Book Review of Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Posted January 4, 2013 by Kara in Uncategorized / 24 Comments

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: May 19th, 2010
Pages: 293
Genre: Young Adult-Fantasy
Source: I own a copy.

Summary from Goodreads: Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

Review: Full disclosure: I got sick and I didn’t write this review when I should have because I could just not bring myself to type, so I have lost a lot of the details I would have needed to make this a really good and well-written review, so it will probably be crap. But the good thing is, I’ve had time to think about it, and I don’t think I’m going to continue on with this series. I’ve talked to a few other readers and they have told me that THIS is the best book, and if this is the best, well I don’t want the rest. 
Basically what I am going to do is just take the pre-review I had and expand upon that and hope nobody notices my lack of effort. 
My first issue with Forgive My Fins was that I found the whole mermaid mythology incredibly misogynistic. Why? Well…Lily had to be bonded to a male before she could inherit the throne of her underwater kingdom, but a male(her father–he ascended the throne before he met Lily’s mom) doesn’t have to be bonded. I was incredibly offended by this. Authors can write how they want, but I don’t have to like it. And I didn’t like this. I kind of thought it was an ugly message to be sending to teen girls reading your novel. “You aren’t good enough unless you have a man with you.” What is this, the 1950s? Ummm, no. I kept hoping there would be a twist to this as I was reading, but yeah…NOPE. It really WAS that sexist. I guess maybe that might be a thing in mermaid mythology, but why not take the opportunity to do something different? It just didn’t sit right with me. 

And then there was Lily. She was possibly the most infuriating protagonist I have encountered this year. She pined over a boy who played with her, loved him for absolutely no reason–she didn’t even KNOW him, and all the while she had an amazing guy standing right next to her who adored her for who she was, and for the love of god, I don’t know what Quince saw in her because she was an ASSHOLE. Horrible, really. Stupid. Impossible to root for because she could not see what was right in front of her face. She was ignorant, foolish, blind, didn’t think things through, and irritated me to NO end with her sea-speak.

However, I really adored the writing in this book. And Quince. Oh, Quince. I know am a 32-year-old female and I will possibly get arrested for saying this, but won’t you come rescue me from my life of boredom? That’s the perfect guy right there, folks. Talk about devoted. And attractive. And a bad boy without actually being abusive. That’s refreshing in YA. He was perfect. Lily, honestly, did not deserve him. When I read these books as an adult, I often feel like a child molester for swooning over the male characters. That’s why most of the time I try to avoid the ones with too much romance. Because I end up hating myself. Hahaha! Hey, at least I am honest. But Quince was wonderful.

But besides that, this book is chock full of crappy stereotypes and predictability. Mean girls and jocks abound. But it’s cute. It’s fluffy. And I guess I kinda liked it. Though I sort of hate myself for saying that.

Edit: I did like it, but after much deliberation, I have decided to pass on reading the rest of the series. It just wasn’t good enough. The sexism really pissed me off, and Lily is not a protagonist I can root for. And I hear she gets worse as the series goes on. I read enough books that irritate me, I don’t need to pick up a non-review book that I know will drive me batty. So nope, I am done. But if you like fluffy romances with mermaids, this is your book.
3/5 Dragons

24 responses to “Book Review of Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

  1. “I often feel like a child molester for swooning over the male characters.” <– now this sentence alone makes me want to check out this book, kind of. O__O

    Thanks for the review Kara, it doesn’t suck. You’ve done a good job of highlighting the main issues within this book. I was actually thinking of getting this for my younger sister (who hates reading but loves mermaid-y things) in hopes of tempting her with the shiny cover.

    • It’s just that Quince was a really awesome love interest. Too bad the protagonist was such a TSTL tool.

      Maybe she’ll like it. I think for the casual reader it would be okay. I am the type of reader who forces myself to look deeper and analyze everything. Not always a good thing. But it makes for some interesting reviews!

  2. Oh man, I don’t think this series will be for me.

    Haha, I know what you mean about the underage characters, but I generally “cast” older actors for them a la Hollywood and so end up in denial and justifying my lust. 😀

  3. Amy

    I love this review Kara. I have been back and forth on whether to read this or not, but I don’t think it’s good enough to really make the time for. I don’t like sexism either. I get it if it’s in a historical novel or something because that is the way things were, but it seems unnecessary in a book like this. Unless, like you said, it’s a mermaid thing. I totally get what you mean about feeling weird about pining over male characters in YA. It seems so wrong that 16, 17, and 18 year old fictional characters are my ultimate book boyfriends haha!! Maybe that is why I have gotten more into New Adult books. It doesn’t make me feel as dirty if they are in their 20’s.

    • It’s mediocre, Amy. It’s really not that special. The writing is pretty awesome though. I am a fan of great writing, so I will be looking into this author’s other work at another time.

      Just do like Belle and I do. Cast older male actors in the role. Like Ian Somerhalder. Not so creepy now, is it? 😉

  4. Well, I love mermaid mythology. Quite cute and unique. Well, I hate it when I cannot connect with the main character even when she is near my age. It’s either she seems too big or too small for her age. I don’t know why.
    But I like the idea of this novel, and Kara, I think you will LOVE Ciye Cho’s Florence Waverly series. It’s my favorite mermaid related series EVER! I think it looks like you cup of tea
    Your reader,

  5. Oh boo for the sexism! That’s really annoying, I think that would have definitely gotten to me too. And the protagonist sounds terrible! I definitely don’t think that this is one for me. I have a really hard time liking books where I hate the person I am reading about, it’s the worst. Even though sometimes you are supposed to, and it can work. Anyway I’m rambling. Thanks for the honest review!

    • She is terrible. I know what you mean actually. Some protagonists are supposed to be unlikable. But you find that more in literary fiction. And usually there are other redeeming qualities that make it all worthwhile. I’m pretty sure we were supposed to like Lily though. But she was just a dumb-ass. I’m sorry. LOL.

  6. Ugh, I really wasn’t expecting much from this book, but I’m still sad that I’m not at all surprised by this review. I’m tired of all the sexism in paranormal books. So what if they’re *insert supernatural creature*! You are an author creating your OWN WORLD. You can make these creatures do anything you want, so why do they have to be misogynistic? Oh wait, they don’t.

    Grumble grumble.

    • I agree with you. I’m not all that familiar with mermaid mythology, so I don’t know if this is the norm, but why can’t it be changed? Yeah, I suppose it might piss a few mermaid purists off, but overall, I think it’s a better message to be sending.

  7. “Authors can write how they want, but I don’t have to like it.” <– This has me hearkening back to Dracula, or, more aptly, Of Poseidon. Ughhhhh. I get that historical societies did this, but can we please let more women not be forced into marriages?

    In Of Poseidon, this one mermaid has been basically gifted by her father to a mermaid dude. And she’s all “oh hell to the no.” I was like “Yay! She’s fighting back, and she’s the only character I like.” Turns out, though, that she actually WANTED to be married to him. She was just shy, and all of those “No”s really meant yes. FUCK ME.

    Kind of funny that this time it’s the girl who is the ass whole and the guy is nice.

    Sometimes I hate myself for liking things, but you have to be honest, right?

    I will NOT be reading this. It’s easy to say, thanks to the godawful cover.

    • RIGHT? I completely agree with you. I’ve heard horrible things about Of Poseidon so I decided to skip it, and I’m glad I did. It doesn’t sound like the type of book I would enjoy reading. Sounds like I would be really ANGRY over that. I know it pissed Kat off, so yeah. No thanks.

      The cover is pretty bad, isn’t it? The UK cover is better.

  8. I think it is important to remember that the target audience for this book is young teen girls. I am a librarian at a 6th-8th grade middle school, and this series is undeniably popular. Most MS girls who want this book just don’t see or get offended by the sexist stuff. They just want a good story with a swoon-worthy romance. I honestly didn’t notice it until you mentioned it in your review.

    • I do agree with you on that. But I also have to review how I feel. I may not be the target audience, but it’s my opinion and it’s just as valid, and I think it’s something we should be thinking about. Most teen girls might not notice it, but it’s certainly not what I would want my daughter thinking is right. That she has to have a man to be in a position of power.

  9. I wish I had read it with you.

    I am having a similar dilemma with a book I am reading right now. Some things are said that go against my morals, but the story is SO DAMN GOOD and the characters are realistic.

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