MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books, now with a re-vamped banner!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Alex Cotter
Cover Illustration by Kathrin Honesta
Published by Nosy Crow

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

Not one of them was a Curly.

This book in three words:


The Mermaid Call is a brilliantly engrossing mystery that kept me completely captivated throughout:  a story of transformation, activism and belonging entwined with a dark tale of a legendary mermaid.

Vivien lives with her grandmother, Mimi, in Lake Splendour, famous for sightings of a local legend:  the Lake Mermaid.  Many of the locals rely on this business to boost tourism, including Vivien’s grandmother, who runs Enchanted Tails.  However, there is stirring unrest about the upcoming Mermaid Festival and, in particular, the Mermaid Crown pageant which a group of students is determined to have banned.  This causes friction between Vivien and her best friend Eleni as she gravitates towards a group of activist students who are anti-mermaid, leaving Vivien feeling like an outsider.

After the disappointment of discovering that her mother, who she has not seen for three years, is no longer coming for a promised visit, Vivien finds herself looking after the shop when she meets the enigmatic, determined Alice DeLacey who reveals that she is convinced there is a dark mystery surrounding her family.  When Alice begs Vivien to help her solve the mystery, she is unable to resist the opportunity to form a new friendship and to seek the truth behind the mermaid legend, but has she dived into a whirlpool of trouble?

So begins an utterly gripping mystery which swirls and eddies with darkness, tension and danger as Vivien finds herself swept into Alice’s determined quest to unmask dark, family secrets hidden within a diary, but at what cost to their fledgling friendship?  How far will someone go to unearth the truth?  I was absolutely spellbound as I followed the unexpected twists and turns of this intriguing mystery which took me on a different journey to what I had expected, and it is all the richer for that.  I loved the interwoven strands of past and present within the story including those of activism and the suffragette movement, disappearances, family relationships, stereotypes and change.

Vivien is an incredibly sympathetic young girl who is on a journey towards finding herself as she deals with changes in friendships, low self-esteem linked to her relationship with her mother and feelings of awkwardness.  She shows great inner strength and courage in finding her voice, standing up for herself and others, and in challenging stereotypes.  The friendships, whether toxic, fractured or close, all felt really authentic and will shine a mirror on real-life friendship issues which many children may experience as they navigate the deep, sometimes turbulent, waters of changing relationships and being true to yourself.  I also really liked Erik who finds the courage to be true to himself in the most fantastic way!

The Mermaid Call is a powerful, gripping story of empowerment, transformation and revelation with deliciously unexpected twists that is sure to completely capture readers of 9+, not only with the intriguing mystery but also the empowering messages.

Thank you to Sian at Nosy Crow for sending me a proof in exchange for my honest opinion.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

2 thoughts on “MG Takes on Thursday

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.