Review: Water So Deep by Nicole Giles

water so deep cover


Water So Deep is the first installment in a mermaid series by Nicole Giles. Thanks to Kathy from the I am a Reader blog for the ARC.

From the blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Emma Harris is drowning on dry land.

No one knows what’s happening to her, and she’d like to keep her evolution from human to mermaid a secret, but the truth is getting harder and harder to hide. From her adoptive family, from her friends, and especially from the irresistible James Phelps.

Her time in the ocean is spent dodging a possessive merman, while her time on land is split between caring for her special-needs brother and squeezing in every last possible moment of human life. She soon realizes falling for James is unavoidable when he constantly comes to Emma’s rescue and somehow manages to see through her carefully constructed icy facade to the vulnerability she lives with every day. Everything about James makes Emma yearn for a life on land she just can’t have.

When Emma’s brother disappears on her watch, James is the only person she trusts to help her save him. But even if they can save her brother, nothing can prevent her return to the sea. Whether she likes it or not, Emma is changing—unable to breathe without yielding to the tide—and it’s only a matter of time before she’s forced to surrender forever.

When I was given the opportunity to read this YA mermaid tale, I jumped at the chance. The premise intrigued me.

The story started out okay, but soon devolved into a lot of push and pull between Emma and her human crush, James. There wasn’t much emphasis on the mermaid portion of the story, other than Emma’s increasing need to be in the water and a few run-ins with the mysterious (and annoying) merman, Merrick, who claimed to be her future “mate.” I’m all for being strung along with mystery as long as a satisfactory answer comes eventually, but that didn’t happen. I’m still confused about the origins of Emma and why her “grandmother” knew the truth but her adoptive parents couldn’t.

Water So Deep has some intriguing side stories (Emma’s sexual assault by her ex, the way she’s treated by her peers after the attack, her special-needs brother befriending a mysterious older guy Emma has never met), and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. The story as a whole never quite came together for me. There was a lot of imagination and potential between the pages, but the glaring absence of Emma’s mermaid etiology and the cliff-hanger ending left me unmotivated to read book two.

3.25 stars

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