Friday, June 24, 2011

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Lost Voices is the 2011 debut from Sarah Porter.  Let's check out the Goodreads blurb, shall we:

Fourteen-year-old Luce has had a tough life, but she reaches the depths of despair when she is assaulted and left on the cliffs outside of a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when she tumbles into the icy waves below, but instead undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: the mermaids feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks. Luce possesses an extraordinary singing talent, which makes her important to the tribe—she may even have a shot at becoming their queen. However her struggle to retain her humanity puts her at odds with her new friends. Will Luce be pressured into committing mass murder?
The first book in a trilogy,Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive.
SARAH PORTER is a writer and artist.Lost Voices is her first novel. Sarah and her husband live in Brooklyn.

Alrighty then.  So, Luce has a traumatic experience involving her uncle after her mother has died and her father has been lost at sea.  The trauma turns her into a mermaid, I'm still a little unclear on the rules of this mermaid-ification but it works for Luce and her merfriends, so I'm just going to go along with it.  Luce joins the local mermaids even though Cat, their leader, is worried about Luce's singing being better than hers.  There is a fair amount of mean girl behavior- which really annoyed me.  I really wanted to slap some nasty mermaids down.  But Luce just kind of rolls with it all even though she both loves and hates sinking the ships and killing the passengers.  Luce inadvertently learns Cat's secret, her reason for choosing the ships that she does, Luce keeps the secret.  She protects Cat from the others even after Cat treats her poorly.  Luce repeatedly proves that she has moral scruples and a heart, something many of the other mermaids are sadly lacking.  This book was definitely not sunshine and rainbows and love stories.  Luce is trying to find her place in a pretty harsh world but she fights hard to gain control of her voice and her behavior.  I think that that example of behavior alone is reason for teens to read this book.  All of the mermaids have these horror stories of bad treatment by adults but Luce and one of the other girls does not let the evil of others completely change who they are.  This display of ethics is wonderful.  This book may not be happy or uplifting - even at the end.  But it DOES make you think.  It makes you question what the mermaids should do.  What is right and wrong?  Is there a defining line?  Lost Voices will leave you pondering many of the great questions of life and I think we can all use that from time to time.  

I would suggest this one for readers 16 and up due to violence, mainly.  Also the great moral dilemmas broached in the story may be a bit much for younger teen readers.  You can find out more about the next books in the Lost Voices Trilogy and about the author on Sarah's website.  Please give this book a chance when it is released July 4th.  The lesson is worth the read.  

Lost Voices earns 3 Fairies for being interesting, sad and creepy all at the same time.

1 comment:

Michele L said...

Thanks for the review!! I haven't read any Mermaid books yet. I need to get on that!!