Book Review of Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Posted May 17, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 6 Comments

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 12th, 2012
Pages: 303
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb: Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother’s death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family’s homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock’s daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there’s more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.


Review: Lies Beneath opens with this sentence. “I hadn’t killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that.” I loved that opener. Based on that sentence alone, I would have thought I would be in for a wild ride with this book. But alas, it was not meant to be. Before I get started on this review, I just want to say that a lot of people loved this book. I totally respect their opinions. Some of them are reviewers I respect very much. But for some reason, this book just fell monumentally flat for me. And that was disappointing because I had been looking forward to this book for some time. But I have been batting a big fat zero with mermaid books, and I am almost ready to throw in the towel. But before I talk about what I disliked, I want to mention what I did like. 


Lily. I loved Lily. And she’s probably the only reason this book got a 2 star rating from me instead of a 1. She made this book readable. Lily is what made me push on, even when I wanted to put this one down and read something else. This book was so close to being a DNF. But because I had DNFed another book recently, I kept going. Partly out of guilt, partly because of Lily. She was a bad ass. When other YA heroines are reveling in the fact they are being stalked by a paranormal creature, Lily is throwing her hands up and saying, “You are f*cking creepy, dude.” Thank god for that. Calder was a creepy, stalker-mermaid and Lily wasn’t having it. She did not think it was sexy how obsessed he was with her. Which I loved. I also loved how devoted she was to her family. There are things I wish I could talk about but because of spoilers I cannot. Just know that Lily was an extremely brave protagonist and easy to root for. She is the reason this book kept moving for me.


One of the main problems I had with Lies Beneath was its setting. It’s Lake Superior. It’s cold, it’s creepy, it’s mysterious (with all the shipwrecks) and it should have been mesmerizing. But I felt like the author did not use the setting to her advantage at all. This was a case of me feeling like there were not ENOUGH descriptive passages. And the few that were there were inaccurate. There was WAY too much swimming going on in Lake Superior in the spring. I don’t know if the author checked a temperature chart or did any research, but it is impossible to swim in Lake Superior during that time of year. Unless you are insane and have a death wish. In a normal year, swimming doesn’t start in Lake Superior until July, sometimes as late as August. It’s just too cold. And April is also too cold to be wandering around town in a bikini top. Which a random girl did. Then Calder was caught swimming in the lake on several occasions by Lily. He’s a mermaid, but Lily didn’t know that. And she never even questioned his insane behavior. Not once. HELLO, PLOT HOLE, IT’S NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN!


But really, with all that out of the way, it just comes down to the fact that I found this book boring. Snoozeworthy. It was hard to go back to once I put it down. I FORCED myself to finish it because it was a review book. I know that I might be alone in disliking this one, and I am perfectly fine with that. I felt the characters were flat (except Lily), and the story itself was not original and kind of mediocre, to be honest. The writing itself was technically sound, but it still did NOTHING for me. It may be because this was a mermaid book, and I have bad luck with those, clearly. All I know was I didn’t really like it. I wish Lily had been a character in a different book. This is one series I will not be continuing.


Oh, and the romance didn’t really work all that well either. At least there was no love triangle. There was that.

Other Reviews:

Joyous Reads 3/5 Stars




6 responses to “Book Review of Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

  1. Oh how I love your reviews, I always find myself laughing. I have never tried a mermaid book but I recently got The Vicious Deep so that will be my first try. The MC you mentioned, Lily, is intriguing I like a good strong headed woman in my books. And I agree with Andrea up above, definitely informative review, I had no idea what the swimming seasons of Lake Superior were!

    • I am glad that I am entertaining someone with my ramblings. I wish I could make that happen IRL. Let me know how you feel about The Vicious Deep. I’m really hesitant, at this point, to even try another mermaid book.

  2. I totally with you on this one! I was beginning to wonder if I was weird for not liking it much. I didn’t think it was an awful book but like you said, it was so BORING! I didn’t know about Lake Superior being so cold. You would think something like that would be double checked!

    Great review 🙂

    • Yes, THIS! And Lake Superior is FREEZING. Even in the summer when you can swim in it, it’s still cold. Even though the air temperatures are warm, it’s not warm long enough for a lake that size to heat up. Therefore, it’s incredibly cold. In fact, most of the Great Lakes are pretty cold. I know Lake Michigan is. I went there in the summertime once and I could barely put a toe in, let alone my entire body.

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