Sunday, April 1, 2018

Review: Bad Mermaids Make Waves by Sibéal Pounder

Bad Mermaids Make Waves
by Sibéal Pounder
illustrated by Jason Cockcroft

Available as: hardcover
Pages: 256
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Publication date: May 1, 2018
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy, mermaids

From NetGalley:
"A trio of smart and stylish mermaids are about to make a splash in this hilarious start to a new middle-grade series that's The Little Mermaid meets My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish.

Mermaids Beattie, Mimi, and Zelda's summer on land with temporary legs is going swimmingly-until they receive a strange message ordering them to return home at once. The beloved queen of the Hidden Lagoon has been fishnapped, and some seriously bad mermaids have taken over instead! Now, the girls are the only ones who can stop them.

If they're going to save the day, they'll need a clam car, some piranha-print nail polish, and possibly a talking seahorse named Steve (well, okay, maybe not the seahorse). Can they become bold and bad enough to turn the tides in their favor, before it's too late?

Filled with magical mysteries, fabulous shell fashions, and three fin-tastic protagonists to root for,
Bad Mermaids Make Waves is a hysterical new middle-grade adventure that will have readers begging for the sea-quel."

Mystery-solving mermaids with multicolor hair! A snarky talking seahorse with a set of false teeth for a bedroom! A giant shark that is actually a floating 5-star(fish) restaurant! A sport called shockey that is kind-of sort-of like underwater Quidditch! What more do you WANT out of life??

Summary: Beattie and her friends, twins Mimi and Zelda, are loving their summer on land... until they receive crabmail with a mysterious message from Arabella Cod, the queen of the mermaid lagoon. She is cutting their on-land adventure short and asking that they return to the lagoon. But why? And why does it look like she didn't get to finish her message? As soon as they turn back into mermaids and head back to the lagoon, they realize that something very strange is going on in their city of Swirlyshell...

What I liked: Ok, hello, MERMAIDS. With colorful hair. And awesome fashions. And tail accessories. Heck YES. I want to be one of them.

And these three little mermaids know how to solve a mystery! The whole process of collecting clues, checking alibis, and piecing things together was great. I think young mystery lovers, especially those who are new to longer chapter books, would really enjoy this one. There's enough time spent on the mystery to be able to add up the clues along with them and figure it out as they do, but it's perfectly balanced with other action and exploring and general silliness so that it never gets boring.

Also, can I please live in this fabulous world that they live in?? I love that there's five different areas and they're all so unique, with different scenery and trends and places to visit, and the mermaids living there have different personalities and interests. Beattie's mom is an awesome explorer-journalist who travels to the far reaches of their world, and I kind of want to be her when I grow up.

And ohmygoodness I want to adopt Steve the talking seahorse. He's just too cute with his little glasses and bow tie in the illustrations, dancing with his favorite cartoon... And when he gets separated from Beattie and he has like a tiny seahorse panic attack and is all "don't leave me Beattie you're my reason for living!!" ... I can't. He's too precious.

What I didn't: The mystery has a bit of a twist, which I liked, but then the big whodunnit that we were following this whole time... just kind of... dies. Like, we know who did it and we get a giant info-dump of why, but then... that's it? (SPOILER - highlight to read: Ommy gets captured in a giant shark and Beattie says, "Take him away!" and then... WHAT?? Where are they taking him? Is there mermaid jail?) And (SPOILER - highlight to read: Mimi and Zelda free their parents and all the other palace mermaids and they're just kind of like, "Hey! You did it! Good job! Moving on..." Wait, what?? Did they KNOW their daughters were capable of saving the entire lagoon AND their own lives?? Were they worried at all that they might be trapped in this sunken ship forever and no one would know where to look for them?? I NEED SOME ANSWERS HERE.) But maybe that's just my grown-up brain working too hard, and the actual intended audience for this book wouldn't mind that at all. *shrug*

TL;DR: A fast-paced and fabulously silly mystery starring smart and stylish mermaid friends. And Steve the talking seahorse. I snort-laughed multiple times and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!

(And p.s., just a note if you're looking into this book on Goodreads: Goodreads seems to be a little confused right now about what book goes with this title... I think the original UK version was just Bad Mermaids and the US version is Bad Mermaids Make Waves... which may also be the title of the UK sequel? I'm not sure. Neither is Goodreads.)

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

{ Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy. My reviews are honest and my opinions are my own; your reading experience may vary, so give it a read and see what you think. :) }

{ Favorite quotes from Bad Mermaids Make Waves }
      "As you know, I put this summer initiative in place so every young mermaid would stop complaining that they wanted legs, swimming around singing songs about it, and just generally being insufferable."

      " 'In their paintings of mermaids, we're all sitting on rocks, combing our hair and smiling, which is nonsense because no one can comb wet hair without doing the AAARGH KNOTS face.' "

      " 'You have a talking sea horse.'
     ' Excuse you,' the sea horse said, shooting over to Zelda's face. 'I thought we were all in agreement that I am a miracle.'"

      " 'GET OUT OF THE WAY!'
     'YELLING MAKES ME FEEL BETTER ABOUT MY LIFE!' came the shouts from the crowd."

{ Follow Sibéal Pounder }

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