Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sirena” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.77  ·  Rating details ·  5,299 Ratings  ·  305 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)
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 Sirena, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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…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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
 photo 446a6e33328ae2619f8c0fc47212b9de_zpscdisfp1e.jpg

"What is immortality?"

"Foreverness. It is being here, there, anywhere you like, forever and ever and ever. For eons. It is seeing all things, and experiencing all things."

"Over and over and over again."

"Yes, exactly."

"Does it get better with each repetition? Tell me. Is the hundredth scallop that much sweeter than the tenth? Is the thousandth water lily that much more aromatic than the hundredth? Is the millionth love that much more tender than the thousandth?"

I am in love with this tale.
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 know
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
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!!!!
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fantasy, fiction, romance, greek mythology. everything i could ask for in a book.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this a long time ago, but I know I loved it! Must re-read...
Pamela Cruz
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Such a pretty story. It leaves you happy
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Probably a 4.5. Super enjoyable, quick read.
Nicole Saga-flores
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mermaid-books
It was a good read... But sad ending..
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
Oct 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: retellings
I think Napoli has painted herself into a corner in this book. Her ending falls very flat as she tries to make Greek mythology and half developed characters make sense in one blow.

This is a tale of "true love"--which love consists of keeping secrets from the other, telling stories, and making love lots and lots (though how the mermaid and her man manage this is never addressed, but a lot is made of how the bottom half of her is a fish).

I felt like the story drifted aimlessly and tried to keep
Flora Smith
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, sci-fi
This was a cute book, more for someone about 14. The writing wasn't some of Donna Jo Napoli best work however as the sentences were very choppy and didn't really flow well. It was an interesting concept about a mermaid who wanted to be loved and in doing so receive immortality. With immortality comes other consequences as you stay young while you watch loved ones age. Several Greek myths enter this story especially those from the Trojan war. And the ending was very bittersweet. Overall it was ok ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Ascension (Water, #1)
  • Mermaid Tales from Around the World
  • Mermaid's Song
  • Seven Tears Into the Sea
  • In Great Waters
  • A Mermaid's Tale: A Personal Search for Love and Lore
  • Forbidden Sea (Forbidden Sea, #1)
  • The Mermaid's Pendant
  • The Secret of the Emerald Sea
  • The Last Mermaid
  • Siren's Call (Dark Tides #1)
  • Aphrodite's Blessings: Love Stories from the Greek Myths
  • Mermaid
  • Teenage Mermaid
  • Selkie Girl
  • Home to the Sea
  • Lost in the Labyrinth
  • Quiver
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
More about Donna Jo Napoli

Fantasy & Science Fiction Deals

  • Son of the Dawn (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #1)
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Sanctuary (Nomad, #2)
    $4.99 $2.49
  • Genome (The Extinction Files #2)
    $5.99 $2.49
  • The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Mechanica (Mechanica, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Wired (Wired, #1)
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Bandwidth (An Analog Novel Book 1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Bees
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Land: Founding (Chaos Seeds, #1)
    $2.99 $1.49
  • The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • Fool's Assassin (The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Gone (Gone, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Friday
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Dhalgren
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World #1)
    $8.51 $2.99
  • Homeworld (Odyssey One, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Recurve (The Elemental Series, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Deviants (Dust Chronicles #1)
    $4.49 $0.99
  • Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles, #1)
    $6.49 $1.99
  • The Kill Society (Sandman Slim, #9)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Out of the Black (Odyssey One, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Acacia: The War with the Mein (Acacia, #1)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • The Menagerie
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone #2)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Black Bird of the Gallows
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson, #8)
    $8.99 $2.99
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“I feel the stars. Each sparkle sets aflame the pain in my heart.” 34 likes
More quotes…