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Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson
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Jul 12, 2010

it was amazing

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, admired and spoiled, 14-year old Adrianne now barely survives on two meals a day while working farm chores that make her constantly smell and sweat. Her mother takes in mending from the town while her 9-year old sister does nothing. Their Auntie Minna (her father's sister) lives with them, constantly harping on Adrianne for the loss of her father and their money.

Adrianne's one true friend, Denn, whom she has loved since childhood, pines away after the spoiled, vacuous Cora Lynn. Adrianne herself is tortured by the local bullies for her short hair (she sold her long, beautiful hair to a wig salesman to bring in money for her family) and dirty appearance.

While saving her sister Cecily from drowning, a mermaid marks Adrianne and attempts to pull her into the sea. When the attempt fails, the mermaid continues to call to Adrianne in dreams, in her mind and through her mark.

At this point, the book reminded me very much of Harry Potter. At some points in the series by JK Rowling, I wondered how it could get any worse for Harry. Adrianne's dismal plight seemed similar.

Beautiful and imaginative, I wished I could have read more about the world of the mermaids. I'm madly jealous Sheila! Amazing job!
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