Review War: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

9 March, 2012 Review Wars 10 comments

The Players

Stephanie Sinclair and Kat Kennedy

The Book

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown


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, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother’s death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family’s homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock’s daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there’s more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.



The Fight

Kat Kennedy: Lies Beneath, Greenwood Brown’s debut mermaid novel has us in a bit of a disagreement.

Stephanie Sinclair: I know, it’s strange. We usually always agree. And when we don’t I seem to be the antagonist.

Kat Kennedy: We’ll, what’s your problem this time?

Stephanie Sinclair: “This time,” she says!  Well, let’s see, it was the same story I’ve read before.

Kat Kennedy: Explain.

Stephanie Sinclair: It wasn’t a terrible book, it just didn’t offer me anything new.

Boy meets girl. Boy stalks girl. Girl says, “Go away!” stalk, stalk, stalk They fall in love.

Kat Kennedy: How many of the girls in these YA novels actually tells Mr. Stalky to go away?

Stephanie Sinclair: Does Hush, Hush count?

Kat Kennedy: She stalked him back!

Stephanie Sinclair: Hahaha! Oh, yeah. LOL.

Kat Kennedy: Her go away was cursory to return stalking!

Stephanie Sinclair: They were playing tag. 

Well, it’s true that Lily does avoid Calder for a while, but she doesn’t exactly deny him.

Kat Kennedy: “Hey, I’m not going to hang out with you because you’re creepy.”

She only gives him a chance later because they work together and he backs off a little.

By the way – stalking is a perfectly legitimate past-time for a man-eating merman.

Stephanie Sinclair Right…

Kat Kennedy: He eats people!  And he wants to murder her father!  Stalking is the least of his problems.

Stephanie Sinclair: >insert your favorite paranormal creature here!<

Kat Kennedy: He is a stalker – a very bad person! Point of difference though?

Anne Greenwood Brown legitimizes Lily’s feelings about it and uses them to add to the creepyness.

He’s supposed to be unlikable, unromantic and squishy and he’s written that way thus Lily’s repulsion to him.

Stephanie Sinclair: She does do that, but what of the insta-love?  Explain that away!

Kat Kennedy: What is instant about it? He has a spark with her in the beginning – yes, but it takes time before he actually grows to love her.

Stephanie Sinclair: Calder sees Lily and the next conversation with his sister is about him falling in love.

Kat Kennedy: That doesn’t mean he’s in love! You’re confusing a spark and mutual attraction with instalove – not the same thing.

Stephanie Sinclair: A spark does not need a conversation about falling in love, Kennedy.  But, I think I probably could have enjoyed the romance more if the book was a bit longer.

To me, their relationship felt rushed.

Kat Kennedy: This I don’t contest.  I don’t make excuses for YA novels being a lesser quality than adult novels, but this is a Middle grade novel so the length feels appropriate in that regard.

Stephanie Sinclair: TIMEOUT     <—— Stephanie totally thinks I’m not posting this part of the conversation.

What is this middle grade novel?

I saw you mention it in your review.

Kat Kennedy: This is MG, not YA. Ages 9-14.

Stephanie Sinclair: Wait… really????

Kat Kennedy: Yep!

Stephanie Sinclair: It’s not YA?

Kat Kennedy: Nope.

Stephanie Sinclair: WOW!

Kat Kennedy: Lol.

Stephanie Sinclair:Reading is definitely fundamental.  I did not know that.

Kat Kennedy: Suddenly I’m looking like the responsible one…

Stephanie Sinclair: *Throws head back* Lulz. Okay…hmmm…TIME IN!    <——– This is where Stephanie thinks we’re picking the conversation back up.

Kat Kennedy: Shoot.

Stephanie Sinclair: How did you feel about him telling her she looked delicious?

Kat Kennedy: Well – it wasn’t in a literal eating sense and referred to her having a beautiful soul.

Stephanie Sinclair: (Something tells me you may be into that sort of thing. >_>)

Kat Kennedy: Shut up! With Twilight it was about physical eating and it was her blood that smells good.

Stephanie Sinclair: Kat, I have something to tell you. 

Kat Kennedy: That I’m right?

Stephanie Sinclair: Today, you look like a hot fudge sundae. Scrumptious.

Kat Kennedy: I always knew you were into me.

Stephanie Sinclair: I stalk pretty good too. Well, Calder did eat human emotions. I thought that was pretty cool to mix that in with mermaid lore.

Kat Kennedy: I did too.  But I thought the metaphor of Lily being able to “feed” him her good emotions was sweet!  And then really creepy…

Stephanie Sinclair: Whenever “love” and “feed” are in the same sentence, “creepy” does pop into my mind.

Kat Kennedy: I love you and then feed you hot fudge sundaes.

Stephanie Sinclair: As long as you are feeding me sweets!

Kat Kennedy: I liked the dark tone of the novel.

There were definitely some pretty unsettling moments.

Stephanie Sinclair: It was rather dark at times. It surprised me. How did you feel about Calder?

Kat Kennedy: He was okay. It was Lily and her pragmatism I loved.

Stephanie Sinclair: I didn’t care for Calder too much, but I did think his voice sounded male.

Lily didn’t seem fully developed.

Kat Kennedy: What?!




Please explain.

Stephanie Sinclair: Simmer down, Kennedy. You make it sound like I murdered your gold fish.

Kat Kennedy: No. Murdering my goldfish would look like this:

WHAAAAAAAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!????!!?  WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTT???!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!?

Stephanie Sinclair: All I knew about Lily was that she like poetry, she was close to her dad, and and and… I think that’s about it.

Kat Kennedy: Then you lose points for not paying attention.

Lily doesn’t like poetry. Lily loves poetry and she is a poet.

She is close to her dad, but worried that her family is going to fall apart.

And that she might be going crazy like her dad did.

And so she has to try and keep the family together for the sake of her mother and sister.

And I could go on, really!


Doesn’t that win you points just as it is?

Stephanie Sinclair: Interrogangbangs are driving me crazy. Lol.

Kat Kennedy: I have a voracious shift-key pinky.

Stephanie Sinclair: Never a dull moment with you!

Okay, so Lily just didn’t do much for me!

Kat Kennedy: Don’t make me say it…

Stephanie Sinclair: Remember me: Soulless Wonder!

Kat Kennedy: You said it! You are the Empty One. Where love and beauty resides, you shalt shun.

Don't mind Stephanie, she's going through an evil phase.

Stephanie Sinclair: Muahahahahah! I’ll get you, my pretty! And your little mermaid too!

Kat Kennedy: What did you think about the writing?

Stephanie Sinclair: The writing was okay. It wasn’t a difficult read. Once the relationship got going, I did like the dialogue between Calder and Lily.  And I felt the pacing went well with the length of the novel. A nice amount of anticipation too.

Kat Kennedy: Oh, so there’s insta love – which you hate, then the relationship takes a long time to get going – which you hate.

Make up your mind!

Stephanie Sinclair: Hahahaha! You know what I meant!

Okay, let me be more specific!

Kat Kennedy: Oh we’re getting MORE specific now?

Cause, everyone knows, we just can’t get specific enough!

Stephanie Sinclair: I liked the scene where they were in the cave. I thought that was well done.

Kat Kennedy: I did like that scene.  But I did think the writing could have been a little more emotive.

Stephanie Sinclair: WHAT???!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Kat Kennedy: Another interrogangbang?  How predictable.

Stephanie Sinclair: I just wanted to see I could do it as well as you. Alas, my soul will not allow it!

Kat Kennedy: No. It’s lacking the impugned rage.

Stephanie Sinclair: But, I agree, I would have liked more emotion. Particularly during the scene where they are lying in the hammock. I wanted to feel more.

Kat Kennedy: I would have liked Calder to get to second base, but this IS MG so I’ll have to chalk that one up to not being possible.

Stephanie Sinclair: I definitely felt the darkness, though.

Kat Kennedy: Yeah like Australians need one more reason not to go in the water.

Stephanie Sinclair: TIME OUT <—- Once again, Stephanie totally thinks I’m actually going to edit this or something.  Hilarious!

Seriously, where does it say MG? LOL.

Kat Kennedy: This is so weird. I thought I read somewhere that it was MG.

Stephanie Sinclair: I thought the characters were too old…

Weren’t they 17-18?

Kat Kennedy: It’s not the age of the characters that counts.

Sabriel is MG and she’s older than Lily.

Anyway, it may indeed be YA. <——- The point at which I realize I was wrong and this is not a MG novel.  For shame!

I’ll ask Greenwood Brown in our interview.

Ages 12 and up this book is.

Yoda, I have become.

I tried looking up 'Yoda Rule 63" NEVER DO THAT!!!!

Stephanie Sinclair: Welcome you, the dark side does.

Kat Kennedy: Did you know Vader never actually says, “Luke, I am your father”?

Stephanie Sinclair: What?

Kat Kennedy: Never says it. It’s a myth. True story.

Stephanie Sinclair: It’s in the movie…

Kat Kennedy: No it’s not.  You only think it’s in the movie.

Stephanie Sinclair: Really?

Kat Kennedy: Because George Lucas Jedi mind tricked you.

Stephanie Sinclair: It’s been a while since I’ve seen episodes 4-6. Now, my husband has you to thank for a marathon this weekend.

Kat Kennedy: It’s true. And they never refer to Ewoks as such.

This is the perfect time to do Vader’s “NOOOOOOoooooooOoooooooo!” from episode 3 by the way.

Stephanie Sinclair: HA! That’s what was going on in my head.

Kat Kennedy: Time in?

Stephanie Sinclair: Yes. TIME IN!  <——– Pfft, as if!

Kat Kennedy: Over all, I liked this novel.

Stephanie Sinclair: Overall, I thought it was okay. Not great, but not bad either.

Kat Kennedy: I think you’re wrong.  About everything.

Stephanie Sinclair: This chocolate sundae says I’m right.

Kat Kennedy: The fact that you think, “Luke, I am your father!” is a legitimate movie quote is the basis for my entire argument that you’re not.

You just don’t pay attention to the details!

Stephanie Sinclair: NOOOooooooooo!


Kat Kennedy:

Stephanie’s Review

Kat’s Review


What did you think?  Who’s right and who’s wrong?

Want to participate in a review war?  Pick a book, pick Stephanie or Kat and contact us!


Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

10 Responses to “Review War: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown”

  1. Andie Z

    Hahaha, you guys are tres entertaining. I have this in my review queue; now I’m curious to see who I agree with more.

    Can’t wait for the next war!
    Andie Z recently posted…Friday Memes #11My Profile

  2. Anne Greenwood Brown

    I don’t comment on reviews (usually) because I don’t think it’s appropriate for writers to get involved (too stalkerish, and I hate stalking…oh, wait…)

    Anyway, I couldn’t resist. You guys are hysterical! Well done.

    Much love,

    (And, for the record, LIES BENEATH is YA! Not for elementary school kids!)
    Anne Greenwood Brown recently posted…Some UpdatesMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      Thanks Anne! Yes, I don’t know why I thought that! I think it’s because I requested a bunch of titles from Netgalley at the time I requested Lies Beneath and I just got confused – which, frankly, happens a lot to me.

      But notice how authoritative I am in my confusion!

      Anyway, thanks for the compliment and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Lexie B.

    You guys are so hilarious when you’re ragging on each other. It’s a pity you have such similar tastes; these things are ridiculously entertaining. I’m also really curious on the MG/YA debate–I’ve seen some reviewers refer to it as MG, some YA, and some who have no idea. Lexie confused.
    Lexie B. recently posted…My Favorite Girls in YAMy Profile

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