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    Fun read with a strong message of social justice

    “As the daughter of one of the mer-king’s trusted advisors, seventeen-year-old Jade has great responsibilities. When her fiancé murders a naiad, plunging the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar, tensions surge between the mer and the naiads.” The first two sentences of the back-cover synopsis of Breakwater, the first novel in our own Catherine Jones Payne’s “Broken Tides” series pulls the reader into the intriguing story of newly-engaged Jade, a well-to-do (ahem, entitled) young mermaid seeking her place among Thessalonike’s elite. The murder mentioned above is personal to Jade--she knows the victim’s sister--and she feels obligated to reach out in the wake of the tragedy. This action opens Jade’s eyes to the injustice and oppression dealt to her city’s naiad population, and she is determined to do something about it. The city is soon divided by hatred, fear, and ignorance, and Jade must ultimately make a decision that could put her own life in danger. As an avid reader of both young adult and children’s literature, I thoroughly enjoyed Breakwater. Yes, it’s a mermaid book. Yes, it’s about an angsty teenaged girl. Don’t let these facts deter you from reading this timely coming of age novel: Jade finds her purpose while serving others--seeking justice for a population who are simultaneously feared and oppressed by the ruling class--and it is this plotline that kept me reading. The story is compelling, but moves at a relatively moderate pace (it is the first book of a series, after all!) It delivers both intrigue and political scandal, and what YA novel would be complete without a little (very little) romance? I’m looking forward to discussing this book with my girls (I think my 12 year old is old enough to read it, but my 9 year old will have to wait a years) and am anticipating the release of the second installment of Jade’s story.
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    Great Storyline and Gripping Choices!!

    This book is a great young adult novel! So much more than a traditional Mermaid tale: duty, politics, and deals with social construct issues in an incredible way. Not hard to get hooked and so easy to fall in love with the characters--especially the two strong female leads! I couldn't ask more of a novel, except that book 2 comes out as soon as possible!

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