Andrienne's Reviews > Monstrous Beauty

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
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's review
Feb 15, 2012

it was amazing
Read in February, 2012

I was half expecting this book to be your predictable YA fiction (boys, infatuation, teen angst etc.) but I should have paid more attention to the title "Monstrous Beauty" and know better. It's the kind of book that both teens and adults would enjoy. I am a fan of the mermaid lore ever since I was a kid and I'm glad that more and more books (mostly YA though) are incorporating this theme. What's not to like about mermaids? They are enchanting, romantic and gorgeous. The author did a superb job in weaving a story that makes the mermaids seem real in the same way that a vampire can become real with a virus. Some stories depict mermaids as bad (sharp teeth, hideous faces) set in drowning people or eating them. The author acknowledges this idea but creates the mermaid Syrenka as a sympathetic character closer to Ariel in the Little Mermaid (she just wants to love a boy). Anchoring the story to real life is the teenager Hester who also longs to fall in love but can't because of a mystery that can prove deadly for her. I appreciated how the author put a lot of thought in creating plausible reasons how a mermaid can become human and how they can be read today and not have me feeling silly to read it.
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