Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I bought Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings for my eleven year old step-daughter. She loves to read, and she absolutely loved this book. She was begging for the rest of the books before she was even finished. I read the book after she finished, because I’ve seen it reviewed around the blogosphere, and I wanted to see what it was all about.
When we first meet the main character, Jade, she is having a really rough day. She is at the mall with her best friend and father, when horror of all horrors, she finally gets her period. Not only does she get her first period, but she is trying on bathing suits, and bleeds on the perfect bathing suit. Jade is mortified, and I was mortified for her. She buys the bathing suit, stressing the entire time that the sales clerk will see the blood. Then she goes to the drug store to buy feminine hygiene products and runs into her dad. Her mom drowned, so her dad is all she has. It’s mortifying enough that she her dad has to help her in this situation, but then she runs into the cute guy from school that no one has seen for a while right as her dad is yelling out something embarrassing about pads.
Jade’s day doesn't get any better after that. She goes home and she takes a nice hot bath to relax and unwind from the horrors of the day and suddenly she has a fin. Jade freaks out. She’s screaming at the top of her lungs, and her dad has to break down the door to get to her. I cringed for Jade…first the period stuff, then her dad has to carry her naked out of the bathtub because obviously she can’t get out herself. Jade learns that she is a mermaid and that her mom was too. Jade doesn't handle the news very well. I read a lot of young adult paranormal type books, and often times the character is immediately accepting of their new paranormal status, or even think how cool it is. Not Jade, she is scared, pissed, horrified and resistant. I find this to be a more realistic reaction in a normal teenager.
One day, Jade is down by the water and thinks that she sees her mom. She foolishly runs into the water and of course sprouts a tail again. She finds out that the water surrounding her home is not what it seems and that her mom is being held against her will by some nasty mermaids. Jade formulates a plan to try to save her mom. I’ll leave it to you to find out whether she succeeds by reading the book.
I enjoyed Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings. It was a fun, and short read for me. Jade is a typical younger teen faced not only with normal teen issues like having your first period, crushing on boys, and issues with her best friend, but she also has some paranormal issues like sprouting a tail. I found Jades normal issues to be realistic and relatable. I still remember how embarrassing my first period was, and looking at the way my stepdaughter reacts when the topic of periods or boys comes up, I’d say the authors depiction is dead on.
Jade has best friend issues because she is keeping a secret from her best friend and there is also some insecurity and jealousy of a new girl in their group. I found these to be believable as well. At that age best friends are of the mentality that there should be no secrets. Jade also has a negative self-image. She isn't a size 6 like the rest of her friends and is very insecure about this. I think this is the age where girls really start to notice this kind of thing and feel bad about it. I hope that in the next few books Jade can realize that she can be bigger than her friends and still beautiful.
Overall, I think this book was well written. The characters are all well developed. The issues in this book (other than sprouting a fish tail) are all issues that tweens and early teens are experiencing. I think this book is very positive and I will definitely be getting the next two books for my stepdaughter.
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