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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  5,644 ratings  ·  337 reviews
When Sirena and her sisters sing their siren songs to the sailors on their way to the Trojan War, the men crash their ships upon the rocks. There is one survivor. Sirena defies the goddess Hera by tending his wounds and soon the two are deep in love. But does Philoctetes love Sirena's song, or her soul? And will the pull of honor prove stronger than the bond of love?
Paperback, 210 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Scholastic Signature / Scholastic Inc. (first published October 1st 1998)
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Nikita Maria (reclaiming my literacy) I would actually say YA-adult. Some themes are a little too mature for children. Also, the political/philosophical conversations might bore the unprec…moreI would actually say YA-adult. Some themes are a little too mature for children. Also, the political/philosophical conversations might bore the unprecocious child. And apparently unprecocious is not a word. (less)

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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,644 ratings  ·  337 reviews

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Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The story is set in Ancient Greece during the time of the Trojan War, but it is not about the war. Sirena is a mermaid who, along with her numerous sisters, sings to attract the attention and love of mortal men. As soon as a mortal loves a mermaid the mermaid becomes immortal, and that is something all mermaids want. The mermaids’ singing does attract a ship but it runs aground on the rocks and many of the sailors drown (which was not the mermaids intention). Horrified by the unintended deaths, ...more
”We must make them love us.”

Such is the goal of a siren. With their seductive voices and ethereal appearance, these harmless looking mermaids cause more peril on the sea than joy. Their whole purpose in life lies in the sailors, warriors, and tradesmen who journey in the Mediterranean waters.
”The smell of the ship is piney. The sweat of the men is sour. I smell their shoes and their dirty hair.”
Sirena and her forty-eight sisters spend days on the lookout for these giant ships, for they k
Aug 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ages 14+ fantasy lovers
I feel the stars. Each sparkle sets aflame the pain in my heart.
-Donna Jo Napoli Sirena

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

Sirena is a merm
Nov 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adventure
What can I say about Sirena by Donna Napoli. Well, it's not what I expected. Her writing style was nothing I've ever encountered before, and the book was mainly a narrative from the first person of a mermaid, Sirena. I gave it three stars, because the writing was very fluid, and invoked the imagination which is worth mentioning. It's a fast read, and full of love, regret, and longing. While some parts of it are a little too *ahem* for the young adult section, it's not all that bad. I would tell ...more
Showing both the good and dark sides of mermaid folklore, this twist on Greek mythology is perfect for any folklore/mermaid/fantasy-romance fan. It inspired me to try and write my own mermaid story!!!!
Jan 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
Sirena is a Siren, who, in Napoli's work, are mermaids; the offspring of the rape of a parrot-fish by Eros (no, really), they cannot be immortal unless they have a man fall in love with them. Yeah. So Sirena, unlike the rest of her sisters, doesn't want to trick a man into loving her by her singing (shades of the Little Mermaid, oh my), and runs off to Lemnos, where she meets Philoctetes. You could probably fill in the rest, too. Not a *bad* book, but it mostly was a supposed-to-be-titillating, ...more
Asghar Abbas
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Salted, saltish, very salty like a particular salt of memory. Reminiscent of fishy hopes and hearths lost between thighs.
This book is a great quick read that I really enjoyed.

I went into thsi book not knowing anything about it except that is is about a mermaid named Sirena. The synopsis gives no information about the time period or when it takes place. I was happy to find out that the book takes place in Ancient Greece at the time of the Trojan War. It is a re-telling of the myth of Philoctetes, who was abandoned on the island of Lemnos when he was bitten by a serpent on the way to Troy. The myth was changed to a
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: under_the_sea
I thought this book was fantastic! I love Greek mythology and everything about Greek life, but this book wasn't necessarily about that stuff. It was a fun book about mermaids and caught my attention right from the first page. It was an easy read that is easy to relate to (at least I thought so), so the perfect thing to sneak in a day. It is the ideal book to read if you're in a book slump!

Originally Reviewed on May 4, 2017.
Updated with Grammarly on May 27, 2018.
Sara Saif
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it

I have nice sentiments about this book, full of admiration. It was not a retelling of the Little Mermaid as I had thought but a new story. And it was really quite lovely. A bit sad too.

Greek mythology is woven into it or rather, a particular piece from Greek mythology is retold in the book. Since the part with Philoctetes was the same word to word from the mythology, I'm guessing the mermaid origins were taken from there too. There were certain gaps in Philoctetes' actual mythological story, how
Rachel Poon
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I HIGHLY recommend this book to ALL of my friends! This is a GREAT book!!!! I just read over this book again today, so his name is Philloctetes he was the son of Poes, he was royalty. But because he was bitten by a serpant and cursed by Hera, the goddess. The other sailor abandoned him. Philloctetes doesn't care about how hybrid or half fish she is, he just wants to live with her, but something is bothering, Sirena has got immortality, but Philloctetes doesn't. what happens next? READ IT!!! lol ...more
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I did review this a little high, but I will be "thinking about this a lot" as I am writing my own mermaid novel. This mermaid novel is the first I've read with some research behind it. However, I'm not sure how I feel about it, because it takes place during the battle of Troy: its removed from time, place, culture, and she's a mermaid-- that's a lot of doors to get through.
I'm looking for information as to how to write an underwater world. So far, most books only have mermaids above the sea lev
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
So I was searching through the library last week, as I often do, and I found an interesting book titled, Sirena, with a picture of a mermaid on the front. The only mermaid story I’d ever read (okay, watched) was Disney’s The Little Mermaid, so why not open my horizons to a new kind of mermaid story? I had read Donna Jo Napoli’s Spinners and was convinced that this would be another magical deep fairytale to touch me deep within.And I was right! Sirena is a quick read, took me about one morning to ...more
Jasmine Luna
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was beautifully written, as Napoli is a brilliant writer. I cried many times during my adventure reading it. The characters are surprisingly relatable, and the story is compelling. When we summarize it--"An immortal mermaid who falls in love with a human wishes she could return to mortality to live a full life with him"--it sounds very cliched. But in all reality, starting this book was like climbing up a hill, but when you reached the top, the view was meant for a great mountain. Clim ...more
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this twice on a plane and wow this is just wow ugh I don't know what to say this makes me cry every time i read it
First lines: I am waiting, impatient and excited.

A glimpse of orange in the damp sand above the waters edge catches my eye. It is a dried starfish. That makes the fourth one I have found this week. I lace my hair around it. My sister Cecilia will be jealous. She has covered herself with starfish. And Pontina has taken over the mussel shells, stringing them around her neck in layers. Leila collects pearls. Her hands are red and pink with scrapes from fighting oysters. We make ourselves beautiful.
Stephanie Lancaster
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book a LONG time ago, before I even graduated High School, and didn't quite understand it. I happened to see it at A Half-Price Bookstore a few weeks ago, and picked it up. Re-reading it, I am amazed at how truly well-written and deep it is. My one regret is the ending, as it seemed fairly rushed. That doesn't change at all how much I enjoyed it. The mosaic scene was one of the most prominent in my mind, and Mrs. Napoli did such a fantastic job with descriptions that you really could ...more
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a very heartfelt historical fantasy romance. Dripping with the atmosphere of an abandoned Ancient Greek island, Sirena tells the tale of a mermaid’s and man’s love for each other when both are left abandoned. This discusses themes of loyalty, honor, morality and sacrifice. Weaving in Greek mythology and lovely nature writing, this novel went above my recollection and expectation. This would be better placed in YA or adult fiction as there are many discussions of sex, rather than the 12+ ...more
America Sanders
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: d
This is one of my favorite books. It is about a siren who realizes that her song brings only death and she cannot bare the idea of taking lives for her benefit. But luck comes to her in the form of a shipwrecked soldier she grows closer to. The book is an awesome combination of greek mythology with an interesting twist, it was told from the point of view of a notorious monster and surprisingly she is not that evil. I can learn much from this book about creating unique ideas just by taking known ...more
Dale Pearl
My good friend and fellow goodreads author Asghar Abbas recommended this book.
We had a discussion on a lack of credible literature involving the vision of mermaids. He produced this book and suggested I give it a go.
I thouroughly enjoyed this tale. It is an easy read and can appeal to all ages. The story doesn't read like a typical mythological tale, however, there is no mistake that is what it is.
Sirena is another story of coming of age.
Hunger, desire, struggles with maturing it is all there.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was going through some strange mental/emotional things when i read this and when i finished it, i had to throw the book across the floor. not that i hated it, just that i understood all of it too well.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this a long time ago, but I know I loved it! Must re-read...
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fantasy, fiction, romance, greek mythology. everything i could ask for in a book.
Pamela Cruz
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Such a pretty story. It leaves you happy
Nicole Saga
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mermaid-books
It was a good read... But sad ending..
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Probably a 4.5. Super enjoyable, quick read.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I came in with no expectations at all, just to read a good ol'book about mermaids.
I'm a sucker for mythology (and mermaids' love stories in particular), so this was the book for me, but it was written like 20 years ago, so I was a bit skeptical about some, like, 90s vibe in an Ancient Greek setting, but boy was I wrong.
This little story is so bittersweet it will leave you laughing and crying and wanting for more, definitely.
The writer is a Professor and it shows in her knowledge about the Greek
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2011 rated it liked it
ATOS Book Level: 3.9
Interest Level: Upper Grades (UG 9-12)
AR Points: 5.0
Lexile: 540L
Word Count: 39264

This story is set during the time of the Trojan War. It's a story about mermaids, and one mermaid in particular, Sirena. Mermaids of course have the lower body of a fish and the upper body of a woman. The basis of the story is that in order to become immortal, the mermaid must entice a human man to love them (this being hard of course because of the fact that THEY'RE HALF FISH. While trying to a
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
A beautiful tale of a mermaid, told simply but with strength (in
first-person present tense, which some may find awkward, but I didn't

Sirena and her fifty mermaid sisters are victims of a curse - they
must lure human men to sleep with them, or they will die. However,
after seeing first hand the unpleasant fates of the Greek sailors the
siren song lures from their ships - and witnessing the violent revenge
against one of her sisters that the sailors enact, Sirena decides to
accept mortality and c
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Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction. She loves to garden and bake bread, and even dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to make the neighbors wonder. But dear dear

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“I feel the stars. Each sparkle sets aflame the pain in my heart.” 33 likes
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