Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Hélène Boudreau
Release Date: 9th February 2011
It's hard being a pre-teen girl; it's even harder when you find out you're a mermaid! Fourteen-year-old Jade feels like a freak-of-nature when she finally gets her first period while trying on an XL tankini at the mall. It gets worse when she runs into handsome Luke Martin in the feminine products aisle while her dad Googles 'menstruation' on his Blackberry. But 'freak-of-nature' takes on a whole new meaning when raging hormones bring on another metamorphosis -- complete with scales and a tail. When Jade learns she's inherited her mermaid tendencies from her late mother, it raises the question: if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?
I came across this book by accident by flicking through the little menu on Amazon that tells me what other people bought when they bought the current book I’m looking at. I love mermaid stories (blame Disney), so I clicked on it and it was going for a really good price on the Kindle, and I’m so glad that I bought it.
This is one of those rare books I wish had been around when I was a teenager. Jade is such a warm, funny, relatable character that could be your best friend. Taking away the fact Jade discovers she’s a mermaid and is dealing with that, I couldn’t have asked for a more rounded protagonist in a YA book. Hélène Boudreau should be proud of herself, because this is one character that can be a role model to many teen girls out there going through puberty.
The story never stalls. We go straight into it with when Jade gets her period, then becomes a mermaid and then finds out some things about her mother’s death that sheds a whole new light on how she’s become a mermaid. The mix is just right of Jade being freaked out and taking it all in her stride to keep the story moving, rather than dwelling or accepting the change too quickly.
The friction with her best friend as this all happens to her is spot on. I remembered all the times I’d fought with my best friend at Jade’s age and could relate to how she was feeling. I also loved the relationship she had with her dad. They grew stronger by sticking together rather than fighting when her mum drowned, and that was a nice refreshing change to read.
The growing attraction with Luke was a nice subplot too. Especially when you throw in the Queen Bee’s attraction to him and how she gets everything she wants, then you feel for Jade and keep your fingers crossed that it’ll all work out in the end for her.
The mixture of sweetness, growth and light-heartedness was just right. Even as an adult I could appreciate how good this book is and will be passing it on to my nieces to read- if I can tear them off the computers long enough to read an actual book. Please read this book and pass it on to any tweens that you know.