Surfacing (Swans Landing #1) by Shana Norris

Sixteen-year-old Mara Westray has just lost her mother, and now, being shipped off to live with the father she doesn’t know is not how she imagined grieving. She’s already counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can leave the tiny island of Swans Landing.

But from the moment she steps off the ferry, nothing is as ordinary as it looks. Whispers of a haunting song on the wind make her see impossible things, and she isn’t sure she can trust her judgment about what is real and what isn’t anymore. Maybe she can’t even trust her judgment about quiet Josh Canavan, whose way of speaking in riddles and half-truths only confuses her more, luring her deeper into the secrets hidden beneath the ocean’s surface.

As she tries to unravel the events that led to her mom fleeing the island sixteen years ago, Mara finds that the biggest secret of all is only the beginning.


Throughout the story secrets have been kept from Mara. Beginning with her mother, than father and even to the residents of the island. She is left completely in the dark about why she has found such enemies on the island when she herself has just moved there. The kids at school despise her and even call her names. None of which she has any idea of what they are referring to. And to top it all off, her father is of no help. He will not tell, nor will any of the few friends that she is able to make. 

I did find that the extent of the secrets and how long it is kept from the reader/main character was a little unnecessary. And at times I did find it frustrating in scenes that just ended with no new information given to us about what was happening. I never have been a big fan of a lot of drama in books. This book does have drama, but I actually found myself wanting a bit more of a roller coaster feel to the emotions I was feeling.

What I did like about the story is that it does have a different twist to it than most of the mermaid books I have read in young adult books recently. I cannot say that I was completely shocked by the secrets that were finally revealed, but this connection that they had to both land and water was equally drawing to their desires which leaves them in this limbo of a life. 

Although my thoughts about the book come of rather strongly on the negative side.  I feel that this book was a good read. I did enjoy it and feel that I really did get invested into the characters stories. Which is why my observations have come off so strongly. 

 I would recommend this book to teen readers that enjoy mermaid stories.


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