Book Review: Fish Girl

Fish Girl
By David Wiesner & Donna Jo Napoli

My Edition:
Paperback, 192 pages
2017, Clarion
ISBN: 9780547483931
Expected Publication Date: March 2017

A young mermaid lives in an aquarium with who she believes to be Neptune, enticing visitors with mere glimpses of her tail in order to keep the place in business. One day a girl, Livia, explores a little more than she should and discovers the mermaid. Despite their differences in lifestyles, the girls become friends and Livia dubs the mermaid Mira. Mira soon learns there is more to life outside the aquarium than she thought and is desperate to explore the world. She begins her steps to independence, literally, when she discovers her fins become legs when she leaves the water.

This is a light, middle-grade graphic novel focusing on Mira’s journey for the truth and independence. I love Donna Jo Napoli’s work (Zel anyone!? That’s one of my favorite middle-grade novels) and mermaids, so I was excited to receive a copy of Fish Girl.

Art style is a big factor for me when it comes to graphic novels (part of the reason why I don’t purchase too many of them) and unfortunately, Wiesner’s style wasn’t for me (in Fish Girl anyway. I loved Art & Max). However, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story; it just didn’t add to it either.

Mira’s narrative in regards to her life inside the aquarium and her experiences is a bit obvious because, due to the nature of the graphic novel, it’s easy to see what she’s doing and her recap of events wasn’t always necessary. The book is aimed at younger readers though so extra narration might be useful in some cases.

Mira and Livia were likable enough and I found myself liking the octopus despite being seriously creeped out by them in real life. The concept that Mira’s fins transform into legs when outside the water was an interesting one, though I would have liked to know more about why that happens. I was left with many questions at the end, which I won’t raise here because I suppose they’d spoil the story. I’d really love to see this in novel format because I think it would give the characters and the plot more depth.

This is a fun book for mermaid lovers and would make a good tale for younger readers to try out on their own because the dialogue is fairly simple and using sparingly.

I received this book for free from HMH books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.
You can visit David’s website here and Donna’s here.

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