When I started reading this book I honestly had no idea what it was about. I’d read the flap and it struck me as a little…odd…a girl finds a mirror that belongs to a mermaid and she likes to surf?
But I like mermaids, so I thought, “why not?”
Lena lives in a small(ish) town just outside of San Fransisco. A coastal town known for its surfing. But Lena’s dad had a bad accident while surfing a number of years ago and hasn’t stepped foot in the water since. And he has always refused Lena when she asked for surfing lessons.
This is another book that, while it doesn’t physically separate itself into two parts, it does have two distinct….acts? Or something like that. The first act introduces you to Lena, her friends and family and surfing. She obviously loves her family, especially her little brother. She loves the woman she calls mom even though she isn’t Lena’s biological mother, and she wants nothing more than for her Dad to be the one to teach her to surf.
Just previous to the books opening Lena started dating Kai, a boy she’d been friends with for a long time. And you can tell she likes the new relationship but isn’t really committed to it. In fact a lot of her life feels that way. She’s there, and it’s fine but there isn’t anything she’s really passionate about, nothing that captures her attention.
And, unbeknown to Lena , while she sits on the beach and looks at the water longingly, someone is looking back at her with the same longing.
Throughout the book, there’s this fantastic metaphor. Lena is constantly searching for something. We see her unpack the books and binders in her backpack after school just to find….something. She doesn’t know what it is. But she needs to find it. This is echoed in her life. On the surface, everything is there, but she’s always looking for something more.
And then the second act of the book, where she finds what she’s been looking for. Lena lives with a different sort of family, she meets a different boyfriends and has different friends and it is here that she finds her passion. This boy is so much more than Kai, makes Lena feel more than Kai ever did. Her family is beautiful and important and mesmerizing.
I really loved the juxtaposition in this book. I love that it takes Lena discovering a whole new life for her to really understand all that she had in her first one. And I love that she then has to make a choice. And no matter which life she chooses there is going to be loss and abandonment.
The one thing I didn’t really get about this book was the name. Sure, there was a mirror but it had very little to do with the plot and by the time you get to the mirror…well, it just didn’t seem worth it. Not that I have the super-awesome-wonderful title it should’ve been called. I like the title, I just don’t think it had much to do with the book.