Sunday, May 30, 2010

Review: Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Tags: middle grade, YA, mermaids


Lily is a mermaid princess, next in line for the Thalassinian throne, but she’s spending her high school career on land, at a terraped public high school, after she finds out that her mother was human. On the whole, Lily leads a good life, except for two things: her annoying motorbike-riding neighbor Quince, who never passes up an opportunity to irritate Lily, and the fact that the love of her life, the perfect Brody, who has no idea how she feels about him.

So when Quince offers to help Lily win Brody, Lily should’ve known better. Instead, the plan goes horribly awry, leading Lily and Quince on an adventure across land and water to right this romantic mess they’ve gotten themselves into before Quince is bound to Lily forever as her mermate.


FORGIVE MY FINS is a cute and entertaining mythical twist on the typical high school romantic comedy. While the plot is predictable, bumbling Lily’s voice is easy to slip into, and the nautical surprises will delight even the most jaded reader.

Lily is a fun protagonist, a little ditzy and immature at times, but nevertheless endearing. Tera Lynn Childs’ writing reminds me of Meg Cabot’s, with that effortlessly angsty yet relatable heroine. Secondary characters often run the risk of being “filler” characters, existing only for the sake of relaying information to the reader, or as someone for Lily to bounce her self-absorption off of, but Lily and Quince’s fiery relationship is still quite entertaining. Quince’s wide range of actions could’ve perhaps made more sense with his character, but for the most part readers will chuckle as they follow these two main characters’ antics and discoveries about one another.

The basic plotline is one that we’ve seen many times before, but the mermaid twist allays the plot’s tiredness and puts new energy into this old story. FORGIVE MY FINS gives us an almost Disney-esque mermaid kingdom feel, with fascinating sights, customs, and details (the culinary ones in particular made me smile). So while Lily goes through the sort of romantic drama that countless similar heroines have gone through before in previous YA books, the constant switching between land and underwater scenes is undeniably fascinating. It is almost worth reading this book just to see the extent of Tera Lynn Childs’ world-building, which, while elementary in its presentation, with many “As you see, Reader…” statements, is simply colorful and bubbly fun.

Overall, FORGIVE MY FINS is a predictable tale, but it still ends up being a success. Younger readers will find Lily and Quince’s interactions adorable (this book would’ve easily been one of my favorites had it existed back when I was in middle school), while readers with more experience will get a kick out of a foray into this as-yet-uncovered treasure trove of a new, magical world.

Similar Authors
Meg Cabot
Kimberly Pauley (Sucks to Be Me)

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 4/5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 2 out of 5 - Well, there's no real precedence for mermaid covers yet, I suppose. The sparkles and the font are cute, but I am rather disturbed by the lip color.

Katherine Tegen Books / June 1, 2010 / Hardcover / 304pp. / $16.99

ARC received as part of Traveling ARC Tours.


  1. Great review..I'm still debating whether this is a must read for me.

    Totally agree on the lip color

  2. Top review.

    I think it's nice to have a middle grade style book like this - I know my niece will love it - probably I will too :)

    And, yeah, the lip colour distracts me every time I look at the cover.

  3. I really enjoyed Oh. My. Gods. so I've been interested in Forgive My Fins. It sounds like a good summer book. Nice review!

  4. very interested in what these nautical surprises could be!

  5. Wow, the lips do look rather odd, don't they? Great review, all the same. :) I really want to see the world-building now. Mermaid books and world building...not too common in YA yet.

  6. Im super jealous you got to read it early!

  7. I was thinking about buying this for my sister but now I'm not so sure. I thought it would be more YA than MG and I think she will find it a little too predictable. Thanks for an honest review. It does sound like a fun book but just not right for her.

  8. The cover looks really gorgeous so I expected this book to be great too. Thanks for the review, Steph.

  9. I don't like that it is predictable but I am still fascinated by the mermaid aspect. That is new to me, so I might still pick up this book. Thanks for the review!

  10. Really enjoyed the honest revie Steph! I admit I don't like her lip color either but I enjoy the overall color scheme of the cover =)


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