Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Aster a strange thing happened.
They say the prince married a girl who was not what she appeared and that another girl who saved the kingdom vanished without a trace. Some said it was witchcraft. Some said it was only a legend. For those who knew the truth, it was magic....
Rescued from the sea at an early age, Pearl grew up within sight of the water...and the castle. With her pale skin and silvery hair, she was an outcast in the village. Her only friend was a boy she met on the beach -- a young prince named James, who understood Pearl's desire just to be like everyone else.
Their friendship is viewed from afar by many: a disdainful king, Pearl's worried foster parents, a jealous young mermaid, a lovestruck merman, and the powerful sea witch. Now a storm brews in the kingdom, with a tidal force that could keep Pearl and James apart.
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Debbie Viguié’s Simon Pulse books include the New York Times bestselling Wicked series and the Once upon a Time novels Violet Eyes, Scarlet Moon, and Midnight Pearls. She lives in Florida with her husband, Scott. Visit her at DebbieViguie.com.From School Library Journal:
Grade 6 Up-Pearl is rescued from the sea during a storm by a fisherman; he and his barren wife take the child in, lovingly raising her despite her silvery hair, translucent skin, and too-long legs. Pearl lives a lonely life with only a young prince, James, for a friend. Years later, when she is 17, her true identity is revealed. When their boat capsizes, Pearl makes her way to shore, but James must be saved by Faye, a mermaid who instantly falls in love with him. Looking on from the waves is Kale, Faye's merman brother, who realizes that Pearl is actually Adriana, his betrothed who was kidnapped years before. After the Sea Witch becomes involved, Faye becomes a mute human charged to get a marriage proposal from James or die, and Kale becomes a blind human charged to attain the love of his beloved or meet the same fate. Too much of this story is borrowed from other mermaid tales and lends to the predictable nature of Pearl's tale. The language is stilted and there are far too many instances of chills going up or down the spine of one character or another. For a mermaid story that is far better written, recommend Donna Jo Napoli's Sirena (Scholastic, 1998).
Kimberly L. Paone, Elizabeth Public Library, NJ
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