For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 12th. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.

Lena has lived her whole life near the beach — walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves — the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.

But her father — a former surfer himself — refuses to allow her to take lessons. After his near drowning years ago, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something keeps drawing Lena to the water . . . an ancient, powerful magic. And one morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman — with a silvery tail.

Now nothing can stop Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon . . . what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life forever.

From Goodreads

Reading THE MERMAID’S MIRROR was a hard experience for me. I bought the book when it came out last year and put off reading it because I like to savor my mermaid novels at my leisure. This past January, author L.K. Madigan announced that she had stage IV pancreatic cancer. On February 23, 2011, she departed from our world and made her way into another. Now I had a new reason to put off reading this book. Once it was done, there would be nothing new to read. This was Madigan’s second novel. Her first, FLASH BURNOUT, won the 2010 William C. Morris Debut Award. She had a stunning career ahead of her. THE MERMAID’S MIRROR itself is, at times, a sad book. Madigan had an uncanny way of twisting a reader’s emotions around and leaving shades of gray in her wake. There is no black and white. Turning the last page and reading the author’s note and acknowledgements made me sad all over. Even the book’s cover is stormy and sad, the sea rough and turbulent. The very book mourns its maker. Suddenly, symbolism is prevalent in ways no one could have foreseen.

Mixing between contemporary and fantasy, THE MERMAID’S MIRROR is a unique blend of two worlds that don’t normally collide. The first half of the book focuses on Lena, a girl whose mother passed away when she was four years old. Her father remarried when she was about nine, and she has a young half-brother named Cole. She’s relatively happy with life: She’s had the same two best friends since sixth-grade, Pem and Kai, and recently begun dating Kai. The only thing that would make life complete is being able to surf and be one with the ocean. Her dad, however, refuses to let her learn. He had a really bad accident earlier in life and refuses to ever go back in the water. He forbids Lena from surfing, much to her chagrin. On her sixteenth birthday when taking a morning walk along the ocean’s edge, Lena spies a mermaid in the water and her life changes forever. Determined to see the mermaid again and prove that she isn’t going crazy, Lena learns to surf behind her father’s back, hoping to get close to the mermaid again.

When Lena discovers an explosive secret that her family members have been keeping from her, she runs to the ocean that has always comforted her. The mermaid is there and takes her away to a world untouched by humans. The second half of the book focuses on mermaids and sea lore. Madigan blends selkie mythology into her mermaid world, adding in elements of forgetting that would make the goddess Lethe proud. The underwater world is rich and raw, depicting merfolk in their natural habitat. Human though they may look, they are still wild creatures with their own ways of life. Their world is stunning and one I wish to re-visit. Once in the sea, Lena forgets everything, even the faces of her loved ones. Nothing is important save for her presence. Her experience changes her and forces her to grow up in ways she never imagined. Lena must make a tough decision regarding whether to remain in her new home with merfolk she has come to care for or return to a place she can barely remember.

Our heroine can be self-absorbed and hard to connect with at times, but at others, her heart shines through and draws readers in. It is impossible not to like Lena as you follow her plight. She feels real and is the essence of many teenage girls who feel like they don’t quite belong in one world or another. It’s easy to emphasize with a lot of what she goes through. In her acknowledgements, Madigan talked about writing a sequel to the novel. Have no fear; the book has a natural closing point. There is no cliffhanger, no teasing hint of story curves ahead. This is good because there is closure, which is needed at the end of this turbulent book. At the same time, readers have become so invested in Lena and the world that Madigan has built that they won’t be ready to say goodbye come the last page, making the finale even more bittersweet. It is an honor to read THE MERMAID’S MIRROR and honor the memory of a shining writer who passed much too soon.


The cover for THE MERMAID’S MIRROR is well-suited to the story lying within on many levels. For one thing, the turbulent sea and stormy sky represent the turmoil hidden within Lena. She is torn in so many directions and feels lost. The book is a perfect representation. The cover also creates an aura of sadness, of loneliness, both feelings that Lena experiences. She often goes out to the beach and looks out into the sea, as the cover model is doing. I can picture Lena looking just like that. I also like the way the font used for the title isn’t perfect. It is jagged and marred, adding to the rough atmosphere of the cover image. The cover has a normal girl, not a mermaid. Even under the sea, Lena maintains a piece of her humanity. Despite the fantastic elements, the novel is still contemporary and the cover reflects the fact quite nicely.


  1. Absolutely wonderful!
    Keep it coming!!
    I'm always here to support you.

  2. This post made me sad. Its difficult to think that she won't be around to write anymore. The story itself sounds really great, I think I might buy a copy of this one just to commemorate the author, I hope its out in kindle format!

  3. @Fresh Garden: Thank you so much! Your support means a lot :)

    @Gina: This was a really hard post to write! I was so sad when the author became sick in January and was REALLY rooting for her to pull through. She passed away when I was in Arizona, so I didn't even hear the news right away. I've been putting off reading this book to savor her last novel, so it was hard to read on so many levels!

    I just checked Amazon's website and the book *IS* available for Kindle. You're in luck!! I hope you enjoy it <3

  4. Oh my wow Bonnie! What an amazing review! Such a great post! <3

    I so agree! Lena was so real & I just really felt for her. <3

  5. Ashley, I'm so glad you liked my thoughts on this one! I hope they're the same as my twin's! *hugs*

  6. Dear Bonnie,
    thank you so very much for your insightful review, and kind words. Lisa had plans for books 2 and 3, with Lena returning to the sea, and her mom returning to land. There was so much potential...
    There are also 2 completed manuscripts (currently without contract to publish) that are companions to Flash Burnout. Only time will tell their fate.
    Neil Wolfson

  7. Neil, thank you so much for your reply. I'm glad that Lisa left more behind, even if it never leaves your hands. It's like you have an extra piece of her with you. Through words, she will always be here.

    I'm surprised the publisher doesn't want to publish sequels to FLASH BURNOUT. It won awards! In my school district, it's on the 2011-2012 Reading Olympics Challenge List for high school level. Just look at Stieg Larsson: All three books published after he died and became huge bestsellers. Hopefully they'll find an audience in some way someday. If not, at least you have them!


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