VOYA - Suanne Roush
Tempest has her life the way she wants itsurfing daily before school, a boyfriend and group of friends who share her interest in surfing, and plans to become a famous painter after studying art in college. She wants nothing to do with the "gifts" her absent mother told her would appear after her seventeenth birthday, when she would have three months to choose between staying human like her father or becoming a mermaid like her mother. Weeks before her birthday, changes begin: a fall off her surfboard results in a near drowning before Tempest realizes her legs have become a tail and that she has developed gills. Although the tail disappears as quickly as it appeared, the gills remain. As her emotions become more confused, the ocean and weather become more volatile, resulting in a serious injury to Kai, a mysterious surfer who can read Tempest's thoughts and emotions. On the morning of her birthday, Tempest awakes to find a tattoo covering her back and realizes that she is not going to have three months to make her decision. Tempest Rising reads like a paranormal retelling of The Little Mermaid, complete with a sea witch threatening the heroine. There are many loose ends, so it appears there will be a sequel. This may appeal to girls looking for the next paranormal creature after vampires, werewolves, and fallen angels, although it is doubtful that mermaids will have their popularity. Reviewer: Suanne Roush
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Tempest has lived her first 16 years as a typical human. She loves her dad, her younger brothers, her gorgeous boyfriend, and her life as a surfer girl. The only flaw in her perfect existence is the hurt and resentment she feels toward her mother, a mermaid whose return to the ocean years before left the family shattered. However, the pull of the ocean increases as Tempest's 17th birthday approaches. Warned by her mother that she would have to choose between her life on land and an unknown underwater world, she vowed that she would never embrace her mermaid heritage and abandon her family. This resolution is tested by the sudden appearance of Kai, who is an amazing surfer, irresistible to Tempest (despite the gorgeous boyfriend), and can't be entirely human. He's not. He's a selkie sent to protect her from the evil Sea Witch trying to take over the Pacific and is after Tempest due to an ancient prophecy. Circumstances force her to follow Kai into the ocean (despite the vow) and she begins to understand her mother's decision. The world-building is underdeveloped and the climactic sea battle is rushed, but the descriptions of kisses are equal to the lurid prose in any paperback romance. The first-person narration gives the relationship immediacy and, overall, this paranormal romance will satisfy voracious readers of the genre.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA
Among the recent spate of mermaid books this easily stands as the darkest, even though romance remains the main thrust of the story.
Tempest, aptly named, must choose between life on land or in the sea when she turns 17. As seems usual in these stories, her mother was a mermaid who has returned to the ocean. Tempest experiences stormy emotions and frequent sudden bursts of anger as she faces what may not be a choice after all. If it's a choice, why has she grown gills on her neck? Tempest is an excellent surfer with a wonderful boyfriend, Mark, but when she meets Kai, a strange new surfer, she feels an instant and strong attraction. Kai turns out to be a sea creature too. He's trying to protect Tempest from an evil sea witch when lightening nearly kills him. To save his life, Tempest drags him to the sea then plunges into the ocean to follow when other creatures swim away with him. She swims to a magical kingdom where she and Kai do battle with the witch and find her mother. Deebs dispenses with the suspenseful battle quickly and returns to the romance, described in an increasingly Harlequin-esque style, and adds an intriguing, possibly sequel-ready, ending.
An exciting-enough story, seriously overdone, which many young readers will love. (Fantasy romance. 12 & up)