Saturday, September 28, 2013

Forgive My Fins

     The other day I was invited to see a movie. My companion thought it strange that I wanted to see "Prisoners", but not that day.  I was just not into that much intensity at that moment in time.  Do the rest of you feel that way too? Or is a movie, a TV show, or a book the same as any other movie, TV show, or book? My mood often dictates what I am going to watch or read on any given day. Does yours? And most of the time it is the heavy stuff, the stuff with lots of violence or sex or both that get put by the wayside.  I fear I am always ready for a good laugh and usually ready for a sweet little story.
     Tera Lynn Childs' book, Forgive My Fins, is just such a story.  Gentle and sweet but with all the angst of high school romance. Completely chaste, this is a great read for the younger people on your gift list.

Forgive My Fins
By Tera Lynn Childs
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Length 308 pages Source ISBN: 0061914657

From Barnes and NobleUnrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but for Lily Sanderson, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.
Lily has a secret, and it’s not her huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid—she’s a Thalassinian princess. When she discovered three years ago that her mother was actually a human, Lily finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been going to Seaview High ever since. Living on land has its problems—like her obnoxious biker-boy neighbor, Quince Fletcher—but it has that one major perk: Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type—when they bond, it’s for life.
About the Book:
Lily is a mermaid but her mother was human. Once she discovered she was half human, she decided to live as a human for a few years, living with her Aunt Rachel.That brought her to Seaview High for the last three years of high school, where she meets Quince, the tormentor from next door, her best friend Shannen, and the boy she 'loves', Brody. All of Lily's focus is on getting Brody to notice her, to fall for her because Lily is on a deadline.  She must find her mate before her 18th birthday or lose the right to the throne - yes, she's a princess and time is quickly running out.  She has her heart set on Brody, a gorgeous boy with amazing swimming talents. Though Quince obviously has a crush on Lily, he volunteers to help her snag Brody at the high school dance. And that is when the whole thing goes terribly wrong.  Now Lily has to make a choice.  How will she ever be able to clear up everything and end up with the boy she loves?
My Take:
I loved the Bobbsey Twins when I was younger. These tales were about everyday life where nothing truly awful happened; no Freddy Kruger, no death of a family member, no real anger or tension.  They were great books for young people.  Forgive My Fins is quite like this. The tension in the book is tame with no one in danger of actually dying. There is, however, the hurdle, the conflict that must be resolved but is more a variety of fairytales: She must tell me she loves me, though I am a beast, to break the spell; I must get the princess to kiss me though I am a frog; I cannot talk until I've made seven shirts out of nettles or my brothers are lost. 
  I found the book well written and certainly chaste enough for early readers of long chapter books. The odd phrases with sea references that Lily uses were a nice touch though one or two, like  fraidy fish, seemed forced. Childs did an excellent job of describing Lily's kingdom and home with several nice touches:

    Beyond the gate are the royal gardens, a vast seascape of rainbow-colored algae, kelps, corals, sponges, sea fans, and anemones.  My tower room overlooks the gardens, and I used to love watching how they changed throughout the seasons. It's spring right now, so there are bright highlights of pink and yellow among the constant blues, greens, and browns. You can't help but feel the energy of spring with a field of magenta anemone petals below your window.
This is a nice description without overwhelming the young reader with long sentences or words they don't understand - yet draws the picture well.
   As to the characters, I was mostly drawn to Quince and Childs does a good job of fleshing him out. Lily can be quite an unsympathetic character because her character flaw is so big but we have all been there and done that to some extent - pursued something relentlessly while ignoring the best thing for us.  (Reminds me of the words to an old song - I overlook an orchid while searching for a rose.) Still, I believe most young readers will identify handily with Lily and love her.

My Recommendation:
I liked this chaste book with a high school theme as viewed from a younger perspective. Forgive My Fins is a fairytale adventure which I believe readers ages 8 to 13 will enjoy.  Older readers who enjoy fairytale themes and situations will also enjoy this clearly written book.

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