February 22, 2013

Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath

by Hélène Boudreau
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
234 pp.
Ages 9+

If you're reading this review before the one I wrote yesterday for Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings, stop.  Now.  Go read my review and details about Hélène Boudreau's first book in her Real Mermaids series, Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings, here. Come back only after you've read that review.

Back already? Alright. Now onto Real Mermaids Book 2: Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath.

Jade's mom, Michaela, is safe from Finalin and Medora for now but she still is a mermaid until she can transform back into a human by accessing a special tidal pool. This was the information that the Freshies had hoped to squeeze out of Michaela.  The mer-people had heard tales of the Webbed Ones, humans who originated as mer, and the partial webbing between Michaela's third and fourth toes marks her as one.  By keeping her prisoner, Finalin and Medora had hoped to discover the means to break out of their freshwater prison, Talisman Lake. 

Back on land, school is out and Jade is working at Bridget's Ice Cream Parlour with best friend Cori and Chelse Becker, a sixteen-year-old cellphone aficionado, whose family has a cottage across the lake from Jade's Gran.  While waiting for Mom to get approval from the Mermish Council to use the tidal pool, whose location Michaela sadly cannot recall, Jade and her dad have enlisted the help of Jade's friend (or is it boyfriend?) Luke, and his grandfather Eddie, to speed things along.  Dad and Eddie have created the Merlin 3000, a mer-to-human synthesizer that is essentially a fake tidal pool that would allow the transformation from mer to human to take place over several days.  And Luke introduces Jade to a couple of mers, Reese and Renata, in the hopes of finding the elusive tidal pool. Unfortunately, when Cori and Jade find the tidal pool, it is on the guarded property which Lainey Chamberlain's dad is developing for the new wing of the mall.

The effortless storylines that keep you reading and wondering and laughing come together when: 
• they learn the tidal pool site is also a known habitat of the Monarch butterfly;
• Chelse Becker decides to get even with an ex-boyfriend by posting a video, and helps the tidal pool cause by setting up a Facebook page dedicated to Butterflies vs. Boutique;
• an Environmental Assessment comes under question;
• Finalin and Medora's daughter Serena takes a liking to Lainey's dog Cedric;
• the Mermish Council plans on imprisoning those who broke the Mermaid Code of Silence; and
• it becomes evident that not everyone is who they seem to be, good or bad.

And I can't even share with you the little secrets about Eddie, Luke, Reese, Renata, Serena, accusations of murder, the men in the dark sedan, and how Jade and Luke's young romance is progressing!  However, I can tell you that Hélène Boudreau has a magnificent way of intertwining the plot lines with such fluency, like seaweed rippling together and apart, extending into new waters.  As a reader, you never know where the plant could take hold but you know it'll be spectacular when it does.  And no angst or trepidation to hound you until the next book!

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