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The Surface Breaks

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  4,393 ratings  ·  1,014 reviews
Deep beneath the sea off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of being human... but at what terrible price? Hans Christian Andersen's dark original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans.
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by Scholastic Fiction
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Ruth I'm about halfway through and it seems to be extremely Similar to disney to me... definitely more modern, more graphic, but the level of detail that…moreI'm about halfway through and it seems to be extremely Similar to disney to me... definitely more modern, more graphic, but the level of detail that tracks along with disney is disappointing (gaia is even called "little mermaid" several times) (less)
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Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,393 ratings  ·  1,014 reviews

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Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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 beauty standards; th
Emer (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. Appar
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 here an
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 there
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 podium to sing it ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡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,
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 t
Resh (The Book Satchel)
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 disappo
This ain't no Disney tale.

This is definitely more Hans Christian Anderson influenced.
Dark, violent, sad and absolutely fantastic!
Feb 18, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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 😤😤
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 deemed it/>"Being
Gabriela Pop
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 rea
Feb 10, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Retelling of The Little Mermaid with a dash of feminism? Yes please!

ALSO, that cover is gorgeous!!
Katie (Melting Pages)
Jun 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 di
Es Summer
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 retelli
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 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ounce of femini/>
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
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
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 powerful it
Ezgi Tülü
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
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?”
The Book Valkyrie
Well that was a disappointment. Not only was this book slow, boring, and not in the least bit originative, it was problematic and lacking of character development. Which is surprising because this book’s brief blurb makes it seem like the exact thing a fantasy loving feminist would want to read: a retelling of the classic tale of the little mermaid with a powerful dose of feminism. But you see, ladies and gents, that’s exactly the problem. The author seems to think that she can take someone else ...more
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Toni Davis
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
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 why? ... reimagining of a little mermaid what more could you want !
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.
hannah ✧/ᐠ-ꞈ-ᐟ\ (on hiatus)
how did I miss the cover release AND the publication??



i want this book to destroy me
⭐Anni⭐ (Book Princess)
"Living true is the most important thing any woman can do."
3.5 stars...I guess...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
Beatrice in Bookland
”I want to protect them, to empower them. We are women. And women are warriors, after all.”


The ending was too rushed and it felt like a first book ending, even if this is a standalone. But the message of the book and Gaia’s character development were so good!
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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 celebri
“I'm beginning to wonder that if, when we call a woman crazy, we should take a look at the man by her side, and guess at what he has done to drive her to insanity.” 25 likes
“It is your father who has insisted on calling me a 'witch'. That's is simply a term that men give women who are not afraid of them, women who refuse to do as they are told” 22 likes
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