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The Forbidden Sea (Forbidden Sea #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,019 Ratings  ·  344 Reviews
When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, she is convinced that the mermaid means her harm. After all, the island is steeped in stories of mermaids' curses and the ill-luck that they bring. But Adrianne is fierce-willed and courageous and is determined to protect her family and the islanders from danger. Yet when the islanders find out about A ...more
Paperback, 295 pages
Published August 2nd 2010 by Scholastic (first published July 1st 2010)
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Oct 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like Cinderella stories, fairy tale retellings or rather unfluffy mermaids
It's kind of a cross between Cinderella and The Little Mermaid - or, to be more precise, one of those fairytales dealing with a fisherman lured into the sea by a terrifyingly beautiful sea creature. Rather sad, but featuring a strong heroine and concluding on a satisfying note.

3.5 stars.

Later clarification on the sadness part:

The writing is good. I just do not feel well, when I am constantly pitying an almost angelic heroine - and screaming in frustration for her the rest of the time.

SJH (A Dream of Books)
Oct 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, mermaids
What an amazing book! Sheila A. Nielson has woven a beautifully imagined tale of magic and mermaids that is imaginative and wonderfully written. I read this in one evening and found it absolutely impossible to put down. I loved the central character Adrianne who is compassionate and empathetic and wholly unselfish. After the death of her father, she is left to look after her younger sister and mother. She is responsible for ensuring that they have food on the table, although there is little of t ...more
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy, mermaids
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stacy by: Friends
This is a warm human story with enough suspense to grab you and hold you from the first page. The characters were so real to me, I couldn't put it down. There is no needless explanations in the beginning or long episodes of backtracking in time. The story stays in the moment and so does the reader. Children and adults will both love this book. I can't wait for the sequel.
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After the first nail-biting chapter, I knew this was not going to be one of those books I would have to feign praise for. The writing is beautiful, original and I instantly related to the main character--Adrianne.

When Adrianne's father is killed in a riding accident, her mother spends months listless on her bed, leaving Adrianne to care for the household. At 12 years old, she was forced into early adulthood when the money ran out and she and her mother and sister became destitute. Once pretty, a
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

When Adrienne's little sister, Cecily, goes missing, she goes down by the beach and finds her sister unconscious on a rock. While there, she sees a legendary mermaid, who has been known to pull humans into the sea. When the mermaid attempts to grab them, Adrienne and Cecily barely escape.

Adrienne, however, is scratched and is unconscious for three days. When she awakes, the townsfolk avoid her and distrust her and she begins having dreams where the mermaid
Danette Carter
Nov 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, it is a must read. Grabs your attention on the first page and you can't put it down.Sheila knows what a great book is all about and knows how to write them. She knows what the young readers like and so she put her soul and heart out there to grab there attention in a way a lot of writers don't know how to do. You will love this book and can't wait for more of hers to come out. I would recommend this book for all ages. Great job Sheila! Love ya tons!
Alex Bennett
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wishlist
This is one of the books I heard about once, thought it sounded good, and was a little too excited to read it when I got it. I have always loved mermaids and this book quenched my thirst I had been having for a little mermaid magic.

First of all, I want to talk about the setting. It was so amazing. A breathtaking island set in… I could never figure out that part. It lets your imagination go wild on which time period it could have taking time in. I’m thinking 1700’s, but could be totally off. The
Ellz Readz
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
My thoughts...One of the biggest things I look for when reading a book is a strong heroine. Adrianne, the young girl from The Forbidden Sea is just that. She is very strong willed, smart, determined, and very devoted to her family. I instantly felt sympathetic for this girl who lost her father in a tragic accident. She finds herself living in poverty with her mother, sister, and an aunt that treats her very disdainfully. She has an inner strength that helps her deal with some very difficult peop ...more
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
I really enjoyed reading this book. One of the biggest reasons I liked this book is even though the girl is more of a tomboy, there is a very good reason behind it instead of just the author wanting to write a period piece but not wanting to write true characters from that period.
Oct 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
So for once I'm actually hoping this turns into a series.
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fantasy
Since her father died in an accident two years ago, fourteen-year-old Adrianne Keynnman and her family have struggled to survive. They once lived a comfortable life on Windwaithe Island, but now they live in a small cottage and Adrianne must work hard to help provide for her mother, cruel aunt, and beloved younger sister, Cecily. One night during a storm, Cecily runs away from home, and when rescuing her, Adrianne encounters a mermaid who tries to drag them down into the sea. Adrianne is able to ...more
Adrianne is a strong female character - one that has dealt with the weight of loss in more than one way. She holds herself responsible for her father's death and her family's financial ruin - yet she lives up to taking care of her family and being looked down upon by those her age. The aunt that resides with them also gives Adrianne grief on a regular basis -but she takes it all in and keeps doing as she feels she must. And for that reason, I just loved her character. I love my flawed and stubbo ...more
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, 2010
Adrianne is young, at only fourteen but she’s hardworking, determined and does what she can to help provide for her family. Adrianne used to have a comfortable life on the island but after her father’s sudden death, her family came upon hard times—both of which she feels responsible for.

The story takes place on Windwaithe Island which has a small close nit community and seems like an idyllic place to live. One of the first things I noticed was that the author never specifically states which par
This book has many things that make it quite special. The character development throughout it, is exquisite! I knew exactly what Adrianne, the main character felt like and I knew what was going on the whole time. It did take me a bit to figure out that it is set in either the early 1800's, the late 1800's or in the early 1900's. It takes place at Windwaithe, a small fishing town, where the people are more than superstitious. With tales of mermaids and mermen awaiting for prey in the vast ocean, ...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)
Call me crazy, but maybe I was completely off base in thinking that a book titled "Forbidden Sea" would actually be about the sea.

Unfortunately, there were only a few actual pages in this whole entire story that involved either the sea or mermaids, which was the biggest reason for me picking up the book to begin with.

I really wanted a book to get away from the mass amounts of paranormals that I had been reading lately involving vamps, shifters, magic users, etc. So the notion struck me, "let's f
Oct 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
this author is my nieces' librarian, and when I was in Provo, she was the guest speaker at my sister's book group (clearly my sister has a higher standard for book group than I do). It was so interesting to hear her talking about the book and the stories that didn't make it into the book, and getting it published. She also had her own illustrations that didn't make it into the book, but they were so great and really added a lot to the story, I was glad I got to see those especially. It's a young ...more
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. The location was beautiful, and I liked the characters (except for Auntie Minnah and Marcus, but everyone dislikes them). The story was nice. I thought her choice in the end was right, and the ending was great. The story was sort of depressing and frustrating at points, but other than that, I thought it was amazing. 5 stars.

Content: PG - Violence. Occasional elements which are pretty scary.
Kayla Crouch
Oct 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Wow, this book is beautiful! I'll admit, I was a little unsure of the writing style at first, but soon grew to love it. It's simple, yet elegant; understated, yet magical. The scenes with Denn were great, but the minute the mermaids were introduced, that was all I could think about. My only wish is that Jendayi was featured for more of the book. I'll probably buy the sequel soon.
Kristi Kunselman
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to my 5th graders two years ago. They loved it and I enjoyed it as well! Great twist to a mermaid story. We e-mailed the author to ask her for a sequel. She e-mailed us back, which the kids thought was amazing! I would definitely read anything else this author puts out there.
Not my favorite genre but I couldn't put this one down. I'm really impressed with this author. Middle grades and young adults who love fantasy (mixed with real life) will love this book. 4.5
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book very much.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson is a more of a coming of age story than anything else, don’t let the mermaid on the cover fool you. I read it for the Mermaid Summer Reading Challenge, but quickly found myself wondering when the mermaid was going to show up again. I enjoyed the medieval setting as a break from all the modern day mermaid stories that I’ve been reading, but wished that more time had been spent on the cool other culture and less on the daily goings-on of the townspeople.
Note: I b
Mark Dewey
Oct 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Men are fools. They see only with their eyes, and are blinded to the truest treasures that stand before them dressed in the ordinary dust and sweat of hard life... The men and women of this island should beware, for they are pitiful creatures indeed when true greatness can be hidden from them by mere dirt and rags."

"The whale let out a haunting cry that reverberated through my whole being. The song was so beautiful, I ached inside with its infinite sadness. Mourning for dreams which had never c
Natasha Bentley
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of those books you start reading and you cant put down. Its about this girl named Adrianne. She was part of a family that was once rich. Then her father died and everything changed. She became so poor that her aunt had to come move in with the famy and help with money issues. Just one problem, her aunt hates her. So she becomes sad and depressed everyday. Her hair is cut short so none of the boys found her attractive. A group of boys actually throws her in the ocean everyday whe ...more
Whimsical Fox Story Teller
My Review:
This book introduces a fourteen year old girl named Adrianne. The book begins one stormy night, with Adrianne searching along the coast for her younger sister Cecily, who has gone missing. She finds Cecily unconscious on a rock and is terrified when she encounters a mermaid who tries to drag them both down into the sea. It might be the legendary mermaid that she’s heard stories about all her life. Adrianne is able to rescue her sister, but continues to be haunted by the events of that
Lydia Presley
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Original review posted
Becky Keir Grace
I picked this book up figuring it would be a stereotypical teen fantasy. It turned out for be a wonderfully told story about a young teenager holding her family together. Yes, there was the fantasy portion with the mermaids, but I simply loved this authors writing style.

Adrianne is 14 years old, the daughter of the village seamstress, helping to support her family after her father's death. Her father worked in the stables and often took Adrianne to help with the horses. After his death, the fam
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In addition to writing books, Sheila A. Nielson has also worked as a children's librarian for over eighteen years. She also has a BFA in children's illustration. She is also a miniature artist who collects and creates dollhouses. She also likes to use this skill to create jewelry with lockets that have miniature scenes inside them.
More about Sheila A. Nielson...

Other Books in the Series

Forbidden Sea (2 books)
  • Shadow in the Sea (Forbidden Sea, #2)

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