Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
Release Date:  July 4, 2011
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

What happens to the girls nobody sees—the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help? Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is stuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks.

It was the gorgeous cover that first drew me to this book, as well as the premise of girls turning into mermaids, but be warned.  These are not your Disney mermaids.  This book was raw, emotional, disturbing, and sad.  It was also lovely.

I've always been intrigued by mermaids.  Not the cutesy Little Mermaid variety, but the old myths about beautiful sea creatures who gorgeous siren songs lured fisherman and other men to their deaths.  I always wondered why a creature's purpose would be just to lure people into drowning or hurling themselves from their boats, and Sarah Porter explains it well.  The idea that these once girls now mermaids sing their song because it gives them immensely beautiful feelings, and that they've been so abused by humans that they want to destroy them for their actions is both sad and disturbing.

Luce is the sole exception, as she still remembers people that she loved.  Her new persona doesn't quite take hold completely, which allows her to maintain some of her humanity that the others have completely lost.  I found myself completely overcome when I read about the larvae, or small baby mermaids.  The idea that babies could have been so abused by humans that this would happen to them too made my heart hurt.

With the way the story ended, I would like to say there is going to be a sequel, especially since this book didn't really have a concrete ending like what I would expect.  It seemed to just end.  Bottom line, this book was excellent but disturbing.  I'm glad that I read it, and definitely think we have an author here with some amazing talent that I can't wait to see more of. 

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