Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings

4.6 182
by Helene Boudreau

See All Formats & Editions

Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning . . .

If she hadn't been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers


Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning . . .

If she hadn't been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke?

This summer is about to get a lot more interesting . . .

"Absolutely fresh and sweet, a quirky coming of age story."

-The YA-5

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
""Jade is pretty certain that she has just experienced the most humiliating moment ever: when she gets her first period in the mall, she has to enlist her dad for help, since her mom disappeared a year ago.
That's nothing compared to later that night, though, when she sprouts a tail in the bath, and her father explains to her that her mom is a mermaid who petitioned to become human. No one was sure how their offspring would develop, but Jade's tail growth pretty much cinches her mermaid status. She quickly decides to hide her condition from her hunky new crush, but she will use her new abilities to find her missing mother, who was abducted in hopes that she would tell imprisoned merfolk the secret of her conversion so that they might follow suit. Despite the jocular title, there's a hefty dose of darkness in the fantasy, especially surrounding Jade's mother's savage kidnapping and the physical torments of her transformation. On the other hand, Jade's tone is an accessible mix of bluster, insecurity, and sincerity, and the story makes menstrual embarrassment, mermaid abductions, and true
(pesco-sapien) love all simultaneously plausible and deserving of reader sympathy. In true young-teen fashion, everything is exclamation-point-style dramatic, from the horrific change from mermaid to human to Jade's emphatic assertions about trying on bathing suits.
Offer this quirky novel to readers who love mermaids but wish that they were occasionally less flowy and perfect and more . . . real. " -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books" - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

""This is one book I would definitely recommend for tweens. It's a fun, charming, witty story and one teen girls and women can definitely relate to in some sense. Not many books can deliver the humor of the "you know what" all girls get and deal with for the first time, like Helene did with Jade. I hope I get to read more about Jade. Her voice is one that will be hard to forget. This is a coming of age story with humor." - Mundie Kids Reviews" - Mundie Kids Reviews

""This was a quick and easy read and I managed to read it in one sitting as I was curled up on the couch one afternoon. The day I read it was over cast and dreary out. Your typical winter day so it was nice to imagine being somewhere nice and summery.

This is a great middle grade book for girl readers." - Cindy's Love of Books" - Cindy's Love of Books

""This was a short cute book, and I loved the mermaid explanation. That was really original and it almost made me believe it could be true. So here the author really thought about how and why there are mermaids.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
A yes there, this is something young girls would enjoy. First there is mermaids, cool, the crush, and issues with friends. The paranormal and the down to earth things all young people go through." - The Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
" - The Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

""Everything about Hélène Boudreau's latest release was wonderful. The characters were likable, the plot was somewhat unique, and the outcome, although slightly predictable, was completely satisfying. I was hooked from the first page, and pleased when I flipped over the last one.

Overall, this is one book you just can't miss. Its a fun and quick read, and even comes with Jade's recipe for scrumptious 5-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake in the end!" - Icey Books" - Icey Books

""Helene Boudreau's Real Mermaids Don't' Wear Toe Rings surprised the heck out of me! It was funny with snappy dialogue, poignant in its quirky coming-of age portrayal, and totally engaging in its frank yet corny depiction of the protagonist's struggles with puberty, relationships, and dealing with her mother's loss.

Even though this novel is geared towards a middle level female audience, it is a very engaging and an immensely entertaining romp. The ending was almost as fun as the start, with an unexpected twist that left me smiling and completely satisfied." -Eating YA Books" - Eating YA Books

""...an absolutely charming book...[Jade's] 'voice' was well articulated, strong, and often comical." - I Just Wanna Sit Here And Read" - I Just Wanna Sit Here And Read

""Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings is absolute brilliance in one of it's most humorous and touching forms, making me not only laugh-out-loud several times but I also teared up on occasion! ...both a delightful and moving blend of clever wit, action, adventure, family, and friends. Seriously, this book had it all, and Boudreau was able to pull it off without making the book seem cluttered. Throw in Jade's little journey of self-discovery and you've got the perfect coming-of-age story." - The Book Pixie" - The Book Pixie

""What I most loved about this book was the main character. She just felt like a completely real person, like someone you went to middle school with. And her voice was hilarious. When I finished the book, I put it down with a contented sigh. It was an incredibly fun and satisfying read." - Anna of First Page Panda" -

""Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings had plenty of humor, action and a mystery. Younger girls will especially eat it up and wish for more of Jade's story." Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks" - Michelle and Leslie's Book Picks

""This coming of age tale (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun!) has a lot that tween/teen girls can relate to - friendship drama, crushes, puberty/body image issues - with a fantasy flair and a bit of mystery to boot." - Chrissie Morrison, Tween & Teen Librarian, The East Greenbush Community Library" - Librarina: Great books for Tweens & Teens

""Real mermaids are really cute. This was adorable." - (W)ords and (W)ardances" - (W)ords and (W)ardances

""Boudreau has woven an exciting tale of mermaid mythology and growing up... a witty, fun, and humorous novel with many cute lessons to learn!" - The Bookologist" - The Bookologist

""Boudreau spins a fast paced, coming of age story that will be enjoyed by all ages although I think tweens will like it the most." - Book Blather" - Book Blather

""Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings is like no other coming-of-age story that I have read yet. It's charming yet exciting with an adventure of lives at stake." - Books By Their Cover" - Books By Their Cover

""I loved this book! I don't want to spoil very many of the plot points, so I'll just gush about Jade instead. She makes the book. She has a great personality and she's very down to earth, but she also suffers from some very pesky issues with her self-confidence.

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings is a fun read, with mystery, suspense, and lots of danger. I liked the characters, I thought the premise was great, and I enjoyed reading along as Jade gains confidence in herself and comes to terms with who and what she is. I hope that there will be a sequel, because I would love to learn more about Jade and I look forward to spending more time with her." - Manga Maniac Cafe" - Manga Maniac Cafe

""I saw a few other people in the blogosphere reading this, so I decided to give it a go. I love it so far. ...spontaneous and original..." - My Book Thoughts" - My Book Thoughts

""Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings not only is an extremely quick, adorable, and funny read, but it's also the perfect cross-over between tween and YA lit, so that truly anyone in those two groups can read it and have a high chance of enjoying it.
The premise of this was pretty great, and the execution was even better." - Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf" - Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf

""Oh, how I love this book! It's cute, spunky, and original and there's mermaids...what more could a girl ask for? Overall, I highly recommend Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings. It's a great MG book and will appeal to some YA readers as well." - Harmony Book Reviews" - Harmony Book Reviews

""...a cute mermaid book with depth. It's a coming-of-age tale. It's a mystery. It's a friendship novel. It's a first crush story. All of these combined make one fun read. There's danger, romance, family drama, funny escapades, and sweet moments between a father and his daughter." - TeensReadToo.com" - TeensReadToo.com

""This new take on mythical and paranormal storylines is refreshing in itself, but Jade's voice makes us true believers that maybe mermaids really do exist in our world." - Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick" - Night Owl Reviews

"I thought this book was the most cutest book I had ever read... Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Helene's books because she is just a fun author!" - The Book Mermaid

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Jade, 14, finally gets her first period—in the dressing room at the mall. She shoves napkins in her panties and makes a beeline to the drugstore, where her dad Googles "menstruation" on his Blackberry and fills up a shopping cart with feminine hygiene products, pain pills, and bath salts. Embarrassed and blushing, Jade runs into handsome Luke Martin and can't put a sentence together. When she gets home, she takes a bath and grows a tail. Her dad explains that her mother, who went missing a year ago, was a mermaid. A few days later, Jade eats lunch by the lake and hears her mother's voice from the water. She enters the lake and transforms into a mermaid. Jade learns that her mother was kidnapped by convict merfolk and tortured in fresh water and is determined to find her. Jade is a likeable, sarcastic, plus-sized teen dealing with human and mermaid emotions in this fantasy (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, pap. 2010) by Helene Boudreau. Jen Taylor's vocal characterization is a perfect match for of Jade's rollercoaster of emotions. This suspenseful and slightly romantic audiobook will garner fans.—Samantha Larsen Hastings, Riverton Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews
An appealing heroine, zippy prose and a preposterous plot make entertainment for young teens. Jade, nearly 14 and a bit on the chunky side, finally experiences her first period—but also discovers that she's part mermaid when she gets too comfy in her bath. Dad knew that Jade's mom was a mermaid, and no one understands how Mom could have drowned last year—until Jade discovers that she is being held hostage by an evil mer-couple in the local lake. Boudreau's characterizations ring nicely true, as Jade juggles her fight to free her mom with her own friendships and the unlikely interest of a popular, handsome boy. A nice sprinkling of wry humor keeps spirits up, but even for a fantasy, the plot conjures the term "eye rolling." A good fantasy makes readers believe; this one has enough dei ex machinae to populate Mount Olympus. However, the author keeps suspense high and her prose moving while tapping straight into young teens' angst about friends, enemies and boys. A talented writer aims too low but nevertheless produces light fun. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Product Details

Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
789 KB
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I bolted upright in the bathtub and hacked a mouthful of water. A wave sloshed onto the tile floor.

"Jade?" Dad's knock sounded from the other side of the bathroom door. "You okay, honey?"

"Yea...yeah," I managed to say between coughs, embar­rassed that I'd fallen asleep in the tub, freaked out that I must have slipped underwater. I took a long, shaky breath. "I'm fine, Dad. Thanks."

A shiver ran along my damp arm as I pulled a strand of hair from my mouth. What would have happened if I hadn't woken up? My thoughts turned instantly to Mom.

No. I couldn't go there...

"Can I get you anything?" Dad asked.

I rubbed my eyes and instantly regretted it. Epsom salt. Tear ducts. Ye-owch. Real smooth, Jade. But at least the cramps were gone.

"No, I'm good." I blinked through the haze to the coun­ter where Dad's drugstore bag spilled over with Super Maxi 32-packs and extra-long panty liners. Hadn't I tortured the poor guy enough for one day?

"Call if you need me." Dad's footsteps moved away from the door and continued down the hall.

"I will."

But I wouldn't. I shouldn't.

Yes, getting my first period was a big deal, but I was al­most fourteen, for crying out loud. I didn't need to run to daddy every time I had a puberty crisis. It had been a year since Mom drowned; it was time for me to start figuring things out on my own. Dad had enough to deal with.

Dim light from the streetlamp shone through the peb­bled glass of the bathroom window. My eyes burned, plus my legs had gone numb and felt like they'd been set in a block of cement. It was late. I should get dried off, head to bed, and finally put an end to this cruddy day.

I braced my hands on the side of the tub and shook my legs to get the blood flowing, but the sight that broke through the foamy surface of the water made me forget the pep talk I'd just given myself about not bothering...


The world tipped on its axis as I worked to make sense of what I was seeing. I blinked, trying to focus. What the heck had happened while I'd been asleep? Was I having some kind of allergic reaction to Epsom salt? Had someone slipped hallucinogenic drugs into that Slurpee at the mall?

Those and other crazy thoughts shuffled through my brain as I struggled to understand why, instead of legs, the lower half of my body was now encased in a shimmering tail of iridescent scales.

"Ohmigod! Dad!!" I shrank back against the tub, dis­gusted by what I saw, but the tail moved with me. A sharp breath threw me into another fit of coughing. I shook my head.

Dad's footsteps clattered along the wooden floor in the hall.

"What is it?" His voice rang through the door.

"Call 911!" The words escaped between coughs.

The knob rattled. "Unlock the door, Jade! Let me in!"

I tried to haul myself over the side of the tub to stretch my hand toward the door, but my lower half flickered use­lessly in the water.
"I can't..."

Dad jiggled something in the lock, no doubt one of his trillion Swiss Army knife attachments, but it proved use­less judging by the curse words he muttered. Finally, he rammed his weight against the door. A rush of air filled the room as the door flew open and slammed against the wall.

I pulled a towel to my chest from the towel bar above the tub as Dad stumbled into the bathroom.

"Look!" I lifted the tail from the water and struggled to catch my breath.

Dad's whole body jerked as he took in the blue-green scales shining from the tail. He collapsed onto the toilet seat and leaned heavily against the vanity.

"Do something!" I wailed.

Dad sat, frozen in place. He stared, mouth open, at my half-girl, half-fish body. After what seemed like forever, he spoke.

"Oh, Jade...I'm so sorry..." He ran a hand through his hair. "Your mom and I were always afraid something like this might happen to you."

Meet the Author

Helene Boudreau writes fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults from her home in Ontario. Her debut middle grade novel, Arcadian Star, was nominated for the 2009/2010 Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award.


Jen Taylor is a professional actress hailing from Seattle, Washington. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Theatre and quickly jumped into the world of radio. Jen performs on stage, in radio and television commercials and on the air as a disc jockey for a Seattle radio station.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 182 reviews.
pagese More than 1 year ago
I really liked the idea of this one. But, once again worried that book might come across as to young. I was both right and wrong, which always manages to surprise me. It's another one of those books I will put away for when my girls get a little older. I liked Jade. She a young teen who's going through a lot. She's dealing with those awful young teen years without her mom. First crushes, first friend conflicts, first periods, and all of a sudden comes that mermaid's tale. Some of the aspects of the story that are very much a part of everyday real life are what made the story a little juvenile for me. Although I have to admit the first time she gets her period makes me both laugh out loud and cringe with the memory of my first time. It's all really perfect for the age group this is intended for. I did like her relationship with her dad, her best friends, and her crush. It was cute and seemed very real. I really liked the mermaid elements of this story. How her mother came to land and developed legs was an interesting story. Plus the thought of a mermaid drowning was interesting. Add it what really happened to her mom and I was hooked. It was fun and I really loved the courage and ingenuity that Jade showed to help her mom. I'm hoping this is going to be a series, because the problem wasn't really resolved. I can't wait to see what happens next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book about this young girl was great. It was filled with twist and turns and action and adventire. I moslty reccomend this book for girls who are about 8 to 14. I i truly thouht it was great when i read it to my daaughter.
Ashlyn Rogers More than 1 year ago
This book is a yes to me, i liked it very much. I stayed up to finish the book last night. And i love fantasy, so this book clicked well, i reccomend it highly to whoever likes fantasy.
Abby Haug More than 1 year ago
I read the sample, and couldn't put it down. I highly recromend you to buy the book if you enjoy reading mermaid stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! Perfect mix of fantasy, suspense, and a little romance. So, READ READ READ!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was one of those books that you can't wait to know what happens next. It was very good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Definitely consider reading. Even if you dont like mermaids and mythical sea creatures you will still love this book. It is great and so is the author.
Holly Kerr More than 1 year ago
If u like this, watch h20
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!!! Jades an awsome person.it woul have been cool to have a mermaid fir a mother!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book rocked my socks. I luv luv luv Mermaids i would kill to be one but this book was the mext best thing.See Jade is a mermaid who goes through real life GIRL things. I recomened this book for GIRLS ages 10-16
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a ordinary girl named Jade who has always thought her mom drounded in a lake untill now when she finds out the truth.She learns that she is living a double life she is part human part mermaid.She finds out that her mom is still alive not on land but underwater her mom is a MERMAID!!!She not only has to save her mom but she has her own problems she keeps ditching her best freind to help her mom.Plus the guy she sort of likes is having a boat cruise and she really wants to go but ends up helping her mom instead of going.At her best freinds pool party she gets her first kiss from the guy she likes.All this in one amazing book and I didn't even tell you everything !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
jb70 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the lightness of this book and the fun way mermaids were introduced. Being in middle school is a tough time for a lot of early teenagers and tweens, your body is changing, people start dating, friendships change and hormones are playing all sorts of havoc. Jade is self conscious of her larger than average body, still having a hard time dealing with her mothers death by drowning a year before, struggling with a new friend who is coming between her and her best friend and surprised by the reappearance of a boy she thinks started a mean nickname about her. The last thing she needs is another complication, but she gets it when she gets into the tub, falls asleep, and wakes up with a tail! After finding out her mother was a mermaid new questions arise, such as how her mother could have drowned if she is or was a mermaid. Jade wants to tell Cori, her best friend all about it, but her father cautions her about it. How hard would this be for someone else to believe and what might happen to her if scientists were to find out that she could transform into a mermaid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read! I loved how it was a mystery and nonfiction at the sane time! I would deffinitly recommend this book!
Stephanie Mastroianni More than 1 year ago
I like this book alot because i like mermaids!
Kristin DeBora More than 1 year ago
I love this book and I just started reading it! I would highly recommand this book but it is not for kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!!!!!!!!! Amazing, buy it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a classic romantic story that includes merfolk and adventure a must read!!!
Keri Wells More than 1 year ago
I liked it. It was intereating and i cud relate to the main character a little. Not that im half mermaid. :))
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
i cant wait to read this! it looks like such a gr8 book! i started reading it, and i couldnt put it down!:-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 5th grader loved this book! It is always great to find a book kids will enjoy and actually read.
Samantha Alvarez More than 1 year ago
Im 12 in 7th grade and its a really good book. I finished it in 2 days though.. its really great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This bokcis amazing my complents to the arthor!!!!!!!!!!!!! If u lik these boks then u should wacth h2o luv this bok so much :() :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever! If you like this series you will definetly like Emily Windsnap, and other fairy tale/mermaid books! GIVE THIS FIVE STARS *****
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!!!!!did u know there r going to be 3 mour books in the serises!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS IS AN AWESOME BOOK, seriously I read it in 1 day. It was just THAT GOOD!!!!!!