Book review: Merrow, by Ananda Braxton-Smith

Braxton-Smith, Ananda. Merrow. Candlewick Press, 2016. ISBN 9780763679248. $16.99. 233 pages. Grades 8+. P7 Q9

Merrow isn’t really about mermaids. It’s about Kraken, web-fingered creatures with the tails of fishes, ancient children who left their marks on cave walls, small town gossip, and a world-wise twelve-year-old girl named Neen Marrey. Ananda Braxton-Smith writes with the voice and tragedy of the hardened Irish island folk of whom she writes. To those on the Island, and Need in particular, the sea is a family member. One who is often responsible for life-giving fruits and equally devastating heartbreak. Merrow is not an easy read. It is character driven and there is plenty of quirky Irish and Nordic vocabulary—which only adds to its authenticity. Readers who enjoy Irish writing and folklore with adore this story.

Verdict: This book is highly recommended. The language is often figurative, rife with imagery and cultural references. It belongs in school and public libraries.

September 2017 review by Lillian Curanzy.

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