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The Surface Breaks

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  7,775 ratings  ·  1,585 reviews
Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen's original fairy tale ...more
Hardcover, 309 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by Scholastic
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Babinka This isn't like the Disney version. Aside from the talk of rape and sexual blackmail, there are main characters that aren't in the Disney version. The…moreThis isn't like the Disney version. Aside from the talk of rape and sexual blackmail, there are main characters that aren't in the Disney version. There are also main characters from the Disney version that are entirely missing in this version of the story. There is also a huge part of the book and story arc that has to do with back story. I've never read the original, but can say this isn't like the Disney version.(less)
Arimathea See my answer to the question about being suitable for a 13 year old. I think some 12 year olds could handle it however some parents of 7th graders mi…moreSee my answer to the question about being suitable for a 13 year old. I think some 12 year olds could handle it however some parents of 7th graders might object to the content. Disney this is not.

My advice would be to put it in the local Little Free Library to make it available to a wider audience.(less)

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Average rating 3.47  · 
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Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
“We are women. And women are warriors, after all.”

A feminist retelling of the Little Mermaid I repeat A FEMINIST RETELLING OF THE LITTLE MERMAID


You remember sweet little Arielle, combing her hair, loved by her family, singing with the fish? Yeah, scratch that. This is not that kind of story. In this kingdom under the sea, the patriarchy is strong. Mermaids are supposed to look pretty and smile. They do not receive an education; they are shunned when they do not adhere to certain body norms and
C.G. Drews
Wow so in other news this book would like to say hello, and then follow up with "men are trash" and like, where is the lie? Also the second thing that is very important to note is: THAT COVER. This was 50% a cover buy and 50% I liked Only Ever Yours by this author. That was a really difficult read, and this one isn't quite so brutal: but it's seriously a call out to our patriarchal society and how it treats women and it gets VERY disgustingly sexist. I found that hard to read.

Like I can't sit he
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Everyone oversold me on the feminist part of this story.

Don’t read further on if you don’t like ranting.

Gaia spends most of her time pinning after the main boy who ends up being an ass. Her inner monologue is recognising the boy is a stranger - but her must be perfect because she loves him!!

Her father is an ass as well - what a surprise that is.
She feels sorry for herself the entire time - a lovely whining monologue.

The biggest feminist is Ceto who is the sea witch and therefore the natural e
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid was my absolute favourite fairytale as a child. I loved it for its unrequited love story and bittersweet yet I always thought hopeful ending; I just loved the character of the little mermaid and how she gave everything for true love and when that didn't quite work out she tried to make the world better with her good deeds.

FYI I hated the Disney film when it came out. It was so unlike the fairytale and just much too happy for me. Yes. Apparently even a
Minni Mouse
Unpopular opinion coming against what's being popularly hailed as a feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid. I guess that means I need to stay in the kitchen and make my man a sandwich because 2.5 stars due to the amount of social political themes slapping me in the face that ruined the book for me. Fat shaming, #metoo movement, Donald Trump references, anti-men, glass ceiling, sexual orientations, patriarchy, Gossip Girl-esque social castes, feminism -- you name a hot topic and this book has a ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
If you're looking for a feminist retelling of "The Little Mermaid" then don't bother looking for that here, because you sure as hell won't find it. Apart from the gorgeous cover( and it is beautiful) I have very little positives in regards to this book, and why on earth this is being sold as anything even remotely along the lines of feminism, baffles me no end.

The main issue that bellowed out at me after a couple of chapters, are that all of the themes are thrown into this book frightfully quick
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
A retelling of Anderson's fairy tale. A feminist one. An awesome one. It was good to read about the merpeople kingdom.

As for the world-building… 'Rusalka' is a 'mermaid' in Russian. Why the author thought them ferocious or anything, beats me. Obviously, yet another author became a translation troubles victim. Yes, they supposedly all mermaids have nasty tempers… Still, they are only mermaids.

The concept of the armistice achieved by Muireann was underdeveloped. Basically, what, the Sea King neede
milou  ☕️
"We are women. And women are warriors, after all."

This story is a retelling of the famous The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen and therefore this book is anything but the happy and soppy Disney movie that everyone knows and has grown up with. Therefore the story is much darker than you might expect. Do not forget how tragic this tale truly is.

Mountain View

When I first read the synopsis I was immediately sold because it had promised us that this story was going to be told through the lens of a
Resh (The Book Satchel)
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A retelling of the Little mermaid.

What to expect:
- a patriarchal under water kingdom ruled by the Sea King
- plight of women in a partriarchal world - being wed without their permission, being called unnatural, being forced to behave, being cast out as rusalkas, life of a sea witch, a human wife who is emotionally wrecked by her selfish, lazy son and her husband who was in a world of his own.
- the world building was excellent.

What disappointed me
- the mix up
Mermaids and rus
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Trigger warning: sexual assault
I will talk about this more on my channel, but some quick thoughts:
I was really excited for this. I mean, a feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid? Yes please!! But unfortunately I was disappointed. The only things I really loved were Ceto (Sea Witch Queen) and the feminist passages where I was like YESSSSS! e.g.:

"Being called fat is not an insult, little mermaid. It is as meaningless as being called thin. They are just descriptions. It is your father who has dee
MissBecka Gee
This ain't no Disney tale.

This is definitely more Hans Christian Anderson influenced.
Dark, violent, sad and absolutely fantastic!
Katie (Melting Pages)
Jun 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I ended up DNFing this book at about 82%, so I feel like I know what it was that I did not like about this book and I feel confident in my rating.

The synopsis of this book says that it is “reimagined through a searing feminist lens” and I do not agree with that at all. To me when a book says that it is a feminist retelling, I think that it is going to have female characters that stand up for themselves and fight for equality, but in the 254 pages that I read of this book, not once did our main c
Feb 18, 2018 marked it as to-read
the cover of this book reminds me of the art from Leigh Bardugo's The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic.

also, a YA feminist fantasy, we're all blessed 😤😤
Gabriela Pop
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
CW: fatshaming,homophobia,mentions of suicide,domestic violence,sexual harassment

Disclaimer: I have read and loved all of Louise’s previous work and I love her newspaper pieces but this one just wasn’t for me and that’s that,so don’t come at me,please.

For once,I quite honestly have no idea how to rate this.Most of it was floating (lmao,get it?) in a meh kind of space,while the last 30 pages or so felt so strong.However,all of that being said,boy were the lows so low and did it really feel lik
May 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
A book by Louise O'Neill? A fairytale retelling? Feminist?

This should have been everything I wanted. But it wasn't.

I read Almost Love when it came out and I can't help but wonder if maybe writing the two booms at the same time damaged this one. I had my issues with Almost Love but at least it was always written in O'Neill's startling, crisp prose. How I wish I could say the same for this. For the most part, the writing was very heavy handed, and she was constantly trying to point out feminist
Feb 10, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2018
Retelling of The Little Mermaid with a dash of feminism? Yes please!

ALSO, that cover is gorgeous!!
Es Summer
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cover-love
"They estimate the beauty of each passing girl. Listing pros and cons to their friends as if it is their decision to make, that the girl's beauty will be determined by their opinions rather than objective fact, because they are men and a man's word is final. The girls, knowing the men are watching them but pretending to be unaware, performing a calculated innocence they have been told they must possess."

Sappy, the retelling of The Little Mermaid is sappy and mellow.
It's a feministic retel
Eleanor (bookishcourtier)
I really liked this one! Sure, it wasn't perfect, but it was actually so much better than I expected. This one has got a lot of negative reviews, so I was expecting to kind of feel ehhh about it, but it blew my expectations out of the water (no pun intended). The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite fairy tales, and I thought this was a really well done retelling. And so many feminist vibes! I admit, it was a little simplistic, and there were some things that I wasn't enjoying at first, but ...more
May 13, 2018 marked it as dnf
Shelves: ya-fantasy, retelling
DNF @ 15%

yeah... not for me, after only 2 chapters...
1. sister hate, i'm not about that life
2. the main character saying "if you keep behaving like that no man will want you" or some bullshit like that
3. her FATHER, the sea king "If Muirgen were not my daughter, perhaps I would have chosen her for myself" CRINGE and she's only fifteen
⭐Anni⭐ (Book Princess)
"Living true is the most important thing any woman can do."
3.5 stars...but this is very difficult to rate

I discovered this book in the children's section in the bookstore and bought it mostly because of the pretty cover and because The Little Mermaid was and is my favorite Disney movie. I expected some cute, magical retelling. OH how wrong I was.

The Surface Breaks is definitely a retelling - but not one for children. It's an intense, raw and very feminist take on the well known story. It is dark
Divine Anas
Again, these types of books have thwarted my initial impressions. I never really expected much from this one, to be honest, yet it had completely stumped my meager expectations to no end.
“There was no one there to hear them scream 'no'. Or maybe there was; but that 'no' wasn’t deemed worthy of being heard. Maybe they heard it and they didn’t care. A woman’s 'no' can so easily be turned into a 'yes' by men who do not want to listen.”
This book is a reminder and a portrayal of every oun
Feb 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Angry feminists.
Recommended to Innastholiel by: Remember, children, beauty is only skin-deep.
So I’m finally getting around to reviewing this travesty. Like two weeks after I finished it, but I was moving and didn’t have internet, so there.

Look. Look. I’ve already said multiple times that I don’t like The Little Mermaid or any adaptation of Andersen’s original fairytale. I don’t even like the Disney movie, because Sebastian is fucking annoying and most of the songs are terrible, yet get stuck in my head whenever I hear or think of them like some godawful parasite from another dimension.
Ezgi Tülü
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
“The women always get blamed. Have you noticed that? The wives are nags. The mistress is a bitch for betraying the sisterhood. And the men just fall through the cracks in between. We expect so little from our boys, don’t we, Grace?”
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Scholastic, via Edelweiss+ for an honest review.


“’How much you are prepared to give up for one you know so little.’”

This isn’t The Little Mermaid tale you know and love.


It’s dark.

It’s painful.

It’s every hurt, wound and fear in your soul that you’ve been unable to express in words.

This book is for the girls who need to know their worth.

For the women who need reminding.

For the boys who must learn to be gentle.

And the men who need
Toni Davis
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Honestly I didn't like this book at all. I try not to score low hut I've been generous giving a 3. I got a proof of this book and the cover is georgous however for me the story was contrived and the feminism was to angery to understand feminism isn't about bashing men. It about understanding woman working togher can empower the world. Its not men are evil so woman should be the power. there wasn't a single male charcter in the book that wasn't portrayed as evil or power hungry fool, a good story ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I will flay the skin from the bones of men like my father. I will tear them apart and I will eat them raw. Oh, I will set them on fire and devour their ashes whole... I will have my vengeance.

Oh, this book got me all riled up now. I'm ready to kick some ass and take some names.

I have to admit, it took me a solid 200 pages to start really enjoying this story. For the first two thirds of the story, the women are all so horribly oppressed, I was filled with RAGE. The ending was so strong, so po
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
The surface breaks ⭐️

Star reasoning
⭐️the exterior is gorgeous so that deserves a star right there
⭐️the relationship between the sisters was golden
⭐️an interesting twist on the little mermaid. Loved the little bits of treasures and beautiful writing.

-2 The story was slow. Interesting but not the best mermaid retelling I’ve read recently so it doesnt deserve a higher mark then them for a lesser mermaid quality.
hannah ✧/ᐠ-ꞈ-ᐟ\ (on hiatus)
how did I miss the cover release AND the publication??



i want this book to destroy me
𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐚⋆. · ⋆
Have you seen this cover? I just want it to be in my bookshelf beautifying it, all I want is to look at it and plus, a retelling of the Little Mermaid with feminism? Yes, please and thank you.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 why? ... reimagining of a little mermaid what more could you want !
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Louise O' Neill is from Clonakilty, in west Cork. After graduating with a BA in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin, she went on to complete a post-grad in Fashion Buying at DIT. Having spent a year in New York working for Kate Lanphear, the senior Style Director of ELLE magazine, she returned home to Ireland to write her first novel.
She went from hanging out on set with A-list celebrities t

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