I’ve always loved the ocean and therefore also books about everything in it, but I feel the young adult mermaid books often falls into the trap of being too stuck to The Little Mermaid plot and tropes! There’s other ways to do mermaids folks!
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Full review! 3/5 stars. It was an enjoyable book with deadly sirens that had very The Little Mermaid retelling vibes and pirates that had a true Pirates of the Carribean vibe, thrown in with some royalty and princes as well. The main character is fierce and the book promises a killer and general darkness that it doesn’t quite deliver on. Halfway it turns more into slow-burn romance and trying to create a revolution which, funnily enough, was the predictable path. But if you like mermaids and/or pirates, this is definitely a book I would recommend!
The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
A norse-inspired little mermaid retelling with f/f relationship, where the main character has to outsmart the God of Lies Loki. Relatively short as it’s just above 200 pages. Stunning cover art.
DNF’ed because I couldn’t like the writing, and that makes it incredibly difficult for me to get into any story.
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
Full review! 4/5 stars. Incredible writing! This is a dream of a fantasy book, the ultimate fairy-filled tale I wanted as a kid, with a main character who’s a brat, but a smart one, and both supportive and tired of his friends. It’s less of a magical school as it’s a magical military academy, hah. So underrated, with gay/bi boys and main character! Mermaids is one of the multiple magical creatures here, so much less focus on them than in the other books on this list.
Lies Beneath by Anna Greenwood Brown
DNF’ed after really giving it a couple good tries. I wanted to like this book. It has evil mermaids!! I mean it starts out with “I hadn’t killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that.” Definitely give it a try! And it’s written from a male mermaid … merman? which makes it interesting. It just wasn’t for me.
Wake (Watersong #1) by Amanda Hocking
I really want to reread this book. Because from what I remember it was; good mermaids. boring plot. And a very interesting dynamic between four girls, a trio plus a girl who don’t yet know she’s a mermaid. It’s like H20 book edition, but also the mermaids have evil tendencies?? But I remember it being so interesting and a guilty pleasure. I have to reread it.
Of Poseidon and The Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks
Full review of the first book! 3/5 stars. I’ve only read the second book in the series as well, and it’s pretty much the same and equally as good. It’s just summer vibes with all the mermaids you need. Stubborn and awkward teenagers that tries to figure things out, just in the “you might be a mermaid” format, mixed in with mermaid royalty and some politics. It also has a main character that is quite the fierce girl, and throws a couple punches. A very character driven novel, with a good friendgroup.
Other mermaids book on my TBR (for another time):
Come to the Rocks by Christin Haws
A short story with 66 pages! I know little of it except it has f/f romance with a mermaid, and that’s truly all I need.
Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner
Another book with mermaid killers, which I really hope won’t let me down. I just hope it’s taken all the way, for once, without being worried about how ‘likeable’ that makes the mermaids. I’ve read it’s supposed to have a fierce female protagonist and a lesbian romance, so that sounds promising.