________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 6. . . .October 11, 2013


Real Mermaids Don’t Need High Heels.

Hélène Boudreau.
Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 2013.
240 pp., trade pbk., $7.99.
ISBN 978-1-4022-6458-0.

Subject Headings:
High schools-Fiction.

Grades 6-8 / Ages 11-13.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



“Yeah,” I piped up. “Serena and her mom are living with us for now. She gets to see her dad on the weekends, though.” That would sound pretty normal if Serena were just another one of my friends from school. A few kids I knew had parents who were separated, and they went to a dad’s or mom’s on the weekend, but I doubted any of them spent their weekends at the bottom of Talisman Lake.

“Well, it’s wonderful to have you back.” Bridget nodded in understanding. “And perfect timing, too. Our cook, Daniel, has a clam recipe he’s been dying to try.”

Bridget had no idea about our secret mer identities, but I’d managed to convince her that Serena’s picky eating habits were because she was from a remote island in the South Pacific. Daniel had made Serena steamed mussels last time and they’d been a big hit.


Jade has been living as a Webbed One (half mermaid, half human) since she started her period. In this third book in the “Real Mermaids” series, Jade’s going into grade nine with a surprise “relative” in tow. Tagging along with her is Serena; a Mer-girl who is being forced by her blackmailing parents to give life above water a try. Jade’s been able to tell a few people about her secret abilities, but, while at school, she has to convince everyone that her mom is really her aunt, and that Serena is her cousin. To help Serena fit in, Jade has to cover up for her awkwardness (not wearing shoes to school) and put up with her mistakes (deleting her hard drive) all while helping her run for class president. The uniforms they wear during their underwater hockey games come in handy though when the Mers and Webbed Ones gather together to fight against the controlling Mermish Council. Courage, love, and a new invention by Jade’s father allow them to regain some control of their freedom, but perhaps only temporarily. The water is still a dangerous place to be, especially for Merfolk like Luke who will be visiting his Mer-family weekly. Jade discovers the best of both worlds though, and she celebrates by attending a school dance in a beautiful dress designed by her best friend, Cori. Each book in this series begins with a recap of the previous stories and ends with a recipe. Boudreau’s portrayal of a plus-sized mermaid is to be admired.


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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