I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Series: Lies Beneath #1
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on June 12th 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
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Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans and absorb their positive energy. Usually, they select their victims at random, but this time around, the underwater clan chooses its target for a reason: revenge. They want to kill Jason Hancock, the man they blame for their mother's death.
It's going to take a concerted effort to lure the aquaphobic Hancock onto the water. Calder's job is to gain Hancock's trust by getting close to his family. Relying on his irresistible good looks and charm, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter Lily. Easy enough, but Calder screws everything up by falling in love--just as Lily starts to suspect there's more to the monster-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined, and just as the mermaids threaten to take matters into their own hands, forcing Calder to choose between them and the girl he loves.
One thing's for sure: whatever Calder decides, the outcome won't be pretty.
If you’re anything like me then you probably spent a great deal of your childhood pool and ocean experiences trying to look like this:
It’s entirely more likely that you looked like a drowned rat because the ocean is a cruel, cruel mistress who only allows us to live so that she can prolong our misery. Just as an aside note, there is a hotel on the top of the Himalayan mountains for those who wish to give a metaphorical “screw you” to mistress ocean. After reading Lies Beneath, that might not seem too radical a notion.
But I get ahead of myself. Calder is a mermaid and along with his mermaid sisters, he meets Lily and wants to date her and get invited home to her family… so they can torture and kill her father.
And then things get dark.
Less lame. More emo. Less leather. More evil. Comparable amounts of eyeliner.
This is not a perfect novel, but what it does do well – it really does well.
For starters, for a middle grade novel, it’s dark. It’s like jaws if the shark were actually scary and could stalk you on land. I’m excluding the concept of landsharks from this review because the terror of such a creature might overwhelm some of my more fragile readers.
The writing is thoughtful, descriptive and very serviceable. My one issue with it was that it didn’t always translate emotion. Sometimes a conversation took place and it was difficult to gage what the characters were thinking or feeling or wanting or hoping. Sometimes a character would say something like, “I’m in the depths of despair!” but it didn’t feel any different to them saying, “I prefer Ben and Jerry’s!”
However, most of the characters I did like and it starts with Lily who is refreshingly pragmatic and not afraid to call a shovel something she’ll use on your fragile skull if you don’t stop stalking me you creepy merman. It always bothered me that Edward Cullen’s (and others like him) behaviour is treated as romantic and swoon-worthy. Lily straight out turns Calder down because he creeps her out. And when she busts him being extra stalkerish, she backs away even more. She doesn’t have an issue saying, “Hey! Thanks for saving my life but you’re a big creeper so I’m going to go shopping with people I know and trust! Laters!”
It’s nice. It’s not the kind of thing you should be in the habit of praising literature for doing, but unfortunately for the current state of YA, we need to.
Calder is a conflicted, interesting character. He’s everything you want in your friendly, neighbourhood psychopath. Handsome, friendly, cocky and able to be redeemed into a non-psychopath.
The whole novel has this dark, murky feel to it. Like every body of water is teeming with death-monsters ready to nibble on your unmentionables. Maybe even like the water itself has it in for you.
Like I said, it’s not perfect. The plot and story could have been a little tighter. However, over all I thought it was an interesting, fun read and I’m curious to see how the rest of the series progresses.
Until then, anyone feel like a swim?
Just let me get my swimsuit. I left it smack in the middle of the Australian Desert. Also, I’m not coming back.