________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 5. . . .October 4, 2013


Real Mermaids Don’t Hold Their Breath.

Hélène Boudreau.
Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 2012.
240 pp., trade pbk., $7.99.
ISBN 978-1-4022-6446-7

Subject Headings:
Mermaids - Juvenile fiction.
Mothers and daughters - Juvenile fiction.

Grades 6-8 / Ages 11-13.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



Yeah, about that. How exactly are you going to explain your mom’s sudden reappearance when she makes it back home?

If she makes it back home.” I pulled down a bowl from the cupboard and set it on the counter, then ripped open the paper bag to pour the popcorn into it.

“She’s totally going to make it back.

“Thanks, Cori. I smiled, relieved to know I had a few extra people on my side now compared to my lone-girl rescue mission when I helped my mom escape Talisman Lake a few weeks before. “You’re awesome.

“So I’ve been told. But you wanna know what else is awesome?” Cori poured the streaming mixture of butter, salt, sugar, and chocolate over the bowl of popcorn, and tossed it all together. “This popcorn.”


Thirteen-year-old Jade reunites her family by bringing her mom home from the depths of the ocean. After Jade and her Mer-friends brave spear-throwing Sentries and criminal Freshies, they pull her mom out of the tidal pool that was almost destroyed by a dodgy construction project. When her mom is back on land, she is able to change back into a human by soaking in her husband’s new ‘Merlin 3000’ invention. Jade’s happiness is short-lived though because her boyfriend Luke temporarily disappears during the rescue. In Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings, the first book in the series, Jade struggles to keep her mermaid secret, but after her best friend Cori sees her tail in this second book, she starts telling people the truth. Facebook plays an important role in this story. The author shows how social media can be used both positively and negatively when videos are captured and posted online. Many characters from the first book are back for this story, with the addition of Reese, Luke’s helpful childhood friend. Mermaid folklore is explored a little further in these new chapters, and Jade reveals more about what it’s really like to live as a mermaid. The Mermish language can be exasperating, the cultural is very secretive, and the costs involved can be heart-wrenching. Girls who were Little Mermaid fans as a child may enjoy this series.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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