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Merrow

Review

Merrow

MERROW follows the story of a young girl named Neen as she tries to uncover the details of her mothers strange disappearance. Taking place on the coast of a mysterious faraway island, most of the story unfolds in hidden coves and Neens family farm giving the story a very fairytale like feeling. 
 
Going into this book I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. I wasn't thrilled with the premise of the story, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it took a very different course. MERROW actually reminded me quite a bit of the 1960’s book ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS. To be fair I haven't read that book for years, but it had a very similar feel and the main character, Neen, reminded me very much of the main character from that book. 
 
I really enjoyed the setting of this book and the way the scenery was described. The author used language that gave the reader very clear imagery, and every chapter had a new, beautiful setting that I could picture perfectly in my mind. As Neen goes adventuring to find clues of the fabled merrows, of which she's positive her mother is, the reader gets to experience the caves and oceans she visits along with her and in vivid detail. 
 
"For about half the book I thought I knew where the story was going, but by the end I was happy that it was a surprise I was not  expecting."
 
For about half the book I thought I knew where the story was going, but by the end I was happy that it was a surprise I was not  expecting. For most of the book, Neen is convinced that merrows, and other mystical creatures, exist in her family’s cove. Merrows are mermaid like creatures with abnormally long ears and long dark hair like seaweed. She also believes other things like the Kraken and Selkies, live in the water around her home. 
 
We get introduced to many other characters through out the story, the most memorable for me was Neen’s Auntie Ushag, with who we see a huge amount of character development as the story progresses. In the beginning she is portrayed as hard and fierce, even a little brutish. But by the end, while the underlying basics of her personality are the same, her over all demeanor is vastly changed, I also enjoyed Ma’s character, even though it took me am embarrassingly long time to figure out who she was when they referred to her as Ma. 
 
The only characters I didn't like were Scully and Ulf, and only because I didn't really understand their purpose. I enjoyed Scully’s backstory with the “Others” but I didn't really like his personality and I didn't understand his blindness or how it effected the story. Ulf also confused me, because we don't get to figure out his backstory and overall he didn't add much to the plot.
 
A recurring theme all the way through MERROW was story telling. Every character seemed to always have a new elaborate story to tell and while that part could become tedious at times, I thought it over all it improved the book. Sometimes the stories seemed to mislead the reader so we think something that is eventually proven untrue, which seemed to happen a lot. 
 
I would definitely recommend this book to people who want a short, book filled with mystery and great imagery. Over all I really enjoyed this book, even though it took me a while to get through it.
 

Reviewed by Alanna B., Teen Board Member on November 15, 2016

Merrow
by Ananda Braxton-Smith