Review: A Thousand Salt Kisses by Josie Demuth

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June 17, 2016 by Zoë

Crystal has moved to the tiny island of Starfish along with her activist father, who is trying to stop a nearby power company from devastating the local seas. Although adjusting to small-town life was hard at first, Crystal finds that there is more to Starfish than first meets the eye, mainly having to do with Llyr, a mysterious young man.

As it turns out, Llyr is not a selkie like I first suspected, but a merman. That’s cool; mermaids were my first love, even before selkies. Unfortunately, that’s about all this book has going for it. I really didn’t enjoy it. First of all, Crystal is a somewhat annoying, very young-sounding narrator. She’s supposed to be seventeen, which initially excited me, but seemed mainly to be an excuse for her to lose her virginity without the reader raising his/her eyebrows. She did not act particularly mature or self-aware.

The characters also had the annoying tendency to drop very “trendy” phrases. Perhaps references to twerking appeal to the teen readers of today, or maybe that’s what teens actually talk about with each other. I’m outside of the target age group, so I’m willing to give the book some leeway. It seemed unnatural, though.

As for the mermaids, they were interesting. The book does touch upon the issues of humans and mermaids being involved, which was good. The author also put some effort into making up some backstory and creating a world for the mermaids, which was also interesting, if a bit cliché at times. The mermaids were pretty much perfect humans with better eyesight and more strength than humans, who can also breath underwater and are stunningly beautiful. I thought something pertaining to the deal they made to get those special powers would turn up as part of the plot, but it never did.

Finally, the romance. Instalove? Oh yes. Even worse, this was instalove between a seventeen-year-old girl and a three-hundred-year old man. Nothing was really done to approach this issue and Llyr acted like he was of the same level of emotional intelligence as Crystal. Which I guess means that they were perfect for each other, but actually made the whole thing a bit hard to read. I plowed through all the romance bits waiting to see if anything happened with the plot.

And things did happen with the plot. Unfortunately, it was all pretty contrived. Parental drama for secret reasons! Eeeevil owners of power companies so it’s okay if they die. Mermaids saving the day. Etc.

This might be a quick, fun read for a teenager, but I didn’t enjoy it and was looking for something more.

“’Where are you from?’ I asked.

He looked out to sea, as though that was an answer.”

I received an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley.

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