thoughts...One of the biggest things I look for when reading a book is a strong heroine. Adrianne, the young girl from The Forbidden Sea is just that. She is very strong willed, smart, determined, and very devoted to her family. I instantly felt sympathetic for this girl who lost her father in a tragic accident. She finds herself living in poverty with her mother, sister, and an aunt that treats her very disdainfully. She has an inner strength that helps her deal with some very difficult peop ...more
Alex Bennett
This is one of the books I heard about once, thought it sounded good, and was a little too excited to read it when I got it. I have always loved mermaids and this book quenched my thirst I had been having for a little mermaid magic.

First of all, I want to talk about the setting. It was so amazing. A breathtaking island set in… I could never figure out that part. It lets your imagination go wild on which time period it could have taking time in. I’m thinking 1700’s, but could be totally off. The
Danette Carter
Loved this book, it is a must read. Grabs your attention on the first page and you can't put it down.Sheila knows what a great book is all about and knows how to write them. She knows what the young readers like and so she put her soul and heart out there to grab there attention in a way a lot of writers don't know how to do. You will love this book and can't wait for more of hers to come out. I would recommend this book for all ages. Great job Sheila! Love ya tons!
I really enjoyed reading this book. One of the biggest reasons I liked this book is even though the girl is more of a tomboy, there is a very good reason behind it instead of just the author wanting to write a period piece but not wanting to write true characters from that period.
So for once I'm actually hoping this turns into a series.
Adrianne is young, at only fourteen but she’s hardworking, determined and does what she can to help provide for her family. Adrianne used to have a comfortable life on the island but after her father’s sudden death, her family came upon hard times—both of which she feels responsible for.

The story takes place on Windwaithe Island which has a small close nit community and seems like an idyllic place to live. One of the first things I noticed was that the author never specifically states which par
This book has many things that make it quite special. The character development throughout it, is exquisite! I knew exactly what Adrianne, the main character felt like and I knew what was going on the whole time. It did take me a bit to figure out that it is set in either the early 1800's, the late 1800's or in the early 1900's. It takes place at Windwaithe, a small fishing town, where the people are more than superstitious. With tales of mermaids and mermen awaiting for prey in the vast ocean, ...more
Since her father died in an accident two years ago, fourteen-year-old Adrianne Keynnman and her family have struggled to survive. They once lived a comfortable life on Windwaithe Island, but now they live in a small cottage and Adrianne must work hard to help provide for her mother, cruel aunt, and beloved younger sister, Cecily. One night during a storm, Cecily runs away from home, and when rescuing her, Adrianne encounters a mermaid who tries to drag them down into the sea. Adrianne is able to ...more
Adrianne is a strong female character - one that has dealt with the weight of loss in more than one way. She holds herself responsible for her father's death and her family's financial ruin - yet she lives up to taking care of her family and being looked down upon by those her age. The aunt that resides with them also gives Adrianne grief on a regular basis -but she takes it all in and keeps doing as she feels she must. And for that reason, I just loved her character. I love my flawed and stubbo ...more
I have been waiting for this book forever...and it was totally worth the wait! Forbidden Sea is about Adrianne who while saving her sister from drowning, attracted the interest of a mermaid. The last girl on Windwaith Island to attract the mermaid's attention was sacrificed to the sea in order to save the island. Needless to say, Adri doesn't want anyone to know her bad luck of having the mermaid know who she is. Also, due to an accident two years before Adrianne must support and care for her mo ...more
this author is my nieces' librarian, and when I was in Provo, she was the guest speaker at my sister's book group (clearly my sister has a higher standard for book group than I do). It was so interesting to hear her talking about the book and the stories that didn't make it into the book, and getting it published. She also had her own illustrations that didn't make it into the book, but they were so great and really added a lot to the story, I was glad I got to see those especially. It's a young ...more
Kayla Crouch
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book was amazing. The location was beautiful, and I liked the characters (except for Auntie Minnah and Marcus, but everyone dislikes them). The story was nice. I thought her choice in the end was right, and the ending was great. The story was sort of depressing and frustrating at points, but other than that, I thought it was amazing. 5 stars.

Content: PG - Violence. Occasional elements which are pretty scary.
Kristi Kunselman
I read this book to my 5th graders two years ago. They loved it and I enjoyed it as well! Great twist to a mermaid story. We e-mailed the author to ask her for a sequel. She e-mailed us back, which the kids thought was amazing! I would definitely read anything else this author puts out there.
Not my favorite genre but I couldn't put this one down. I'm really impressed with this author. Middle grades and young adults who love fantasy (mixed with real life) will love this book. 4.5
Becky Keir Grace
I picked this book up figuring it would be a stereotypical teen fantasy. It turned out for be a wonderfully told story about a young teenager holding her family together. Yes, there was the fantasy portion with the mermaids, but I simply loved this authors writing style.

Adrianne is 14 years old, the daughter of the village seamstress, helping to support her family after her father's death. Her father worked in the stables and often took Adrianne to help with the horses. After his death, the fam
Right from the start, first time author Sheila A. Nielson weaves a beautiful story about a girl and her family whose fortunes have changed and they are struggling on a daily basis to survive. The characters are exceptionally well drawn beginning with Adrianne, who stops at nothing to help her family (and others) obtain food and happiness. After her father's death, Adrianne is left with a beloved little sister (reminiscent of Prim in The Hunger Games), a loving yet meek mother, and a horrible aun ...more
I loved reading Forbidden Sea it's a delightful story that slightly reminded me of The Little Mermaid. I also Loved Adrianne she's a survivor she's had to deal with the the loss of her father at a young age and deal with her deeply depressed mother at the same time so because of all those factors her whole family ends up living in a tightly-crammed cottage with her bitter and mean Aunt. The story begins the night her little sister Celia runs away out into the unforgiving weather and when Adriann ...more
I came across this book while doing reading for the Beehive Book Awards. The premise didn't appeal to me much, I am not a big fan of mermaids. But Adrianne has such a strong voice and I found myself rooting for her from page one. It quickly becomes apparent that Adri is the strong one in her family of four. Her younger sister is adorable but unequipped to take care of herself. Adri's mother is likewise too weak of spirit to even defend her daughter from the malicious attacks of her aunt. Her aun ...more
Did you see the cover of this book with a mermaid on it? I think that it was really smart not to make the mermaid have a tail on the cover. Why? Because then I wouldn't have read it, and I would never have seen what a wonderful book this is.
This really is a twisted kind of Cinderella tale. A wonderful, absolutely fantastic Cinderella tale that made me read it during math under my desk. Adrianne, a fourteen year old girl who lost all of her family's money when her father died when she was just t
I personally love mermaid books! And while there are not a whole bunch of mermaid books lately Forbidden Sea was a cool new look on mermaids, from an outsider (i.e. not a mermaid)

Adrianne was a really strong character, she put up with her aunt's junk and stayed strong for her family. The family drama in this book was very important. This book was written like a fairy tale, because the magic was not really the center of the novel, just a major hindrance. Adrianne is forced to make many different
Sheila Nielson is my neighbor and we are all so amazed by her talents. She is not only a beautiful writer with an incredible imagination, but she is an artist. Her blog has pictures and sculptures she created for her book, Forbidden Sea, if you want to see the characters as she imagined them.

I just read the book this week. Took a few hours and I was really drawn into this world Sheila created. I can picture the island, the people, everything. Very vivid ima
Bitten By Books
My Review:
This book introduces a fourteen year old girl named Adrianne. The book begins one stormy night, with Adrianne searching along the coast for her younger sister Cecily, who has gone missing. She finds Cecily unconscious on a rock and is terrified when she encounters a mermaid who tries to drag them both down into the sea. It might be the legendary mermaid that she’s heard stories about all her life. Adrianne is able to rescue her sister, but continues to be haunted by the events of that
Amber Argyle
Forbidden Sea is my favorite book of 2011 (besides my own, of course), easily catapulting itself onto my list of favorite books of all time. Sheila has a talent for seamlessly weaving beautiful descriptions and metaphors into this face-paced novel. A few examples: "Despite the dancing sunshine . . . Seeing it now, so empty and dark, caused gossamer strands of sadness to drift over me like webs caught in the wind."

Like Cinderella, Adrianne is basically the mistreated servant of those who should
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  • The Secret of the Emerald Sea
  • In Great Waters
  • Seven Tears Into the Sea
  • Fins
  • Ascension (Water, #1)
  • The Mermaid's Mirror
  • The Mermaid's Pendant
  • Merrow
  • Siren's Call (Dark Tides #1)
  • Hannah (Daughters of the Sea, #1)
  • Siren's Storm (Siren's Storm, #1)
  • Between the Land and the Sea (Marina's Tales, #1)
  • Mermaid Park
  • Lure (Siren's Call, #1)
  • Selina Penaluna
  • Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings (Real Mermaids, #1)
  • Tangled Tides (The Sea Monster Memoirs, #1)
  • Selkie Girl
In addition to writing books, Sheila A. Nielson has also worked as a children's librarian for over eighteen years. She also has a BFA in children's illustration. She is also a miniature artist who collects and creates dollhouses. She also likes to use this skill to create jewelry with lockets that have miniature scenes inside them.
More about Sheila A. Nielson...
Shadow in the Sea

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