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Lost Voices

Lost Voices

4.1 118
by Sarah Porter

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Fourteen-year-old Luce has had a tough life, but she reaches the depths of despair when she is assaulted and left on the cliffs outside of a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when she tumbles into the icy waves below, but instead undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her


Fourteen-year-old Luce has had a tough life, but she reaches the depths of despair when she is assaulted and left on the cliffs outside of a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when she tumbles into the icy waves below, but instead undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: the mermaids feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks. Luce possesses an extraordinary singing talent, which makes her important to the tribe—she may even have a shot at becoming their queen. However her struggle to retain her humanity puts her at odds with her new friends. Will Luce be pressured into committing mass murder?
   The first book in a trilogy, Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive.

This book features a teaser chapter from Waking Storms, the sequel to this sensational debut novel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In debut novelist Porter's bleak take on mermaids, first in a trilogy, the creatures are born out of human abuse and neglect. Luce is an unwanted orphan, living with her alcoholic uncle on the Alaska coast. When he tries to rape her, Luce simply gives up and slides away, falling off a cliff. She awakens singing in the ocean, watching strangers drown as a ship sinks. There are other singers nearby, who bully Luce, answer her questions, and welcome her in a way her peers on land never did. A mermaid's life turns out to be even more brutal than the one Luce left, but now the brutality is directed elsewhere—at humankind. Still, Luce's conscience rebels, and she seeks some way to resolve the beauty of a mermaid's song with the horror of a siren's role. Porter's narrative style suits her oceanic theme; the vivid colors and particularities of life are smoothed away to plain clarity. Luce thinks about her world in ways that read much younger than her 14 years, but the simplicity of the style makes the darkness of the story more tolerable. Ages 12–up. (July)
Children's Literature - Judy Crowder
Land vs. sea, real vs. ideal, compassion vs. selfishness are some of the contrasts that eighth-grader Luce (Lucette) must face in Porter's compelling first novel. Luce's world is far from ideal. Her mother is dead. Her father, a con man-grifter but loving parent, is her whole world which is lived in seedy motel rooms and their red van. Things change when they move in with her father's brother in Alaska, but hardly for the better. Luce's dad dies in a fishing accident, leaving her to live with Uncle Peter, a mean drunk who makes increasingly inappropriate moves toward his niece, and Luce can't begin to fit in at her school. One desperate night, she falls over the cliffs into the sea. Does she die? No—Luce is transformed into a mermaid, more capable and beautiful than she was when human. There, in the frigid water, she is befriended by a group of mermaids, especially their queen, beautiful, brittle Catarina. Two discoveries change Luce's life. One, all mermaids were once human and suffered terrible abuse. Two, her remarkable singing voice excels above all others; eventually she can make even the waves obey her. But the mermaids' great joy and purpose are to sing ships to crash and sailors to drown. Horrified, Luce feels pressured to help in the carnage and chaos. Then another mermaid joins the group. Anais, who is self-absorbed, greedy and cruel, manages to ruin everything. Will Luce be able to survive in her new world? Will she face the same fears and problems she encountered on land? Porter should be applauded for a brilliant first novel. Her writing moves right along, drawing the reader in with suspense. The watery world holds new dangers, with bullies as cruel as any earthly middle or high school "popular crowd," making it easy for the reader to identify with Luce's world. Well-recommended! Reviewer: Judy Crowder
Library Journal
This first installment in a trilogy by debut author Porter tells the story of 14-year-old Luce, who after a horrific event transforms into a mermaid and finds an unusual home with a tribe of other mermaids. This, however, is not the Disney version of a mermaid's tale. It paints a darker picture of these alluring creatures, where young women become sea nymphs after suffering unspeakable tragedies and then lure humans to their death with their haunting voices. Luce discovers that she now has strength, beauty, and an extraordinary voice but, despite her horrible past, dislikes using her newfound talents for harm. Julia Wheelan successfully narrates an entire cast of characters, from the strong Queen Catarina to the self-absorbed Anaise. This audiobook will appeal to older teens and Twilight fans looking for a change from vampires and werewolves.—Theresa Horn, St. Joseph Cty. P.L., South Bend, IN
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Luce, 14, wants to just disappear. After her swindling father's boat vanishes, she is forced to move in with her abusive, alcoholic uncle in an Alaskan fishing town. One day he attacks her atop a tall cliff. In her desperation to flee, she is sent tumbling down into the ocean below. What surely should have meant death is actually a rebirth, as Luce is magically transformed into a mermaid and taken in by several mermaids residing nearby. Luce, who has never had any real friends, befriends them, learning that the tribe is made up of girls just like her; they have all been abused in some way. After adjusting to her new world, Luce is overwhelmed with the love she feels—until she learns that her friends use their powerful voices to lure passing ships into the rocks, killing everyone onboard. She is appalled but if she doesn't subscribe to their practices and their abhorrence of humans, she may be banished, sent out into the dangerous ocean on her own. When a new mermaid joins the group and grossly shifts the tribe's dynamics, though, Luce's character is truly tested. For the first book in a slated trilogy, Porter does a nice job of painting Luce's emotions and the dynamics within the tribe. The description of how the girls transform is hazy at best and must be overlooked to enjoy the story that takes place under the sea. The book should be enjoyed by those who dream of becoming someone (or something) else.—Lauren Newman, Northern Burlington County Regional Middle School, Columbus, NJ
Kirkus Reviews

On her 14th birthday, Luce enters a dark world of mermaids in this foreboding yet ultimately uneventful debut.

After a life of thievery on the road, her single dad tried to give her normalcy by settling down and taking a fishing job in an Alaskan coastal village. Since his boat disappeared a year ago, Luce has been living with her violent, alcoholic uncle. When he tries to rape her, Luce liquefies, reforms as a mermaid and is taken in by a group of cliquish mermaids, who were all mistreated girls as humans. Reminiscent of Kevin Brooks, Porter blends lyrical narration with the ever-present threat of sinister violence. Like The Odyssey's Sirens, these mermaids, led by their queen, Catarina, use their voices to lure ships to destruction and their passengers to death. Equally fascinated and repulsed by the process, Luce, a naturally gifted singer bound by the mermaids' code of honor, tries to think of a way to turn their voices from tools of evil into beauty. Adding to her dilemma are Catarina's insecurities and secret compromises to the mermaid code and the arrival of the once-spoiled and wealthy Anais, who tries to usurp Catarina's power. The real problem is that Luce takes too long to find her own voice and the tension wears thin.

A sudden ending to this slow-paced story will leave readers floundering. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Lost Voices Trilogy , #1
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah Porter is the author Lost Voices, Waking Storms, and The Twice Lost. She is also an artist and a freelance public school teacher. Sarah and her husband live in Brooklyn, New York. Visit Sarah’s Watery Den online at www.sarahporterbooks.com.

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Lost Voices 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
ReadergirlReviews More than 1 year ago
It was the gorgeous cover that first drew me to this book, as well as the premise of girls turning into mermaids, but be warned. These are not your Disney mermaids. This book was raw, emotional, disturbing, and sad. It was also lovely. I've always been intrigued by mermaids. Not the cutesy Little Mermaid variety, but the old myths about beautiful sea creatures who gorgeous siren songs lured fisherman and other men to their deaths. I always wondered why a creature's purpose would be just to lure people into drowning or hurling themselves from their boats, and Sarah Porter explains it well. The idea that these once girls now mermaids sing their song because it gives them immensely beautiful feelings, and that they've been so abused by humans that they want to destroy them for their actions is both sad and disturbing. Luce is the sole exception, as she still remembers people that she loved. Her new persona doesn't quite take hold completely, which allows her to maintain some of her humanity that the others have completely lost. I found myself completely overcome when I read about the larvae, or small baby mermaids. The idea that babies could have been so abused by humans that this would happen to them too made my heart hurt. With the way the story ended, I would like to say there is going to be a sequel, especially since this book didn't really have a concrete ending like what I would expect. It seemed to just end. Bottom line, this book was excellent but disturbing. I'm glad that I read it, and definitely think we have an author here with some amazing talent that I can't wait to see more of.
Jennifer Johnson More than 1 year ago
I would absolutely recommend reading this book. The author creates a world full of dark beauty without making the characters inaccessable to teen girls. I am also intriged by the underlying thees of the story- that abuse leads to (in this case literally) losing one's humanity and prepetuating the cycle of violence and destruction. Luce, filled with insecurity but also more power than she knows, fights to break the cycle without losing the only place she feels loved.
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
With her mother dead and her father in jail, Lucette lives with her abusive Uncle in a small coastal town in Alaska. When a particularly brutal night causes Luce to accidentally slip off the cliff and into the ocean below, she does not expect to survive. However, Luce soon wakes up and discovers she is now one of the many young girls to become mermaids of the sea. Luce meets others like herself and quickly adapts to her new life underwater. But when queen mermaid Catarina begins to act secretive and vindictive, Luce needs to think for herself... before something terrible happens. Those of you who follow this blog know I read a LOT of mermaid books. So there are a lot I can compare this one to. and while there are mermaid stories that are much better, this one wasn't that bad, really. Nothing in story came even close to being as beautiful as the cover art, but it was still an enjoyable read. Luce is a very compassionate 14-year-old girl. She so often thinks of others before herself. The other character in comparison felt a little flat and undeveloped. But I liked that the girls still had your typical girl troubles (mostly in getting along with each other). I also appreciated the science and biology of Sarah Porter's mermaids, especially in their coveted singing abilities. My only complaint is the serious lack of guys in this book! You can't possibly convince me that teen girls weren't on the lookout for boys! Lost Voices is a lovely mermaid story that is just as playful as it is dark and moody.
VietnameseReader More than 1 year ago
Gee, when I first saw it, it looked interesting. a couple of chapters more, I fell in love with this ammaaazzzzziiiinnnnggggg book!!!! I normally arent a fan of lady aouthors, but i got to say, Sarah Porter had done a fantastic job.
Meli_Green More than 1 year ago
Sarah Porter's new book, Lost Voices, is a raw, emotional, dark, and sad tale. Addressing the abuses of young girls at the hands of the people, who should love them and take care of them. Even touching on the subject of abandoned babies, which made my heart ache. While originally I was drawn to read this book because of its cover and the premise of girls turning into mermaids as I read this book it became clear this book would not follow the suit of most "Teen" novels. This book does not prepare you for the depths of sadness you will feel for the main character and all her loss and drama. The whole cast of characters in this opening novel are so intense and emotional, which is expected from young girls, from the meek and shy, to the outspoken and prissy snot. As the girls for the most part struggle with their anger of the human world, use their voices to seek out justified vengeance.
NYCFeline More than 1 year ago
Lost Voices is a dark, moving and tantalizing first book in a new trilogy by Sarah Porter. Luce, the young protagonist, finds herself turned into a mermaid after her human life is brutally ended. We find that it is this tragic end to young girls which turns them into mermaids - an interesting twist and one which explains the mermaids desire to sink human ships using their magical voices. Luce struggles with this as she still retains her humanity and a deep sensitivity. Her struggle and intrinsic differences from the other mermaids moves the story in the most absorbing way. While some of the mermaids are not exactly sympathetic and the ending is a bit sudden, I am confident that the next book in this series will be just as much a "can't put down" as Lost Voices is. I highly recommend this book and look forward to future writings by this author.
Rina30 More than 1 year ago
This book was beautiful and captivating. The story is very sad but also compelling. Abused girls who turn into Mermaids off the coast of Alaska. Luce lives with her abusive uncle after her father dies in a ship wreck. Her mother has been dead already and she travels with her father. Her uncle, her fathers brother, promises work in Alaska with boats. One night her uncle crosses the line and she finds herself in the ocean. She meets a tribe of Mermaids and they welcome her in. They all have a sad story that they don't want to talk or think about. They just want to kill humans for their evil ways. This book is a must read. The first in a trilogy that I can't wait to get my hands on!
Yaisa Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books I have ever read. However, it really needs a sequel. The ending was very non-conclusive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book left me with some very strange feelings. I felt intrigued about the plot. The way it is written makes everything feel like a beautiful dream. However, some parts also had me horrified or appalled by how harsh it becomes. By the end... I feel like the harsh and horrible parts were necessary to make the beautiful and good stand out. Lovely!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lost Voices is a haunting, lyrical novel which uses the paranormal to illustrate difficult moral choices. The mermaids in the novel represent a return of the repressed - girls are transformed into mermaids as the result of a traumatic act. These mermaids are filled with a righteous vengeance, and use their voices to sink ships and drown humans. Luce, the protagonist, is an outcast in the human world. Upon becoming a mermaid, she is overjoyed to be accepted by their society. Yet her growing understanding of mermaid nature provokes internal conflict. Mermaids have a moral code, the timahk; the plot of the novel is driven by Luce's relationships with other mermaids and their moral code. While Lost Voices has grim subject matter, its overall message is one of perseverance, discovery and truth-seeking. It is absolutely beautifully written. Thematically reminiscent of the young adult classics of Robert Cormier, Lost Voices is a book that should allow readers to examine the humanity within themselves. Most highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The cover of thr book made me want to read it and the beginning of the book was intense and dramatic but it was a big let down. I found multiple editing errors in the text which was bothersome. The story was very disjointed and i found it difficult to picture in my head what was happening at times. After reading thi si have absolutley no desire to read the next two. It proved to be so anticlimactic.
MERMAID123 More than 1 year ago
WOW! I was told about this book by a friend so I tried it and wow! it was so amazing i could not put the book down i didn't think i would like it so much since im not a reader. But i was wrong you have to read it!!!! dont judge a book by its cover you really will like it!!!!!
cara_ann More than 1 year ago
I will start off by saying that I did enjoy this book. The way Porter combines sirens and mermaids and the way they were created was very interesting. The plot was interesting and I was really excited when I picked it up. BUT the book was extremely slow-paced and nothing truly significant happened the entire story.Towards the end of the book some things finally happen and you start getting excited and it just abruptly ends. This is ment to be a series but I don't see it being very successful if there isn't anything important enough to remember in the first book. Personally I felt the writing of this could have been alot better than it was but it was still a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book bothered me very much. The plot was great, but I read parts where the typos and incomplete thoughts where too much to handle, I read this book when it was new, and am still bothered by a part where one second its talking about seals and then halfway through a sentence it changes direction and starts talking about something totally different. Other than the numerous spelling and grammar issues, I would say this is a good book. The spelling and grammar is why I gave this a 1 star rating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it very immature. Not well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is perhaps good for a young reader - albeit still a bit gorey for one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i got fourty pages in before i said "forget it." from what i got in those forty pages, it was man-bashing stupidity. please don't waste your money.
CRss More than 1 year ago
I didn't love it, but it was interesting and the topic was different (not all vampires and werewolves). The writing wasn't bad, but it wasn't mind-blowing either. If you want an easy read, just for entertainment value, it's not bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I typically love young adult series and usually fantasy type novels as well. This one is absolutely horrible. I have only stopped reading a book twice in my life and this is one of them. Thank goodness it was only $2.00 or I'd be begging for my money back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author hates most men, & believes humanity is mostly unkind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I know there is supposed to be a strong story line and final conclusion in this book it reads as man-hating and fearful. "Mean Girls" with fins. I think it is supposed to be about strength and forgiveness but is venomous and dis-jointed. So sorry I'm not able to give it more stars but enough said.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book ever abiut mermaids that i have ever read this was an awesome boook did not wqnt to put it down till i reached the end it was that good but had to put the book down due to middle school:( soo did not like doing that. look forward to reading second book something tells me it is going to be a really awesome such as this one hope you like this book and the other books in the trogoly hope the author writes a fiurth book and i havent even resd the second book how awesome is that so anybody in the mood to chat if not well hope u liked this book i loved this book"!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really descriptive and desisive. It felt as if the author wanted me to feel the pain Luce ( main character) felt the songs that flew through her.This book was amazing, you will love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've always been fascinated by mermaids (not Ariel, REAL mermaids), so I found this book fascinating. And then I started reading it. This has gotta be the best fantasy book I've ever read. I love the character of Luce, in fact sometimes I could relate to her (not in the sense that I live with an abusive uncle in Alaska). Catarina was like a beautiful mess and I found the whole story very captivating
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hoping for a book that would enchant me with the world of sirens/mermaids. But perhaps this is more of Mean Girls with fins. It lacked the mystical side of mermaids and focused mostly on social cliques. Lost Voices left me wondering "what is the point?" I read so many good reviews about this book that I kept trudging along hoping to get to the part that inspired them. Unfortunetly, I never reached it. The characters were annoying. I couldn't empathize even a little because I just could not bring myself to care enough about any of them. As for the plot, it seemed to drag on. I couldn't wait to get to the end of the book. There are a lot of unanswered questions that the reader is left with but despite this fact I will not be following this series.