Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: Lies Beneath (Brown)

AUTHOR: Anne Greenwood Brown
SERIES: Lies Beneath, book 1
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780385742016
PAGES: 303
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: paranormal romance (mermaids/mermen)
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS girls who love mermaid love stories
SUMMARY: Eighteen-year old Calder White barely remembers becoming a merman when he was a toddler. In the years since, Calder has fought his predatory instincts, attempting to spare human lives whenever possible. Now, Calder and his three mermaid sisters are out to avenge their mother's death. After years of searching and waiting, Calder's sisters have finally located Jack Hancock, the son of the man they hold responsible for their mother's death years ago. In order to lure hydro-phobic Jack to a watery grave, Calder reluctantly focuses on gaining the trust of Jack's older daughter, Lily, but it isn't long before Calder starts to realize why predators should never fall for their prey.

REVIEW: In some ways, Lies Beneath is pretty typical of the YA paranormal romance genre. You have the secretive-but-hunky boy/stalker/fish who is trying to control his predatory urges. There's a girl who marches to her own beat and doesn't realize or care that she's mind-numbingly beautiful. Suspicious townspeople and lurking mermaids threaten to forever separate the star-crossed couple. Add to that lots of Victorian poetry and an eerily beautiful Lake Superior setting, complete with lake monsters, watery caves, and 10,000 years of buried history, and Lies Beneath starts to gain some substance.

The two major characters--Calder and Lily--are likeable, if a little boring. Despite several instances of outright stalking (he's a predator, after all), Calder is an unlikely hero trying to control his nature, break free from his mer-sisters' tight grasp, and protect those blissfully ignorant humans. The three sisters, particularly Maris, are deliciously wicked and would make interesting stories on their own. The story reads quickly and will easily hold the attention of teen readers on the constant look-out for their next paranormal romance.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Despite a somewhat typical setup, Lies Beneath is a fun and unique paranormal romance told, atypically, from the boy's viewpoint. Teen readers--especially the girls--will squeal for more Calder and Lily and look forward to the planned sequel. Middle school librarians fear not; sexual contact is limited to a few sweet and beautifully-written kissing scenes. I have no worries purchasing and promoting Lies Beneath in my library.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I've already been talking up Lies Beneath in my library and plan to purchase it when it debuts in June.

READALIKES: Forgive My Fins (Tera Lynn Childs)--Is it a coincidence that the female protagonist is also named "Lily"?

  • Overall: 3.5/5
  • Creativity: 4/5
  • Characters: 3/5
  • Engrossing: 3/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5 (esp. girls)
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
  • Language: mild-medium
  • Sexuality: mild--some kissing; Calder is naked when he shifts forms
  • Violence: mild; humans die non-bloody deaths at the hands of mermaids
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

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