{Review/Giveaway} REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOE RINGS by Hélène Boudreau

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on the Real Mermaids Blog Tour for more reviews, interviews,
and chances to win!

Today, I am also interviewing Hélène Boudreau.  

Tomorrow and Saturday, I'll be reviewing the next two books in the series, so stay tuned for more!

In December, Jade stopped by to share her recipe for Peanut Butter Cup S'mores for the holidays.
Mmm, Mmm, yummy!

The final book in the series will release later this year!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

I BOLTED UPRIGHT IN THE bathtub and hacked a mouthful of water.  A wave sloshed onto the tile floor.

"Jade?" Dad's knock sounded from the other side of the bathroom door.  "You okay, honey?" 

"Yea...yeah," I managed to say between coughs, embarrassed that I'd fallen asleep in the tub, freaked out that I must have slipped underwater.  I took a long, shaky breath.  "I'm fine, Dad.  Thanks." 

A shiver ran along my damp arm as I pulled a strand of hair from my mouth.  What would have happened if I hadn't woken up?  My thoughts turned instantly to Mom. 

No.  I couldn't go there...
(page 1, US paperback edition)

If you're looking for something funny and sweet, the Real Mermaids series by Hélène Boudreau really hits the mark.  Boudreau's voice is strong and witty, and I found myself laughing as I read REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOE RINGS, the first book in the series.  While technically a middle-grade 9-12 novel, the series is better suited for tweens and could also sit in the YA section.  Main character Jade is thirteen, almost fourteen, and going through puberty, which is a scenario most younger girls can't relate to.  While Jade is about the same age as Liz Kessler's lovable Emily Windsnap, her storyline is a little more mature.  At the same time, this is the perfect series for mothers to share with daughters or inquisitive tweens to discover on their own in the same manner that Judy Blume's coming-of-age staple ARE YOU THERE, GOD?  IT'S ME, MARGARET is passed down.

Jade is an instantly likable, relatable character, and it's easy to fall into her story.   She isn't perfect and is a little overweight, so it can be hard for her to find a nice swimsuit.  If only such things were her biggest problems in life! The day she gets her period for the first time, she also discovers that she can new transform into a mermaid.  She finds out that her mother was a mermaid, a secret that's been kept from her all these years.  Change is normal, but most girls just have to deal with puberty--NOT puberty and a huge, splashy secret.  It doesn't help that Jade's mother is deceased.  She can't ask her for advice on the best tampons to buy or the tricks to sporting a shiny new tail.  One of the funniest scenes occurs when Jade's father attempts to help her buy feminine supplies for the first time.  He completely fills a shopping cart with everything she might need and comes barreling down the aisle--right as Jade is talking to a cute boy from school.  Talk about awkward!  I cringed right alongside Jade and was embarrassed for her, though also rolling around laughing.  Jade's father is adorable, too, and I love his presence in the novels.  It's so nice to see a strong father/daughter relationship, especially one where the father helps his daughter with the trials of growing up.

The book follows Jade as she learns more about her family and her past, as well as discovers a secret that changes everything.  She has to juggle all the trials of growing up we all go through, from first crushes to keeping secrets from a best friend to learning how to deal with her new body.  REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOE RINGS is a strong debut that will be fun to share with tweens approaching that awkward time of life.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I love the scripty font used for the Real Mermaids part of the title.  The way the "M" curls makes me stare, then stare some more.  LOVE.  I like the uniform way this font is used on all four book covers.  It's part of the title, yet also signifies that this is the series title, and not just the book title.  This is also the font used for each chapter heading inside the pages.  Home run font!
The grunginess of the rest of the title is unique and adds a contemporary twist to the title, hinting that this book isn't just fantasy.  It's both whimsical and real, and the merging of two different font styles works in this case.

The fact that there's a mermaid tail on the cover immediately makes me want to know more, especially with that blurb.  After reading the book, I realized that the cover actually portrays a pivotal moment from the first chapter of the book when Jade is sitting in her bathtub and realizes that she's a mermaid for the very first time.  I never even noticed the shower drain on the cover until after finishing this book!

This cover is sweet and fun, just like the book itself! 
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Hélène Boudreau
Release Date: Out Dec. 10, 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Received: For Review

First zit. First crush. First…mermaid’s tail? 

If she hadn’t been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail? 

Most. Embarassing. Moment. Ever. 

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But this revelation raises a serious question: if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown? 

Jade is determined to find out. But how does a plus-sized, aqua-phobic, mer-girl go about doing that, exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend Cori, and her crush, Luke? This summer is about to get a lot more interesting…

Ready to check out the Real Mermaids series?

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky is generously giving away a package of the first three books.

Enter now!

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  1. You asked us to comment on why the series intrigues us... I LOVE the Emily Windsnap series by Liz Kessler. But the girl in those books is only 12 years old and so she's a bit immature at times. This series sounds interesting because I think it's geared towards girls a little older (like myself) and I love any mermaid stories!

    1. I agree! Jade is more mature than Emily, which is actually something I mentioned in today's review. I think you'll like this one because of all these things:)

  2. I really enjoyed reading this book, too. It was so fun an relateable at the same time. I haven't picked up the other books in the series yet, but I suppose I should get to it.

    1. Yes, relatable, precisely! Jade was so easy to relate to, which made the books fun, I think.

  3. I love mermaid books, that's why I love this series! Jade is an awesome/cute character to! :)
    -Cali W.
    GFC name: Cali Willette


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