Book List

Under the Sea: 8 Little Mermaid Retellings to Swim Away with

April 26, 2017
Amy Beaudoin
Riveted Editorial Board

Fairy tale retellings are a hot commodity in teen lit, and there’s a simple reason – classics provide a fantastic base for a new and unique story. Anyone who knows me knows that I have the soul of a mermaid, so it only makes sense that I would gravitate to the retellings of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid. It doesn’t matter if it’s a contemporary reimagining, an old-timey version with corsets and carriages and all that, or something completely out there, like space mermaids (seriously Marissa Meyer, I think you dropped the ball on leaving TLM out of the Lunar Chronicles, just saying), I love it all. Especially during Princess Week!

If you’re just as much of a land-mermaid AND fairy tale enthusiast as I am and need something to read, here are a couple of suggestions:

Midnight Pearlsby Debbie Viguie

A more classic version of the tale, MIDNIGHT PEARLS tells the story of Pearl, her best friend Prince James, and two strangers who seem to have come straight from the sea. The actual mermaid-loses-her-voice-to-trade-for-feet part of the story belongs to one of these strangers, but trust me, you’ll be just as invested in Pearl and her mysterious past under the sea.

Fathomlessby Jackson Pearce

As a lot of Jackson’s retellings are, this one is a little darker and creepier than most. Two mermaids work together to save a human boy, but their friendship is strained as they find themselves competing for his affections. The real test of love though is to earn their land legs for him, but to do so would mean convincing a mortal to love them and then steal his soul. Those poor, unfortunate souls.

Wreckedby Anna Davies

In this gender-swapped contemporary retelling, Miranda is rescued by a mysterious boy when a terrible boating accident claims the lives of several of her friends. He won’t tell her where he is from, or why they can only meet at the beach. But Miranda falls for him anyway…and discovers that Christian’s secrets, though meant to protect her, may bring her nothing but harm.

Mermaidby Carolyn Turgeon

Not only is this reimagining the tale of the mermaid hopelessly in love with the human man she saves from a shipwreck, but it’s also the tale of the innocent girl the human prince mistakes as his rescuer. How can the princess of his greatest rival compete with the girl who saved his life? How can a mute mermaid win his love next to a beautiful princess who could offer peace to both their kingdoms? Can they both be part of his world?

Monstrous Beautyby Elizabeth Fama

Hester’s family has been cursed for generations, by the siren who fell in love with a human boy named Ezra and gave up her tail, her home, her life for him. Can Hester solve the mystery of her ancestor and break her family’s curse? Or will she find her cursed fate fathoms below the sea?

September Girlsby Bennett Madison

Madison’s retelling focuses this time on “the prince,” a misplaced teen named Sam spending his summer vacation with his family in a seaside town filled with beautiful girls who all seem to want something from him. Just when he’s starting to get close to one, she pulls away without explanation, and he knows the secret to winning her love means finding out the secret of all the strange Girls in town.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaidsby Sarah Ockler

This one is more a retelling of the essence of The Little Mermaid, rather than the actual fairytale. Due to a boating accident, Elyse, the most beautiful singer in the Caribbean, cannot speak. To try and recover her new sense of self without her voice, she visits a friend in a cold and tame seaside town in Oregon, where she meets Christian, a bad boy heartbreaker who urges her to overcome her fears and open up to expressing herself.

Sirenaby Donna Jo Napoli

Sirena is cursed; she can only become immortal if she can make a mortal man love her, but her siren songs only lead mortals to their deaths in the clutches of the ocean. Not wanting to risk his life, Sirena hides from the man she is most drawn to, and he to her, but can she deny her own destiny? Come on, man! He just wants to kiss the girl!

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