Paranormal Young Adult
Simon & Schuster
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Simon & Schuster)In the wake of a tragic boating accident that killed her friends, 16-year-old Miranda is consumed by guilt. She has no memory of how she managed to survive the crash, only the murky dreams of a strange boy in the dark water. Her only refuge is in the late-night swims she takes alone— until one night on the beach when she meets Christian, a boy who seems eerily familiar, but keeps many secrets.
The more she fights it the faster love pulls her under. Soon she finds herself in over her head when the dangerous true nature of Christian’s secrets rise to the surface.
Wrecked is a seductive contemporary reimagination of The Little Mermaid, with a paranormal twist, from debut author Anna Davies.
MY THOUGHTSWrecked is a heavier read than initially expected, our preconceived notions thanks to Disney of under-the-sea tales and merfolk creating a false sense of lightness for us before we pick this story up, and thus we are all the more taken aback when tragedy strikes almost immediately and we’re left with the substantial burden of Miranda’s survivor’s guilt. For most of the three hundred pages Miranda is numb, not actively dealing with her loss or trying to get past it (though this is not entirely her own fault), causing that spark of connection we long for when reading to remain elusive, our attempts to penetrate the depth of her pain and find something to relate to ultimately unsuccessful. Wrecked is a bit of a challenging read as a result, our hearts and minds weighed down by the day to day life following a catastrophic event, and while the synopsis promises us a touch of romance to help ease the ache, the rather lackluster relationship between Miranda and Christian detailed between the pages does little lighten our load.
Miranda is a young woman we want desperately to like, the treatment she receives from not only her friends and fellow survivors, but the island community as a whole, enough to make us feel protective of her but not quite enough to send phantom fingers into our reality to grab our hearts in a vise-like grip. She repeats a mantra of “I’m fine” again and again, playing it on a continuous loop inside her head and automatically replying with it when those around her inquire after her well being to the point where our fingers long to wrap around strands of our hair and yank should she say it one more time. She says she’s fine when she’s so very clearly not, and she allows her own guilt over the accident to keep her from fully expressing the extent of her pain to those who have already acted as judge and jury and found her guilty of the deaths of her friends. We can’t help but want for her to just once release the stranglehold she has on her emotions and prove to us and all her naysayers that she’s not as empty as she appears.
Though the premise is certainly a supernatural one, the paranormal element actually plays a very minor role in the overall story. Majority of our time is spent with Miranda as she struggles to cope with the violent turn her life has taken, and when Christian finally does enter the picture, we learn almost nothing about the watery world from which he emerges. We’re given nothing but the very basics about the Down Below and its tentative truce with the Up Above, it's therefore difficult to sympathize with Christian’s plight when we know so little about how his decisions will affect his life overall. The romance doesn’t really begin until about halfway through and then progresses very quickly, leaving us to play catch up as Miranda seems to shift gears from grief and loneliness to magnetic attraction with little hesitation. Those lovers of romance will also likely be disappointed in the conclusion of this story, the traditional happy ending bypassed in favor of something a little different.
Overall, Wrecked is well-written and lacks predictability especially in the closing pages, however, both the character development and world building could have been stronger to help us as readers wade through the torrent of grief by tossing us a life line to latch onto and hold tight.
Want a taste of Wrecked? Check out this extended excerpt!
Thanks to the awesome people at Simon & Schuster, I have a waterproof e-reader cover and a copy of Wrecked to give away on the blog today! To enter, please just leave a comment on this post with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will run through midnight EST on Monday, May 7th after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!