Book review: Mermaid in Chelsea Creek by Michelle Tea

Synopsis: Everyone in the broken-down town of Chelsea, Massachussetts, has a story too worn to repeat—from the girls who play the pass-out game just to feel like they’re somewhere else, to the packs of aimless teenage boys, to the old women from far away who left everything behind. But there’s one story they all still tell: the oldest and saddest but most hopeful story, the one about the girl who will be able to take their twisted world and straighten it out. The girl who will bring the magic.

Could Sophie Swankowski be that girl? With her tangled hair and grubby clothes, her weird habits and her visions of a filthy, swearing mermaid who comes to her when she’s unconscious, Sophie could be the one to uncover the power flowing beneath Chelsea’s potholed streets and sludge-filled rivers, and the one to fight the evil that flows there, too. Sophie might discover her destiny, and maybe even in time to save them all.

My review: Let’s start by saying the only reason I bought this book was the cover (plus it was only 2 quid). It’s a beautiful cover, take a moment to appreciate it. Overall it’s just such a beautiful book. Anyway, on with the actual review.

The best word to describe this book is odd, but is that a good thing? It so nearly was. It’s different and quirky with amazing characters and a beautiful world, but it’s just missing something that would make it perfect. Maybe it’s the story? Although at first it felt like it was going somewhere at the end you realise you haven’t actually gotten very far and it’s a setup for the next book.

In a lot of ways it really is a beautiful book. Sophie and her complicated relationships with her mom and best friend Ella are so genuine and engaging. Take these great characters and throw in a mermaid, some talking pigeons and Polish myths it’s great. However all these elements don’t quite flow together, it feels a bit choppy and disjointed (like my reviews). Also some things like the pass out game don’t quite make sense (I mean there are talking pigeons, but they somehow make more sense than other things).

Over all it’s a fairly decent read. There is a sequel (or more like the first book to be honest as this felt like a prologue), but I don’t think I’ll be reading it.

3/5 stars

Published by Books and Peppermint Tea


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