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Sixteen-year-old Mara Westray has just lost her mother, and now, being shipped off to live with the father she doesn’t know is not how she imagined grieving. She’s already counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can leave the tiny island of Swans Landing.

But from the moment she steps off the ferry, nothing is as ordinary as it looks. Whispers of a haunting song on the wind make her see impossible things, and she isn’t sure she can trust her judgment about what is real and what isn’t anymore. Maybe she can’t even trust her judgment about quiet Josh Canavan, whose way of speaking in riddles and half-truths only confuses her more, luring her deeper into the secrets hidden beneath the ocean’s surface.

As she tries to unravel the events that led to her mom fleeing the island sixteen years ago, Mara finds that the biggest secret of all is only the beginning.

Surfacing is the first book in the Swans Landing series.

328 pages, Paperback

First published November 13, 2011

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About the author

Shana Norris

22 books322 followers
I write young adult books from a tiny town in eastern North Carolina, where I live with my husband and our zoo of animals. I am the author of SOMETHING TO BLOG ABOUT and TROY HIGH, both available from Abrams/Amulet Books, and THE BOYFRIEND THIEF and SURFACING, both available in ebook format for all ereaders.

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5 stars
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111 (26%)
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114 (27%)
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27 (6%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews
Profile Image for Anne.
3,868 reviews69.2k followers
October 17, 2014
3.5 Stars

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.

I have a confession.
When I watched Disney's The Little Mermaid for the first time, it changed the course of my life!
Ok, not really. I'm just a grown woman who loves mermaid stories...

So is Surfacing a good choice for someone (like me) desperately looking for a fishy tale?
Is it the mermaid story that I've spent countless years searching for?
But was good enough.

Surfacing is an interesting story that blends mermaids and sirens into one mythical being, and calls them finfolk. I'm not sure this is really a new idea, but it was still cool.

When it opens, Mara is on her way to meet her dad for the first time since she was a baby. And instead of finding herself with the father of her dreams, she ends up meeting a scruffy dude who looks like he's one step away from a homeless shelter. He's an artist and a fisherman, who (if his run-down house is any indicator) isn't doing so well financially. Bonus! Their relationship, while bad enough when it was non-existent, turns into a hostile mess once they are under the same roof. And to make matters worse, his specialty seems to be clamming up and walking out the door when things get awkward between them.
So. He's emotionally distant, poor, and looks like a hobo.
Basically everything you could want in a father!

On top of her family problems, Mara starts to notice that something is really weird about Swans Landing. Not only is she being openly bullied at school for unknown reasons, but it also appears that none of the adults (including her father) are willing to step in and do anything about it. Even her father and his close friends are treated poorly by people from the town, and they seem just as unwilling to stand up for themselves as they are to stand up for her. Between the cryptic taunts and the crazy woman that keeps popping up out of nowhere to scream at her, Mara is pretty darn sure her new home is hiding a strange secret.
Unfortunately, no one will tell her what is going on.
I thought this part of the book was fairly frustrating. I get that her father didn't want to freak her out over the whole 'Hey you might turn into a fish!' thing, but it seemed to drag on a bit too long for my taste.

After she discovers who and what she is, there is still the problem of the regular humans in the town. It seems that at one point, the finfolk and the humans had a fairly peaceful relationship. The events surrounding what happened to create all of the animosity between the two groups becomes the second mystery Mara needs to solve.
Again, I had a problem with the way the humans retaliated against the finfolk. I didn't understand why they didn't 'out' them to the world if they hated them so much. The explanation given was that 'no one would believe them'. Eh? Has no one in Swans Landing heard of a video camera? If they know when and where they go to transform, then surely someone could sneak out there and record it, right? Seemed like a sketchy line of reasoning to think that no one would bother to at least try to expose their secret.

There is, of course, a love story running in the background. Now at first I thought the guy was a total douche, because he stood by doing nothing while his evil girlfriend picked on and abused Mara. However, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed a tad more realistic that he might not want to stick his neck out for some girl he just met.
Wait. No, I still think he's a bit of a douche.
But by the end of the book, I felt he had redeemed himself. And once his secrets came to light, it was a little bit easier to understand some of his more questionable actions.

The story has a good resolution, but also leaves the door wide open for the next book in the series. That one seems like it will focus on one of the side characters from this novel who is out to solve the mystery about the role her family played in Swan's Landing's downfall.

Again, I think Surfacing is going to be more enjoyable to those in the market for a story about mermaids, rather than someone just looking for a new young adult book with a paranormal twist.

Profile Image for A Book Vacation.
1,392 reviews714 followers
September 9, 2013
3.5 stars

To see my full review:


I've finally come across another book that has merfolk it in (or finfolk, as they're called in this novel), and they're not evil! YES! So many mermaid novels I've read have completely evil females and it has really turns me off of reading books dealing with merfolk, but Surfacing, alongside Of Poseidon, by Anna Banks, has restored my faith in this genre.

Mara is in for a huge surprise when she moves to the island with her estranged father, only to find that nobody on the island really wants her there, save an older lady and two young male teens vying for her attention. Everyone else, even her father, it seems, wishes she wasn't there, but she's at a loss as to why. While technically a story about finfolk, this novel tackles the theme of prejudice and racism in the form of humans versus finfolk, and it's very tastefully done. It's impossible not to feel sorry for Mara and up in arms about the treatment she endures from those around her, and I think it really helps teach a vital lesson that our society still needs to learn. Tolerance. Why is it that we tend to blame an entire people group for one thing that someone did? And yet, in society, this happens time and time again.

For Mara, it's no different. Thrust into the "you people" category by those around her, not even knowing what it means when people say that to her, Mara unwittingly stumbles upon the truth as she finally goes for a swim. As a reader, this was a little difficult for me because it took Mara so long to figure it all out, even when all the signs were staring her in the face! Who has an hankering for salt water? Not me... And, who lives by the ocean and doesn't go in? I was dying waiting for Mara to put the pieces together, but once she does, the story really begins to take off as she must come to terms with her change, keep the secret of someone she holds dear, and navigate her feelings of unwant from her father and the intolerable people of the island.

Mara has a quick wit about her and her retorts were awesome, especially to those who treat her like scum. It was hard not to cheer when she reacts with a little more force on one occasion, but even so, violence is not the answer, which the finfolk believe wholeheartedly. If only the human population on the island believed it, too. The ending leaves the novel wide open to the sequel, and I'm excited to see where it goes, especially with Mara's relationship with Josh and Dylan, Sailor's search for her mother (although Sailor certainly isn't my favorite finfolk), and Elizabeth and her father's vendetta against Mara and everyone not completely human.
Profile Image for Jessi.
169 reviews7 followers
March 3, 2014
I have always been looking for a captivating mermaid series. I don't care what form these merpeople take on and if they are nasty or not, all I am asking for is a good read! That being said, this was not it. While I enjoyed this novel, it fell a bit short for me.

In a few words...
Cover: Pretty
Rating: G
Stars: 3
Overall: leaves much to be desired
Characters: *sigh*
Page Turner: Although I knew the "secret", I still found myself eager to move forward.
Series: Yes!

In other words...
I cannot deny that I enjoyed this light, easy young adult read. However, I expected more out of the plot - and the main character. To me, Mara's character came off more annoying and childish than anything. And, really...no one thought it was odd that she added salt to her drinking water?

As someone who doesn't always reach for YA novels, I find myself enjoying ones that defy age groups. This book made me feel like I was in high school all over again. The mean girls seemed more sociopathic than your average bully as a result it felt more dramatic then necessary and rather unlikely. I know, it's a fantasy book - none of it is likely. But still.

All in all, I loved Shana Norris' version of the merpeople and their abilities to pull oxygen from the water. I enjoyed the story of Mara and the people of Swans Landing and I would have loved to have more in-depth descriptions of the characters. I would give the next story a try.
Profile Image for  Mummy Cat Claire.
835 reviews15 followers
December 2, 2018
This novel was a surprise for me. From the cover, you can clearly see it is about mermaids but the author added in a bunch more to make this book quite enjoyable.

Mara Westray is a 16 year old girl who has only met her father once. So basically, Mara doesn't know her father. Mara was raised by her mother in Tennessee but when her mother developed cancer and then dies, Mara is sent to live with her father to Swan's Landing off of the Carolina's.

"When I closed my eyes, I dreamed of an ocean I could barely remember. The last time I saw the beach, I had just turned four."

Lake Westray, is Mara's father. He doesn't ever leave Swan's Island. He and Mara struggle to find a connection. They hardly speak. Lake's friend Dylan Waverly, is a local high schooler and Mara's age. Dylan becomes a good friend of Mara's and helps her out about learning the Island and the people.

Sailor Mooring is another class mate and someone who doesn't like Mara much. She also finds that there are certain people, at school, who don't like Sailor, Dylan and Mara. They say funny things like "your kind" and very insulting things to each other. Mara has no idea why the hostility and no one bothers to fill her in.

But then Mara bumps into Josh Canavan and as the two continue to meet up, feelings start. Then they become stronger. As the two become closer, so does the truth.

This novel contains top secret information and to heck if Mara was getting any of it! The author has the reader follow Mara and her perspective. The reader only knows what Mara knows and when she learns something new, the reader is supposed to figure it out, like Mara. This was a bit hard to do because nobody was giving it up, even to Mara. There wasn't anything to put together. Reading the book, I felt for Mara and the frustration she felt.

Answers do come and everything is explained by the end of the book. I read into the second and third installment of the series and I was intrigued. I would like to continue on and see what happens.

Overall, I would recommend this book to those who enjoy mermaid stories. Even if they aren't your typical cup of tea, I still think those who like paranormal and romance situations would enjoy this book. I found the author really explains her main character, she explains her feelings and the reader really falls into what Mara thinks and feels. I liked Mara so much better because of this. The romance is clean.

Content: clean

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
April 6, 2014
*This review also appears on the blog Chasm of Books*

The last time I read about mermaids (or 'finfolk' as they are referred to in this novel) was after The Tail of Emily Windsnap and Thora series. Because of this, I went into Surfacing with an open mind and ready to explore this sub-genre once more. This book in many aspects surpassed my expectations, and it was one I really enjoyed.

At the beginning of the story we are introduced to Mara, our sharp-witted protagonist who has a rocky relationship with her father after being sent to live with him when her mother died from cancer. On the tiny island of Swans Landing, she is met with hostility from most of its inhabitants, however she doesn't know why. The only people who seem to be nice to her Josh, Dylan and Sailor (well, I would say she tolerates her more than anything). In the end, Mara makes some shocking discoveries about herself and the people around her.

The need to be gone overwhelmed me and I ran straight into the roaring waves, letting the foam wrap around me as I kept going, swimming against the current that tried to push me back. I wanted to go down, to not exist anymore, to forget everything.

First of all, for the most part I really liked Mara's character. She definitely had a sharp edge to her comebacks and didn't let people get her down, no matter what they said about her 'kind'. Although at times she did become a little melodramatic and we all knew what she really was straight from the get-go, it was still interesting to see how she developed as a character and experienced a journey of self-discovery in more ways than one. Yes, there was a slight love triangle in this book, and I did feel that Mara kind of 'played' both guys (even though apparently when she kissed the first one it was a 'mistake'), thankfully it didn't drag on for the whole book and she made her choice.

However, the romance didn't make up the whole plot. Central to the storyline was Mara's changing relationship with her father and her overcoming the challenge of not knowing why almost everyone acted so strange and hostile towards her for most of her time living at the island. It seemed that everyone knew how things worked except her, and although I would have expected someone to tell her sooner what was really happening, I suppose that the suspense added to the 'mystery' element of the novel. That being said, I was definitely glued to the pages of this book, and couldn't wait to see what would happen in the end - which as it turns out there is a sequel called Submerging.


In conclusion, I would definitely recommend Surfacing to anyone who likes reading about mermaids but in a more subtle manner. It was a book that I surprisingly enjoyed to a great extent and can't wait to read the next books in the Swan's Landing series!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/review/RC70JLNX...

I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for ♥ Sarah.
539 reviews127 followers
February 25, 2014
*I received this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

At first glance:
The description is kind of vague & mysterious, so I didn’t really know what to expect...But this book held a unique twist to the traditional mermaid tale. A twang of folklore, a touch of teen angst, and a spoonful of tween romance gave this book an unexpected edge.

There were moments I thoroughly enjoyed: the small town life, the divide b/w the “Finfolk” and the humans. The slang/lingo for outsiders (Woodsers) v. townies (Swansers); I could see a lot of inspiration and creativity went into crafting the overall story.

The gory details:
That wasn’t enough to push this book over the 3-star mark. I think if there were a few extra touches, e.g., fleshed out characters (especially the villains and side characters), and more dialogue, the story would’ve read a lot smoother.

For a book with over 300 pages, either the side characters/stories should’ve been cut, or developed further in greater detail.

SAILOR was just a refreshing character, despite her bouts of jealous fits of rage. It was a wasted opportunity – I didn’t like that she automatically became Mara’s “frenemy” instead of an actual friend.

JOSH really was frustrating. His ‘secret’ was sort of predictable and lost shock value by the time it was revealed. The pacing lost momentum because of all the crazy side stories going on; his story wasn’t compelling enough, despite his predicament. There was massive potential for his character that was ultimately wasted.

Josh’s mom, Dylan, & even Elizabeth should’ve either been cut from the story altogether, or developed much, much further. Why was it that we only saw things from the Finfolk’s perspective? Yeah, the story was told in Mara’s POV but it just didn’t seem reasonable that Elizabeth & her group of people reacted the way they did. The “reasons” that were given just didn’t satisfy me.

Mara kept referring to Lake as her “deadbeat” father. She believed he gave her and her mom up, and the father/daughter tension was written SO amazingly well. Her hurt was so palpable. Yet again, another opportunity missed, because their relationship could have also been developed further. There weren’t that many moments they shared together. Their scenes felt repetitive mostly, until the very end – but by the end, their resolution didn’t feel as effective, shocking, or rewarding.

The romance was slow and felt lazily written. I felt like there was an attempted love triangle, but it was TOO obvious to even label it a triangle. No thrill there. The chemistry was so-so, and though I liked Mara, I found the side characters more interesting than her. Not a good sign.

All in all, I did like the overall gloomy, mysterious, angst-filled tone of this book. It was a lot darker than I’d expected. That was good. But there were too many missed opportunities and unfinished ideas. I probably won’t continue the series.
Profile Image for Vickie.
1,324 reviews4 followers
February 16, 2018
Surfacing is my first, but not last, book written by Shana Norris. I chose this book because I love the narrator Amanda Ronconi and what a wonderful surprise! Amanda Ronconi does a marvelous job but I also fell in love with the characters. Imagine being sixteen years old, losing the only parent (mother) you've ever known, and then being sent away to live with the other parent (father). It's emotional enough to lose a parent, but to move hundreds of miles away to an insular community, being pre-judged by peers because of who your father is, having to adjust to what your legacy is. The author created such a wonderful character in Mara that I just wanted to hold her hand and encourage her every step of her epiphany! I just loved this story and look forward to listening to the next book in the series!

Go Cards! L1C4!!
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,690 reviews1,267 followers
September 27, 2013
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Shana Norris, Fiction Addiction, and Netgalley.)
17-year-old Mara is moving to the small island of Swan’s Landing to live with her father following her mother’s death.
Some of the people of Swan’s Landing are less than welcoming though, and some even seem racist towards Mara for what she assumes is her dark skin, but in truth it seems it is something else.

Mara has heard talk of the ‘finfolk’ – people who are able to transform underwater to have a tail rather than legs and breath water instead of air, but Mara never thought that this would have any impact on her life.
Why do the residents of Swan’s Landing hate Mara so much? Why did her father never travel inland to visit her? And what of the finfolk?

This was an okay story about a girl who discovers she has ties to the sea, and I liked the romance.

The characters in this book were all quite argumentative, and bitter! They all seemed to argue among themselves, and there wasn’t a single person in the town who wasn’t feuding with someone else it seemed! There was even a real race-hate thing going on, and so many people were just angry! Even Mara was angry, seemingly at everyone, although this was probably in part due to her grief over her mother’s death.
My favourite character in this was Josh (the love interest) though, who was so sweet and so supportive, and made such a good match for Mara.

The storyline in this was okay if a little predictable in places. I thought that the way that Mara found out what she was was a little odd, but it accomplished what needed to be accomplished!

My favourite part of this book was the romance between Josh and Mara, although I didn’t appreciate the love triangle. Why Dylan needed to be in there I don’t know! When Mara and Josh were together though it was really sweet, and I really wanted things to work out for them.

The ending of this was alright, but for me it was a little sad, and didn’t really tie all that much up. I’m guessing that you have to read the rest of the books in the series to find out what happens to Mara and Josh but I real hope that they end up together!
Overall; an interesting fishy tale with a sweet romance.
6.5 out of 10.
Profile Image for Tati.
937 reviews85 followers
September 23, 2014
I’d like to thank NetGalley and Fiction Addiction for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was an okay book, even though it was quite predictable. It also had, for me, a Tiwilight feel. I don’t really know why, but I caught myself thinking several times how similar to Twilight this book was.

While the plot was okay, I think the characters should have been more developed, as they felt too shallow. Josh’s abrupt change of heart just didn’t make any sense at all to me. One page he was in denial, and then on the next page he was all accepting? Nuh-uh. As for Sailor, she was another character that just failed to convince me. Whenever she would show up, I just knew she was going to have an angry conversation with someone and stomp off.

The love triangle (felt more like a love square to me) was not very convincing either. Mara just went from Dylan to Josh without a second thought, and then, when Dylan got hurt, it was solved quite quickly.

I do have to say that the world building was very interesting, as well as the writing style. It was very angsty, and that, coupled with a deeper exploration of the tense relationships that abound in that island would have made for a great book. The relationship development was missing, however.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Profile Image for Kathy.
43 reviews61 followers
July 15, 2014
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I loved the plot and the pacing of the book. I love mermaid books, so when I saw this on Netgalley I knew I had to request it! Surfacing was very engaging and got me hooked from the beginniang. The author did a fantastic job with description. I could really picture the setting and the appearance of the characters. I definitely had trouble putting this down!

I had a few issues with the characters, however- specifically the main character. Many times throughout the book I found myself getting angry with Mara. She tended to be selfish and could not figure out seemingly simple answers to problems she was facing. There were also a few details that really did not make sense to me. I noticed a few grammatical errors, but they were not really noticeable unless you really looked for them.

To read the rest of the review, please visit the post on my blog: http://thenoveltyoflife.wordpress.com...
Profile Image for Aubrey.
31 reviews
January 14, 2012
This was a very interesting book! Usually I'm not all about paranormal novels, but this one kept me intrigued. No vampires or werewolves for me!

The thing that struck me the most about this book was the hormones! When I was a YA myself, I don't remember ANY of my books even discussing the issue of sex or sexual activity. I don't know if times have changed, but it was definitely refreshing to see the characters talk and think about how much they wanted each other. That's just me, though.

Will definitely check out the sequel when it comes out!
Profile Image for Doreen.
1,096 reviews
April 9, 2013
50% - finally some progress! mara finally discovered what/who she really is!
typical mermaid story? maybe.. but in this story they are known as finfolk and they are ampbihious. well, a little sad ending as in mara and josh are temporarily separated. (like Frost's lia and gabe).
overall, i like the story and it goes to show that when there exist a difference, there will be a confict, be it racial or in this case, humans and finfolk.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kimberly Russell.
Author 5 books98 followers
November 7, 2013
Mermaids! or Finfolk in this case. I will read just about anything with mermaids though.
There were a few things I really liked about this and one of them being that the mermaids weren't all bad. A lot of times they are these really mean creatures so I thought it was cool that was left out.

I will for sure read the rest of the series.

I received this from NetGalley for an honest review.
Profile Image for cagla tastemur.
589 reviews95 followers
March 31, 2014
An ARC provided thru Netgalley thru The Author.

GOD! What an AMAZING Story! I couldn't stop the reading( well I only stop for pee :) ) I literally drawn to book and it felt so good! When I started to reading a book, I really wanted to be hooked from the first sentense&Chapter. This is like that.The end was absolutely cliffhanger! I really Can't wait the second one to read :)
Profile Image for Selene.
4 reviews
February 13, 2018
I didn't even make it halfway through chapter two on Wattpad before I said "fuck this" and closed out the browser window.

I never thought I would find a main character even more annoying, unlikable, and bitchy than Tempest Maguire, but here she is, ladies and gentlemen!!! I present to you: Mara Westray, an ungrateful brat who thinks the worst of her father and threw out a letter her mother wrote to her before she died, because God forbid anyone have a good thing to say about her father, especially if it's her mother. By the way, the reason she's pissed at her dad is because her mother (I repeat, her MOTHER) took her away when she was all of four years old, and he never contacted her afterwards, and didn't come to her mother's funeral. It's like Mara doesn't realize (or refuses to believe) that her mother may have purposely kept her father from contacting her, but since her mother could do no wrong, it's aaaaaall dad's fault.

I will never know why her father didn't contact her until she was a teenager because I refuse to torture myself with this book any longer.
January 11, 2018
"3.5 out of 5 stars!! After being away from the small island of Swans Landing for around 12 years, Mara returns to live with her father (a man she never knew). Feeling lost and alone, Mara finds herself drawn to Josh. Josh is a teen who keeps to himself and compels her at every turn. However Swans Landing is an island FULL of secrets and once Mara finally understands what those secrets are will she be willing to stick around the island or will she “run” away as far as she can…

This is an intriguing and mysterious YA romance novel. It kept me guessing most of the way through while wishing for a good HEA to wrap it all up. What I got was..."

Read more of this review and TWO TEASERS here: https://frommetoyouvideophoto.blogspot.com/2018/01/made-grade-swans-landing-series-book-1.html
Profile Image for What Makes Patri.
298 reviews207 followers
August 3, 2013
We are The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club, to know more about this book, go to the post in our website:

Surfacing (Swans Landing #1) by Shana Norris

Here you'll find the review, an interview to Shana Norris and a giveaway.

If you are interested, you can visit our website:

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club's Review:

About The Book:

Mara Westray has not just lost her mother, but she has to now live with her father. Lake Westray, the man that let her mother go from Swans Landing a long time ago, the man that didn't go to the funeral of the woman that he claimed he loves and Mara's unknown father. That is why when Mara turns eighteen she's willing to leave that tiny island known as Swans Landing.
But Swans Landing is far from ordinary as well as Mara. Everybody seems to be afraid of her and Lake and she's bullied at school for being something different that she has no clue about what it is. Everybody seems to know something and the island is starting to play tricks with Mara like showing her dead mother.
However, Swans Landing has good things to make Mara stay, at least for a while. Like Josh Canavan, who speaks in riddles and half-truths and seems to feel the same attraction to her as she feels for him. Dylan who is like a friend to her, but that she knows he feels something for her and Sailor that hates her for stealing all the boys attention from her.
As she tries to unravel all the mysteries in that island, Mara finds herself involved in a far bigger secret than she expected and the truth from that secret has the power to shatter Mara's world.


Surfacing was a refreshing and captivating story. We were lucky to see this book in Netgalley and receive the ebook of this wonderful story.
We love Shana Norris' stories but hadn't had the chance to read the Swans Landing series. We regret that we didn't read it before. We love this series!
The first book, Surfacing, I read it the first night I received the book. At first you meet Mara Westray. Her mother just died from a cancer and she's going to meet the dad that only met once when she was little at Swans Landing. She's heartbroken for losing her mother and she's angry at her supposed father not just for not being for her all her seventeen years, but for not being for her mother where she was dying or in her funeral. She cannot understand why If he loved her so much, could not go to her funeral.
Mara is a strong, stubborn and friendly character. You not feel sorry for her, but for her pain. She knows something weird is going on in the island and she brings her most stubborn side until she finds out what is going on. We also liked that she didn't give up on Josh after seeing him with other girls (not saying who!).
Josh is a regular boy from Swans Landing High School that meets Mara the first she arrives. He's suffering from the loss of his father and he seems to perfectly understand Mara. So we fell for this character as soon as he said some cocky, but friendly remark to Mara.
About Dylan and Sailor, all the people from the island is afraid of what they are, although we don't know at first what they really are, or they are bullied because of it. Dylan is a strong and friendly character that is instantly in love with Mara. He forgets everything and he only has eyes for her. Sailor is a little bitchy and has a strong attitude, although we see her vulnerable in front of other people sometimes. Is the kind of character that you cannot love, because she's mean with the main character, but you cannot hate her either, because she's not one of the bad guys. I think that Sailor keeps the story funny and interesting, twisting every step Mara walks. So, we kind of like her, because Mara's bitchy, too, when she's around. Sailor is jealous of Mara for taking all the attention from Josh and the love from Dylan and sometimes she seems like a chilt having a tantrum.
The plot was refreshing and interesting. We haven't read a book with this exact story before. The characters show different personalities and are well build. The ending left us heartbroken because we weren't expecting it at all! We were really happy to see that there are more books to keep the story going.
We could say that Surfacing is captivating, lovable and a must read book. That's the main reason we loved it so much and we are ranking it with five gorjuss dolls.
So, Book Addicts, don't hesitate. Read about the mystery that surrounds Swans Landing and Mara, Josh, Dylan and Sailor's story, because this is not just about Mara. Is about what Swans Landing is hiding.

Shana Norris Dream Cast

Meagan Tandy to play Mara, Matthew Atkinson to play Josh, Chord Overstreet for Dylan, and Lucy Hale for Sailor

Profile Image for CM Alsop.
185 reviews7 followers
December 23, 2013
Also posted on my YA lit review blog: http://ireviewyalit.blogspot.ca/2013/...


When Mara’s mother dies, she is forced to relocate to the tiny island of Swans Landing to live with the only relative she has left – her estranged father. She counts the days until her 18 birthday when she can leave the ostracizing and riddle-talking community forever. That is until she hears a mysterious song and sees her mother in the woods. When the obvious is revealed, Mara has to find out why her mother left and never returned and why the human residents hate them, all while dealing with the humans of the island who want the finfolk to leave forever.


I feel that the author wanted her to have an edge with her attitude, but I found her to be melodramatic and childish. Lexa Cain’s Élan from Soul Cutter is a much better example of a girl with an attitude that you can still like and cheer for. Of course, Mara is torn between love interests. Did she really have to string along (and KISS) both? Not if she’s a good person. Overall, I didn’t like Mara. She walks away when people are speaking to her and then has the gall to demand that people stop treating her like a child and give her some answers. She also balls up the letter her mother left and throws it in the corner because it’s not telling her what she wants to hear. Oh, spoiler alert, it has the answers she wants. Brilliant.

The Rest of the Cast

Mostly a bunch of people who are a mix of angry, riddle-talking, racist, weak, or boring. Yay.

If I were Mara, I would have told everyone to buzz off. Why? When you keep asking people what is going on with the whole island hating you and absolutely no one is giving you an answer, but alluding to an answer, that’s ridiculous.

To be specific: Josh is kind of cool, in an aloof and snarky way. Yet he is secretive and hangs out with the cool kids who treat Mara badly. How can you be interested in someone who doesn’t stick up for you?

Dylan grated on me. He is just so nice and that’s his only character trait.

Sailor is interesting. She obviously hates Mara (me too!) yet she occasionally stands up for her when the bullying gets bad. When her history comes to light and you figure out why she hates Mara, she becomes a full character (and there are not many of those here). Also, her name is interesting. Most of the names in this book made me roll my eyes (Gale, Waverly, Westray, Mooring) but Sailor kind of stuck with me (I won’t lie, it might have something to do with Sailor Moon).

Miss Gale is an older woman who knows much and is maternal to the MC who has recently lost her mother. This lady is lovely and knows how to command a room. This is one of a few characters who I found interesting and I perked up when she was on the page.

To paraphrase: the island is mostly full of suck. I would not like to live there.

The Island

A well-written aspect of the book is the prejudice that is rampant in the island. There were a few events that have left the human residents with a bad taste in their mouths regarding the finfolk. There is a clear divide in the community that the readers can link back to racism or class.

However, these themes are a bit far-fetched with mermaids in the mix. If the humans hate them so much, why not take some pictures of the mermaids in action and publish them on the internet or in a magazine? The mermaids would be forced to flee.

Plus, all these girls are making fun of the finfolk. What girl wouldn’t actually want to be a mermaid?

Name of the Book

The author couldn’t bother to use a few key strokes on Google to see if there are other well-known and award-winning books with the same title? *cough*Surfacing by Margaret Atwood *cough*

The Swans Landing Series

Do I have any interest in reading more installments in this series? Yes, because I want to know what happens to Sailor and her quest to find the truth about her family history. I don’t particularly care about Dylan or Josh or even Mara. Maybe one day I’ll check out Submerging, the second installment in this series that focuses on Sailor.

Final Verdict

I like mermaids, though I am tired of them being used in soft stories that you might see on the Family Channel. If a teen is still hooked (yes, bad pun) on mermaids and they have read through Amanda Hocking’s Lullaby Series, sure, give this book a shot. Everybody’s a mermaid and they all have their own colour of vibrant tails and the humans hate them…because. The overall story that linked the people of the island was nicely put together. If a teen is into mermaids, romance, and wants to get into a four-book series, Surfacing might be for them.
Profile Image for Jeanne Izzy.
25 reviews
August 19, 2013
This was originally posted on my blog
Well I gotta say this was the first book that I received via Netgalley, so I was pumped. Totally pumped.

If you actually follow me on twitter, my first reaction when I started reading was:

It was different from the usual conventions, which I think was great. To start off, the first half of the book was interesting, introducing our main character with no hint that anything's wrong despite her strange father and the odd people of the island. The mystery is presented almost immediately. Now that was probably one of the more frustrating parts. Strange hints were dropped throughout the first half of the book about the mystery, but never really helped me to form a clue on what the big reveal was going to be about. It might have been intentional, but I was really just plain confused. I would have been fine with that, but the whole mystery thing lasted for half the book. It felt draggy, personally. But obviously, things picked up after that.

So I'll highlight the main characters.

Our main character Mara. Mara's your typical teenaged girl, finds herself in a small town with secrets, the usual. We obviously find out later on that she's special or something, but she's pretty "normal". Despite trying to make her sound strong, Mara came across and really oversensitive and bratty. I don't know, I've never had a parent leave me, and I have never come across a fictional character less willing to sympathize with people. She has a ridiculously short temper and is prone to violence. I mean, I'm all for girls who defend themselves, but she resorts to violence unnecessarily. Leave that to the minor characters girl. Leave it. Like, there were instances when, for example, her father. He would try and do something nice for her, she would deliberately find some fault in it and link it back to him leaving her mom and get angry and storm out crying, blaming him. Not only did I find that infuriating, I found it really stupid. But she did serve as a decent narrative character for the better parts.

Then we have our Hot Sexy Guy, Josh. (If you need an explanation, click here.) To be honest, I didn't like him. Of all things he probably ruined the story most for me. His character didn't make sense in the story, really, other than to serve as a sort of romantic interest for Mara. And that's the thing. Mara. Throughout the story she's seen as very confrontational, always running up and beating up girls who try and pick on her, but when Josh completely ignores her, she doesn't do anything. It's like she was completely fine with it. It didn't make any sense. His character didn't get a lot of screen time, but from what I did see his character doesn't really have much potential for development anymore.

Then our NSG, Dylan. Dylan's really sweet and supportive, though maybe lavishing too much attention on Mara and neglecting his previous best friend, Sailor. His back story wasn't developed much but that just leaves him open for more character development which I think should be interesting. Also Mara why

And Sailor. She's sort of a side character, jealous of all the attention Mara gets upon her arrival. I think we were supposed to hate her? But I kind of liked her, really. Nothing much there.

Now about the mythology. I did enjoy it somewhat. The concept was interesting. I'm not trying to spoil the plot, but I'll say that I loved the writing of the experience much more enjoyable than most of the sappy, overly descriptive to the point of being unrealistic, books. However the "climax" if you can even consider that one, was really rushed and really didn't have much of a buildup, since most of the book was dedicated to creating a "mystery" behind the town.

Overall, I enjoyed the book more than I expected. It felt more of a setting-the-scene sort of book than an actual story, but I think it has potential.

Grade: B. Not bad. I had problems, of course, but it wasn't horrible.
Profile Image for Hannah.
542 reviews2 followers
June 1, 2014
"My mom always said that I had a need to hurt people who hurt me. My body felt as if it were full of venom when I looked at my father. I wanted to make him feel guilty, to know that my coming here was not my idea and we would not become friends."

Mara just lost her mom to cancer, and has to go live with her estranged dad on the island he lives on, Swans Landing.

Mara and her dad are very similar; they look alike, and both seem to crave salt, but Mara doesn't want to accept it. She doesn't want to be here at all, and isn't afraid to tell her father, loudly, and often. She doesn't call him dad, instead just calling him Lake.

She gets to her father's house, bitches at him a lot, and then reads a letter that her mother wrote to her once they realized she was terminal.

Mara doesn't know why her parent's marriage suddenly ended, but she suspects that her father was the main reason.

She goes out to take pictures, because she can't stand being where her father lives, and ends up standing on a sand dune, where a boy tells her to get off. She sasses him, but he seems to enjoy it. Apparently, this is going to be one of those books where the "chemistry" between the love intrests is the girl harboring a deep dislike that'll slowly turn into love and sap and make me want to puke, and he will be sitting around enjoying it, and then suddenly be protective, or act how they act in normal paranormal books, where there are many secrets that he can't tell her, and they fight the entire book.

I have a lot of feelings.

She goes back home, and finds her father with another boy. It seems that this island is all boys with a few girly girls who Mara hides from in sand dunes.

The next morning, Mara makes her dad feel horrible, because he doesn't have food in the fridge for her, and his attempt to make food leads her to yell at him and SASS HIM IN A TOTALLY UNAMUSING AND JUST PLAIN BITCHY WAY.

Some girls in gym class don't like Mara, so she accuses them, in her head, of not liking her because she's not white- because 95% of the school is white.


Despite what I said, I didn't dislike this book, not really.

I'm just very specific with what I can handle, at least character-wise.

This book made my head explode.

Mara fits into a very specific, small list of characters that I absolutely hated.

About 17% of the way into this book, I realized that I would hate it, because there is no way it could redeem itself to me, based on what has already happened.

And I really like Shana Norris as an author. Troy High was one of my, and my sister's favorite books a few years ago, but to me, this one seemed to be a huge disappointment.

And it SUCKS, because I absolutely love mermaids, but for a mermaid book, it's less mermaids, and more drama, and I dislike that.

I'm unconcerned with these characters, which is sad, because usually I feel for at least one, but for this book, I could care less for any of the characters.

Maybe the second one is better? Opinions??

This book was sent to me for review by Netgalley. I am not profiting from this review in any way.
October 23, 2013
You can find more of my reviews on my co-owned blog Boricuan Bookworms

ARC Provided by Publisher via Netgalley

After her mother dies, Mara Westray goes to the only relative she thought she'd never see again, her dad. The one person she always thought would come for her but never even cared to contact them once her mother left him in the mysterious island of Swans Landing. After years since she last saw him, she has to live with him until she's old enough to live on her own. Reluctantly, she begins a new life in the island away from civilization. All seems as well as can be, until she received bully from everyone on the island who seems to know who she is, and what she might be. Secrets are passed between the island's inhabitants, secrets about mermaid and selkies, all secrets that someone involve her, and her strange cravings. The moment to seek answers from who she is has finally come.

We are met with Mara, a girl who is grieving her mother who dies of cancer and that now has to live with her good-for-nothing dad in a strange isolated island. At first I loved her character that seemed to go well with the situations thrown at her. All was great until the book reached a certain point where she was the same. She kept whining about how her life was turning, about her dad, and she wanted everyone's attention to herself. At first I understood, but then it became annoying. And then there was this other character, Sailor, who is instantly put as the bitchy slut of the story next to the other mean girl of school who does the bullying and owns the place. Why did Sailor had to be put off like that? I found her to be in all her right mind to react a certain way towards Mara for wanting all the attention and thinking she was the poor little girl who needed everyone to take care of her. It made me really mad. Other than that, the rest of the characters were good and developed throughout the story.

The plot, other than the thing with Mara, was great. I loved how the author created this island full of secrets and how the people living there knew of these creatures thought to be mythical, and lived with it until there's some problem in which the story goes around. It kept me guessing what was happening and what would happen. It was good :)

Another thing I liked of this book was how we see the themes of prejudice on school and even around the streets of said island. How some people are treated for where they come from and whom they are related to instead of how they really are. The author makes a point that we can't be shaken because of what people say and to stay strong against the bullying and beating the people make, but also to try and speak up about it, not to silently accept it or watch as it's done.

All in all, it was a good read I enjoyed. If it wasn't for the slight dislike I developed for Mara, I would have given it 5 stars. It was entertaining and interesting to see a different story for mermaids/selkies in this story and how it all turned out to be.

Rating: 3 stars
Profile Image for Maria Piquet.
21 reviews
October 20, 2013
Clearly, I’m on a binge. This is the third mermaid book I’ve read in the past month and I have one more waiting for me on my shelf. I must be homesick for Florida.

Anyways, on to the story…
After her mom dies from cancer, 16-year-old Mara Westray is forced to leave her hometown and friends to move in with her estranged father. She goes from a landlocked state to an island off the coast of North Carolina. Besides having to cope with the loss of her mom and trying to get a relationship going with her weirdo dad, she gets entangled in the tensions and prejudices between some of the locals. She slowly (too slowly in my opinion) learns that something fishy is going on (pun intended) and goes on a quest to uncover the truth about the island’s past and what it has to do with why her mom left with her 16 years ago. There’s love, there’s violence, and there’s plenty of mystery and riddles to keep you reading until the end. And let’s not forget the dark, brooding love interest Josh with a few secrets of his own.

Surfacing took a completely different direction than I expected. It was on another level than Tangled Tides, exploring not just the protagonist’s life but also the entire island society and the tensions between the finfolk (how mermaids are called in this book) and the humans. It dealt with relatable issues like prejudice, injustice, family relationships, and friendships — just with mermaids added to the mix. The quality of writing took me by surprise and I really connected with Mara, finding myself frustrated, sad and pissed off alongside her. She was a really strong, independent and fierce character always ready with an awesome one-liner, but sometimes her ignorance was unbelievable and I constantly wanted her to do more to uncover the secrets everyone was keeping from her. She was so slow in discovering the obvious — that she was half finfolk, on her father’s side, duh!

The prejudices the finfolk put up with were very believable and refer back to the prejudices many groups of people who have been different in some way have endured throughout history. It was unimaginably frustrating to read about the “normal people” get away with some of the abuse toward the finfolk, who were nothing but friendly and accomodating and always turning the other cheek. I still fume when I think about Elizabeth and her sad-excuse-of-a-human-being father.

There are 3 more books in the Swans Landing series but instead of being a continuation of Surfacing, each book seems to follow a different character. The next book, Submerging, follows Sailor on her quest to find her mother. Sailor didn’t really come across as a sympathetic or likeable character in the first book so I don’t know whether I want to read this sequel. But then again, if Surfacing is any indication, I know Shana Norris will deliver. For now, I’ll just leave it for my next mermaid binge.

To see more of my reviews, visit http://paperdollreview.tumblr.com/
Profile Image for Damaris (GoodChoiceReading).
611 reviews227 followers
December 12, 2011
Surfacing was a nice change for me. When I picked Surfacing up to begin reading it, I honestly had no idea what the story was really about. I sort of just jumped into it. I have to say that I was immediately hooked after reading the first couple of pages. I really enjoyed it, but there were some parts that threw me off and had me annoyed at times, but I will get into that in a bit.

When Mara’s mother dies she is sent off to live with her father who is a complete stranger to her. She knows nothing about him or what he is really like. Only what her mother shared with her, and even that wasn’t much. From the first two pages of the story I was already interested and wanted to know what was going to happen. The minute Mara arrives, she quickly learns that there is a huge mystery to the town and there’s obviously something she doesn’t know and no one is willing to share with her. Already half the town dislikes her and she has no clue. They look down on her and her family. The only friends she makes and that her father has are also disliked. With everything she is going through, losing her mother, moving in with a stranger, new town, new friends, that last thing she needs is enemies. Then she meets Josh, one of the “cool” kids and they quickly build a friendship, only it’s a secret friendship. It was just a lot of bad happening to her and if it were me, I would have had a break down.

Mara started off as a strong character with a slick mouth and always spoke what was on her mind. She defended herself and she even defended those who weren’t really her friends. She just couldn’t stand bullying. I loved this about her, but then there were times where she would just annoy me. I understand the bitterness towards her father and the pain she is feeling, but at times she lashed out and it just bothered me a bit and felt unnecessary. Another thing that annoyed me a bit was that half the book, or a little more than half, it’s a whole bunch of, “You’re not ready to know the truth” or “It’s not my place to tell you.” After a while I got tired of everyone telling her this and I wanted to know the truth already. Once Mara does finally learn the truth and everything is revealed, the story got even more interesting. I also really liked the relationship Mara had with her friends, and the one she developed with Josh. If there is a second part to Surfacing, I would definitely like to read it. I enjoyed it, but I just wish Mara’s personality stayed consistent. She was up and down for me. There were also lots of moments that took me by surprise. I recommend this story!

3.5 out of 5 stars!
Profile Image for Kathy.
2,046 reviews576 followers
July 6, 2012

I’m not sure what to make of this one. I guess overall I did like it and enjoyed the story, but by the end it felt a little uneventful and a bit slow. The first half of the book is about how Mara has lost her mom and has had to move in with her dad on a mysterious island where half the people are keeping secrets from her and the other half hate her. I got a bit frustrated waiting for Mara to just find out already, I mean the cover of the book pretty much gives the secret away. The second half of the book was a little better. Mara now knows most of what’s going on, but makes some bad decisions. One big one was with her friend Dylan. I didn’t like that whole situation and how she handled things. Her relationship with Josh was also a bit frustrating. He was kind of a coward in public and had done a few questionable things, but when they were together she never called him on anything. At least not for a long time. I would have liked a bit more confrontation, she didn’t seem like the type to hold things in, so I didn’t get why she put up with some of his shenanigans. Despite the very short time they know each other; I did actually like their relationship and thought they had good chemistry. I don’t think this is too much of a spoiler, but I have to get it out there. I was frustrated with how Mara wanted to leave and runaway with Josh. First, you barely know him despite the “connection” you may feel. Second, it was so selfish of her to ask him to leave his mom. She of all people should know what it is like to take care of an ailing mother and it was just so dumb for her to ask him to abandon his mother for her. It made me like her a lot less.

Anyway, I did like Mara. I liked Josh. I liked the side characters Dylan, Sailor, Miss Gale and Lake. I thought it was maybe a standalone novel, but there are some cliffhangers at the end so I’m sure there will be at least one more book. I enjoyed this one and will probably read the next. It was an interesting take on mermaids and if you like mermaid stories you’ll probably enjoy it.

Content: Pretty clean. Some passionate kissing and making out. Mild language, maybe a dozen (or less) swear words.

Reading Order:
Book One: Surfacing
Profile Image for Cori.
150 reviews75 followers
December 9, 2013

Surfacing by Shana Norris follows 16-year-old Mara Westray as she deals with the death of her Mother while moving to a new town to live with the Father she’s never known. Living on an island full of people who ridicule and condemn her for unknown reasons, Mara decides to figure out the answers to the questions no one wants to answer. But what she finds isn’t exactly what she was expecting.

I adored this book. I have such a ridiculous love for mermaids and Surfacing took that love to the next level. Norris did a great job of bringing her version of mermaids, also known as finfolk, to life. Mara was such a great character. You’ve got this angry 16-year-old who has spent her entire life not know who or what she is only to be bombarded with the truth at the worst possible time.

It’s so easy to relate to the pain Mara is going through and to understand why she dislikes her Father so much. When we were first introduced to Lake I wasn’t sure what to think, but as the story went on I grew to like him and understand why he’d spent all that time away from Mara. While I enjoyed most of the supporting characters, minus Elizabeth of course, I think my very favorite aside from Mara was Josh.

I love the Relationship between him and Mara and how things started off with them. He’s snarky and a total smartass, but underneath he’s got this hole in him that matches the loss Mara feels within her. I really enjoyed the dynamics between the humans and finfolk in the book how they knew about each other.

I’ve gotta say there is a surprise twist in there that I figured out when I was about 80 percent done with the book and knowing I was right gave me this giddy joy. This book was so good. I loved the descriptions as well the transformation of legs into the tale as well as the finfolk music and how it can let you see the dead.

Norris did a lovely job of weaving together legend with imagination and I’d highly recommend Surfacing to anyone who enjoys a good young adult fantasy read with a lot of heart.
Profile Image for Stefanie Wille.
56 reviews52 followers
October 20, 2013
Do you want more reviews like this? Check out my blog about books

Mermaids! Yeay! I have to say that this was actually the first time that I read about the lore of the merfolk/finfolk/mermaids. I think it was a good start but I wanted more from this book. It’s mostly the characters that made me like this book less. The lore itself was very interesting and well integrated into the story. And then the excerpt for the second book just made me want to read that as well. So it’s safe to say I’m hooked but I’m not sure if I like it. I will say that if the next book doesn’t up the ante with the characters I might just not continue reading this series though.

Mara is not my friend. I would never like her in real life. I understand that she has been through a lot but she seems pretty self-absorbed. In any case she was too busy messing up her own life to see the obvious thing. There were just times when I didn’t have it easy to keep rooting for her. Sometimes I just wanted the book to focus on someone else, Sailor maybe. And though I’ve never actively watched Sailor Moon, every time I read Sailor’s name I just couldn’t help but think of the blonde anime character. Don’t even get me started about the boys in this book because if I ever see someone fawn over an annoying girl in real life I might have to slap them.

The story felt okay while I was reading this book, but looking back not a lot of things happened. This saddens me immensely because this is such a cool premise, so many things could have happened that I would want to read about! No, instead we get the love stuff all up front and that’s just not what I wanted this book to be about. I guess I was just expecting different things from this book story-wise which is where my disappointment comes from. As a whole this book just left me feeling pretty meh. But I’m hoping the next book will do it better and perhaps be more centered around the fact that it’s about finfolk? A girl can only hope.
Profile Image for Maghon Thomas.
1,287 reviews1 follower
September 7, 2014
I have a thing for mermaids, almost as much as werewolves and dragons. The little Mermaid is STILL my favorite movie to this day and yes I'm old now LOL but this one has a wonderful addition to the stories that revolve around this myth. And boy does poor Mara have a big deal of drama in store for her. She just lost her mom and she is shipped to her father that she doesn't know. It's also not a friendly place to be, especially for her, until she really finds out why. :)

Mara is in for a major surprise when she gets stuck on the island with her estranged father, only to find that nobody on the island even wants her there, and they seem to go out of their way to make her feel that. There is a lovely older woman, and two yummy guys who are fighting for her as a love interest, but even her father doesn't seem to care about her or want her there. She's hurt, grieving, and just doesn't understand. And then she hears a tale about finfolk, that's what they call them. And finfolk are not welcome by the humans, and it's a racial issue, or is that a species issue. However you want to say it, but it's become a lesson in how to tolerate what's different. and everyone should learn that you can't blame an entire race for someone ONE person did, yet it continues to happen.

Mara doesn't understand why she's constantly called "you people" not knowing why until she begins to unravel some mysteries, and then meets some of "those people". And then she starts to understand, and make friends, kinda, and how to deal with her own father and the town people who don't want her. Mara took a good while to figure things out, but other than that, I really liked her character. She's funny and has some great little comments, and she is learning. I really really really can't wait to read book two because the ending, though it's not a cliff hanger, leaves a good bit of wanting for more. And I wanna see more of Josh and Dylan and Sailor, and maybe her mother, and seriously her daddy needs a good spanking, and some. I need that to happen :) LOL 5 FINFOLK TAILS... they don't have paws :)
Profile Image for Sunny.
52 reviews29 followers
March 5, 2014

As you have probably guessed from my 2 start review, I did not like this book. I did not hate it because I still managed to finish reading it, but the unexplained and random wood swings of the main character, Mara, has given this book a 2 star status on my shelf.
Mara has been through a lot before moving in with her dad(whom she hasn't seen since she was 6 weeks old), and I'm not sure how I would've acted under the circumstances, but what she did was somewhat tantamount to the Cinderella Complex. Her hatred, I understood. Yes, she did punch some one at one point of the book(in self-defence), but she did nothing but worry and mope at other times. Let just say that she made stupid decisions, like all heroines do at some point of their stories, only, Mara's decisions(mood swings) made no sense. One moment she hates the guy, you flip the page, and on the next chapter, she went back to loving him. No explanations as to what changed her mind--either that, or I skipped too much and missed those parts.
The setting of the book was thought of well enough. But I could not connect with any of the characters. This was almost like a book I reviewed some time back, where the two characters had 3 days to save the world but decided to lounge on the beach and talk about sex before actually doing anything.
In this book there were vendetta and racism(against mermaids, whom they call finfolk). There were part(s) that made sense and in which Mara did not have a mood swing--Mara and her dad finally getting along--and some very satisfactory one(s), too--Mara punching that b*tch. Though this book was not exactly my cup-of-tea, I could imagine it being some else's.


I was allowed a viewing of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lesley.
50 reviews
June 18, 2015
Okay I discovered this book on wattpad a while ago, and it has sort of lingered on my shelf for a while.

Surfacing is the first book I have read that evolves around mermaids, so obviously I didn't know what to expect from this story, the only mermaid mythology I have ever encountered is..... The little mermaid - I know it's pathetic.-

So thoughts on this book... Meh. It was okay, but not a book I was over excited about.

Let's start with the cons...
Yes, I know Mara mother has died; emotionally she is a mess, but I found it really hard to connect to this character whilst reading this book. I found her sometimes to be rather annoying and childish , especially with the conflict between Sailor (my heart literally went out to her.) What confused me the most is the fact that she practically has a make out session with Dylan and then friend zoning him to be with Josh!?

Wait... I thought you are still on this emotional rage over your mothers death, but is happily content on developing a romance, when you have just arrived on the island... Okay.

Not going to lie though Josh is just...*sigh*

Overall the story does have a good plot. The villains are bitches that you wish you could magically teleport into the book and... Well I think you know the rest.
The whole back story of the book stood out and to me Sailor and Josh stood out the most in this story, and the book ended on a good tone leaving me intrigued. So I will continue this series to see the fate of swans landing, and I feel there is many questions that are needs to be answered.
Profile Image for Heather .
571 reviews99 followers
March 25, 2014
I downloaded Surfacing off of Netgalley drawn by the idea of a remote seaside town, reached only via ferry and intrigued by the legend of mer people or "finfolk." Main character Mara is thrown into a situation she is less than fond of when her mother passes away and she's sent to live with her father who she know nothing about.All of her life she's felt abandoned by him, and now she will have to live with him in Swan's Landing. Form the moment she arrives in town she can tell she's not welcome. There's the strange woman who tells her "she's not supposed to be here", and a division amongst the town people-- Mara seems to be right int he middle of the heated battle. Only she's not sure why?
Why is it that no one will tell her why she is being bullied and singled out, or why there is so much tension in this new hometown?

I enjoyed the premise and legend behind Surfacing as well as the cover and the back story included on the author's website. I also liked that the school staff, townspeople and teens take a stand against bullying. However, the voice of both Mara and her nemesis Sailor started to grate on me after a while as they were so full of attitude, anger and drama. This definitly feels YA, but the angst was a bit heavy handed for my taste. I liked it enough to finish and read the sneak peek of book two, but it's probably not a book I would buy for my shelves. I did like the fleshing out of each character, enough so that I felt I knew them. I also really love it when indie authors put their works on Netgalley so we can be exposed to a wide variety of YA titles.
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