Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Surfacing (Swans Landing, #1)” as Want to Read:
Surfacing (Swans Landing, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Swans Landing #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  401 ratings  ·  72 reviews
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
Paperback, 328 pages
Published December 19th 2013 by Shana Norris (first published November 13th 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Surfacing, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Surfacing

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  401 ratings  ·  72 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Surfacing (Swans Landing, #1)
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 my
A Book Vacation
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, on
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
 Mummy Cat Claire
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 coul
Eugenia (Genie In A Book)
*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
♥ Sarah
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
*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)
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-j ...more
Sarah Elizabeth
(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
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
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.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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. Ma
Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 defin
Apr 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kimberly Russell
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.
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 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 :)
Nia Ariel
Feb 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
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, especial
Jess F. (From Me to You ... Book Reviews)
"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 intrigui
What Makes Patri
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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
CM Alsop
Also posted on my YA lit review blog:


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 mothe
Jeanne Izzy
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.
Jun 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
"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 wan
Jennifer Madero (Boricuan Bookworms)
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 be
Maria Piquet
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 he
Damaris (GoodChoiceReading)
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 nothin
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, mermaid

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
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Stefanie Wille
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
Maghon Thomas
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 sur

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
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 s
Mar 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook
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. ...more
« previous 1 3 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Tangled Tides (The Sea Monster Memoirs, #1)
  • Tempest Rising (Tempest, #1)
  • Awaken (Awakened Fate #1)
  • In Over Her Head (Tritone Trilogy, #1)
  • Sea Change
  • The Moon and the Tide (Marina's Tales, #2)
  • Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga, #1)
  • The Changeling Sea
  • Just Breathe (Just Breathe Trilogy, #1)
  • Isabel of the Whales
  • Evermore (Mer Tales, #4)
  • Everlost (Mer Tales, #3)
  • Evergreen (Mer Tales, #2)
  • Forgive My Fins (Fins, #1)
  • Sinking (Sinking Trilogy #1)
  • The Fate of the Muse (Marina's Tales, #3)
  • Jessaloup's Song
  • The Turning Tides (Marina's Tales, #4)
See similar books…
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.

Other books in the series

Swans Landing (4 books)
  • Submerging (Swans Landing, #2)
  • Shifting (Swans Landing, #2.5)
  • Surrendering (Swans Landing #3)

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
12 likes · 7 comments