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Review: Underwater by Brooke Moss

Underwater (The Mer of Pend Oreille) by Brooke Moss
Young Adult, Fantasy, Mermaids
Ebook $6.99 (278 pages, ETOPIA)
The secrets of Pend Oreille are best left beneath the surface…
After being partially paralyzed in a car accident, wheelchair-bound Luna Prosser is struggling to keep her head above water. Fighting for independence from her over-protective parents and determined to seem normal as she wheels down the halls of her high school, Luna can’t believe the hot new guy on campus actually talks to her—and looks at her with more than just pity in his haunted, aquamarine eyes. But Luna has no idea how different Saxon really is, or what responsibilities he faces. For there are secrets in the dark waters of Pend Oreille—secrets that could drown them both…

Author Site: website

The seaweed is always greener... (5 stars)

One of the first stories I read all by myself when I learned to read was The Little Mermaid. Not the Disney version, the depressing one written by Hans Christian Anderson. Being only 6 at the time I was quite stricken with how sad and dark it was but what stuck with me all of these years was a fascination with the idea of merfolk. When I found out that Brooke Moss had written a young adult fantasy featuring them I was really excited to read it and waiting for it to be published has been hard.

If you've enjoyed any of Moss' adult contemporary romances but also enjoy fantasy, chances are you'll really enjoy UNDERWATER. The same talent she has brought to the adult genre is here and in these young characters she really shines as a writer. There's a youthful side to Moss' writing that I've always found endearing and her sense of humor—while a little less utilized for this story—comes at just the right times.

Luna is such a cool character and while not one I found relatable to me, she's one I wanted to know. I love that she's different from the same old heroine stereotypes that the YA fantasy shelves are overpopulated with. She's got her septum pierced. She's in a wheelchair. She's got a confidence that doesn't waver. She's just plain awesome. In contrast, Saxon is mysterious in the best of ways. Without giving anything away I liked that he's an open-minded guy who wants to find new ways to help the Mer and that he is willing to stick to his ideals at great cost.

I honestly wasn't sure I was going to like the idea of Merfolk in a lake setting. That Moss chose Pend Oreille made it work in a way I hadn't expected. I actually went and looked it up to get a visual feel for it and reading the facts about it, she couldn't have picked a better location. It's such a cool world she's hidden within such an everyday sort of location that no one would suspect Mer to be in and that made it all the more interesting.

While a bit slow at times and peppered with family drama, I feel like every part of UNDERWATER served to form a rich world, a very real world that I dove into for hours only to come up because I had to—puns kind of intended. This is one engrossing story with an originality and flair that's been missing in the fantasy YA shelves. It's a rare thing when I stay up reading until I literally fall asleep... two nights in a row... but UNDERWATER was that hard to put down. I highly recommend if you have enjoyed young adult titles from Richelle Mead, Cynthia Hand, or Stacey Jay.

Notes: ARC received via author.

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