Between The Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore. So, full disclosure: I watched The Little Mermaid every single day after school for a YEAR in 2nd grade. I have a special warm place in my heart for mermaid stories :D And Jaclyn Dolamore more than fulfills all those old-world mermaid fantasies and introduces a new generation to the romantic mermaid fairytale in this book!
My first impression of this book was that it reminded me of Robin McKinley's books back in the day, like Beauty and Rose Daughter and The Hero and the Crown, those epic fantasy/fairytales that completely sweep you up. The suspension of disbelief is instant--this is a novel not aiming for realism--we don't get a modern day exploration of the logistical ins and outs of being a mermaid. Instead we are presented with the fantasy world, and it is so instantly compelling you allow yourself readily to be taken to the story-realm.
Here's the Goodreads description, that summarizes better I can:
For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.
I liked the build as Esmerine travels into unknown lands (the surface) without knowing what's coming next. Her relationship with Alandare is pitch perfect. A girl of the sea and a boy of the sky: could there be a more star-crossed pairing? At the beginning there's that awesomely awkward stage of getting to know a childhood friend as an adult, on adult terms. And Alandare is so delightfully flawed, bookish and slightly socially awkward, but still charming. . The build of romantic tension and then the climax of the book, so powerful and so emotional and sigh! I loved it. Five stars.
Between the Sea and Sky hit shelves this week! Go grab a copy!!
*My thanks to NetGalley for providing a review ARC of this book.