I picked up Aimee Friedman’s Sea Change after a friend remarked that this could be the new Twilight. Supernatural romance is very popular right now. We’ve seen vampires, faeries, werewolves. This time the creatures in question are merfolk. Miranda is meeting her mother on an island to sort out her eccentric grandmother’s estate. Her mother was long estranged from her grandmother, making the decision to leave the family’s summer home on Selkie Island to her quite a surprise. Miranda’s mother hails from Savannah’s high society. During Miranda’s ferry ride to the island, she is warned about the creatures that inhabit the island. Selkie Island is the summer playground to the Savannah’s rich upper crust. The locals live in Fisherman’s Village, a place where the wealthy stay away. The local gossip girl type gang befriends her but she’d rather read about science (marine biology to be exact) than wear high fashion and flirt with boys. She meets Leo at the local museum. He is not like any boy she’s ever known before. He loves sea life too, but he’s a local which complicates things. Miranda also has a birth defect that keeps her shy about showing her feet. She was born with webbing between her toes. The webbing was removed, but the scars make her self conscious.
I really liked the fact that Miranda is a brilliant girl who is interested in science. You don’t see a lot of that in teen romance books. I also liked the way the girls were portrayed. They were selfish and spoiled, but never mean. In fact, they genuinely liked Miranda and wanted her to spend time with them. This was also a welcomed change. They never come out and say, “Leo is a merman”. The author drops subtle hints and lets the reader decide. The first chapter felt a little contrived, when the older seaman was warning Miranda. But after that, I really enjoyed the book!
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Talk about legends of selkies and merfolk.
Miranda is a brilliant student. Discuss why smart girls usually not portrayed in teen romances.
Discuss how the society girls were spoiled, but not mean. Why do you think the author changed this stereotype? Do you think it is realistic?
Leo is also a really nice person. Is he realistic? Why do nice guys rarely make an appearance in teen supernatural romance?