Fangirls Unleashed: YA Books Featuring Mermaids

Welcome to Fangirls Unleashed, where I'll be highlighting the top YA books featuring mermaids!

Summer is in full effect and I'm getting major mermaid vibes. I love laying on the beach with salt in my hair and sand between my toes. This made me grab my kindle and look up all the YA books that we have featuring mermaids. I've also included sirens on this list since they are also in the aquatic humanoid family. Ready to dip your toes into these mermaid reads?

Monstrous Beauty book cover.

Monstrous Beauty

First up is Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama.

This is my favorite book featuring mermaids because it highlights the original dark lore of mermaids. The Little Mermaid, this is definitely not.

Told in two different points of views (POVs) that alternate between present and past, Monstrous Beauty focuses on a doomed love story and the consequences that affects multiple generations after.

Syrenka, a mermaid, falls in love with Ezra, a human.

As she falls deeper in love with him, she makes the decision to leave the ocean for a new life at land. This decision comes at a terrible price that affects her future generations.

Fast forward to one hundred forty years later.

17-year-old Hester meets Ezra, a stranger that she's drawn to for reasons that she can't explain. It's revealed that throughout her family tree, the women in her family have died from love. Is it a genetic disease or a curse?

As Hester explores her family tree with the help of Ezra, she uncovers unsettling revelations from the sea.

Lies Beneath

Lies Beneath By Anne Greenwood Brown takes you on a unique take on mermaids in that the POV is from a merman.

Calder is your average male teen... except he's a merman. He's tied mentally to his 3 sisters, and it's revealed that these mermaids develop a taste for human flesh in order to survive. Through some emotional osmosis, they soak up the bright happy feelings of their human prey before drowning them.

It's also revealed that years ago, Calder's mother spared the life of a man in exchange for his first born son, Jason. Calder and his sisters attempt to revenge their mother's death by getting close to his family in order to kill him. That meant Calder getting close to Lily, Jason's daughter.

Except for one thing: he falls in love with her which is forbidden in their world. What ensues is chaos as his sisters lure him with a mental image of Lily's sister drowning and Jason realizing that mermaids are real. Jason forbids Lily of seeing Calder again, and this fantastic audiobook ends with the narrator reading as a crescendo of music signals the end of the book.

Sea Witch book cover.

Sea Witch

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning has been compared as a book mashup of Wicked and The Little Mermaid. It explores the origin story of the Sea Witch made infamous in various European folklore.

Evie has been an outcast in her village ever since her best friend Anna died. As a result, their village has marked her as a witch.

Then a new stranger enters her village by the name of Annemette. Except Annemette is the splitting image of Ana, which unsettles Evie.

Convinced that it's her long-dead friend, Evie quickly befriends her. From there they catch the eyes of two princes and they live happily ever after.

Or so Evie thought.

Because Annemette is hiding a secret. A secret that reveals that she's not exactly human and it triggers Evie to change the course of their life forever.

Personally I've found the pacing to be slow, but the end is the grand finale for perhaps the sea's most infamous witch.

The Siren book cover.

The Siren

The Siren by Kiera Cass is a fascinating story in that Kahlen becomes a mermaid during a maritime disaster in order to save her life.

From there she spends decades along with her mermaid sisters going to the sites of boats and cruise ships sinking in order to save the lives of young women from their watery death.

The Ocean itself is a character in this book, with a beautiful deep echoing voice in the audiobook.

While most books on mermaids focuses on the love story between mermaid and man, The Siren is seen as a celebration of sisterhood that no man can break.

Temptest book cover.

Tempest Rising

The last book on this list is Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs.

Tempest is your average California girl. Except, plot twist: she's half-mermaid.

When her mother abandons her family to return to the sea, Tempest tries to pick up the pieces in helping her dad care for her little brothers. But she's always known that on her 17th birthday, she has 3 months to make a choice: stay on land as a human, or live in the ocean as a mermaid. She can't have it both.

As she approaches her 17th birthday, she's already feeling her mermaid DNA transforming her. She's constantly freezing when she's not in the water, similar to a cold-blooded animal. Her skin becomes increasingly sensitive to the point where the lightest fabric feels like a searing pain on her skin. And she has formed slits below her ears that strangely feels like gills.

What's a mermaid story without some romance involved? With her on-again, off-again boyfriend Mark concerned about her emotional detachment as her birthday approaches, Tempest life becomes a little bit more complicated. Enter Kona, a newcomer who's entire being is screaming mermaid to her.

With Tempest's birthday approaching, which would she choose: land or sea?

That wraps up the top Mermaid books that I've read. What's your favorite young adult mermaid book that you've read? Comment below, I love adding your recommendations to my TBR (To Be Read) list on Goodreads. Until next time, happy readings bookworms and merfolks!

Fun Fact

Are you a fan of graphic novels? Have you ever wanted to create your own? Well friend, we've got the answer for you! SJPL's Graphic Novel Making Contest is back once again. Amateur graphic novelists from all ages in California are able to enter for a chance to be placed in the Top 3 of each age category. This is one of our biggest programs, with last year resulting in an exciting DC Comics collaboration that ended with our limited edition Batman card. If you were able to get your hands on one of them, you were the Chosen One. Now let's get our creative minds and hands to work. I can't wait to see what exciting work the public has for us. 

Who am I?

Alyssa is a founding member of Fangirls Unleashed. Our mission is to show our patrons what's trending in the young adult world and local conventions and how to explore those interests through the San Jose Public Library. Her work has included presenting on the Graphic Novel Making Contest at the California Library Association Conference, presenting on SJ Engage at the Young Adult Library Services Association Conference, and as both a Guest and Guest Cosplayer at the Santa Clara City Library Comic Con. When she's not blogging you can find her sipping on an iced coffee, reading the latest YA book, or cosplaying at a local convention. Follow her on her Fangirls Unleashed social media channels down below to see her recommended #eCheckItOut and #What'sNewAtTheLibrary for young adult reads.

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