4 out of 4 stars
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“Many of life’s rich gifts come unbidden. All I had to do to receive these gifts was say yes; yes to a swim in the water, yes to the unsupported idea that there was something better out there, happiness to be had I couldn’t see.”
Updrift by Errin Stevens is the first book in The Mer Chronicles Series. Inspired by The Little Mermaid, this coming-of-age novel tells the love story of Kate and Gabe. The book has three parts. The first section details Kate’s life as an adolescent and begins with her first introduction to Gabe. The second section focuses on Kate’s teen years and her growth into a young woman. During this section, Kate's relationship with Gabe changes. As Kate and Gabe mature, they realize that their friendship has grown from something platonic into something romantic. The third section concentrates on Kate’s early twenties, her bond with Gabe, and the person who threatens to break them apart. Kate and Gabe know that they are destined to be together, but can they overcome the obstacles in their way? Will Kate accept Gabe for who he really is? Can Gabe successfully integrate Kate into his unusual world, especially when outside forces threaten them both?
In books of this genre, the story usually begins when the protagonist is a young adult. However, the first part of Updrift begins when Kate is a young girl. Doing this provided excellent background information and ample character development. It brings about a sense of attachment to the characters and makes the reader feel more invested in the life events that unfold. Furthermore, the first part is significant because this is a coming-of-age novel. By starting the story when Kate and Gabe are young, the reader witnesses their growth and maturation. Kate and Gabe continually demonstrate the lengths they are willing to go to in order to be together. As their friendship grows into the hopeful promise of first love, you find yourself rooting for them. When their love grows deeper, and they are in danger of losing each other, you mourn for them. I love that the story evokes a plethora of strong emotions.
In the second and third parts, the magical underwater world that the author creates adds another dimension to the story. It is written so vividly that I easily immersed myself into the beauty of the mermaid realm. The author’s style, imagery, and impeccable sensory language create a vibrant setting and colorful characters.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is a sweet and original love story that is carefully constructed and well-executed. Furthermore, it is professionally edited, and I only noticed one error. Fans of mermaid romance stories will appreciate this modern take on a classic tale. There is no violence, graphic language or overt sexuality, so the story is appropriate for teens and adults. This is a good book for readers who like a character-driven novel with a slow-burning love story. However, if you are looking for a graphic or action-packed romance, this is not the book for you.
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